An alliance of Taiwanese civic groups yesterday launched a global petition campaign to support the “new civic movement” in China and dissidents detained over their involvement in the movement.
“We are saddened and disappointed at the Chinese government’s persecution of those involved in the movement — a movement that represents a maturing of civic awareness and political participation in China, and the healthy development of Chinese civil society,” the alliance said in a press release.
The alliance includes seven civic groups, among them the New School for Democracy, the Taiwan Association for Human Rights, Taiwan Democracy Watch and the Taiwan Association for China Human Rights.
The alliance called for Beijing to release more than 20 members of the movement who have been detained since March, including its leader Xu Zhiyong (許志永), or at least offer them a fair and open trial.
Several other detained dissidents, including Liu Xia (劉霞), wife of Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo (劉曉波) and rights activist Hu Jia (胡佳) should also be released, the alliance demanded.
The alliance said representatives would visit Mainland Affairs Council Minister Wang Yu-chi (王郁琦) and demand that President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) publicly express concerns over Beijing’s oppression of human rights activists in China.
“We also call for the Taiwanese government to improve the treatment of those Chinese dissidents who seek political asylum in Taiwan, which would promote the development of civil society across the Taiwan Strait,” the alliance said.