Women’s rights in China organizes activity to support Liu Xia
Feminism without borders: Women’s Rights in China, Liu Xia, Zhang Jing
All photos taken by WRIC
For this year’s Women’s History Month, Women’s Rights in China (WRIC), Committee for U.S. International Broadcasting (CUSIB) and Visual Arts Guild’s New York Chapter co-organized an activity at Museum of Tolerance New York City to support Liu Xia. They hope to raise international attention and gain public support for Liu Xia through this open and free discussion, so Liu Xia can break free from China's brutal regime and live with dignity and basic human rights.
The activity started with MC Rose Tang’s introduction of WRIC founder Zhang Jing. Zhang then explained that these three years, Liu Xia has been prohibited to see friends and visitors, use the internet or phone, and send or receive messages and has been under long-term, inhumane house arrest, seriously affecting her mental and physical health. To Liu, ‘the future is a closed window, within there is never-ending darkness and nightmares’.
Zhang also talked about the mysterious death of human rights defender Cao Shunli. ‘Under oppression from an authoritarian government, we have lost one more brave sister. Miss Cao used her life and blood to compose a sad and tragic song about human rights in China. We will never forget the huge cost in fighting for freedom and individual rights, and our sisters who sacrificed their lives for it.’
Afterwards, the audience stood up for a moment of silence for Cao. Musician Daniel Carter, who has multiple talents and plays for many bands, conveyed his deep feelings with a tune on his saxophone, paying tribute to Liu Xia and mourning for Cao.
The audience stand up for a moment of silence
WRIC volunteer Carla (above) and Rose Tang recite three poems by Liu Xia.
Libby Liu, President of Radio Free Asia gave a speech. ‘I am deeply honored to be here to pay tribute to Liu Xia, a brave women. Liu has become a symbol for quiet resistance towards authority. We recite her poems to show that she is not alone, that the world has not forgotten her, that we stand with her.’ Libby announced that Radio Free Asia will host a new weekly Mandarin program ‘Letters from prison’ starting from April. The host will be reciting Liu’s poems in the first episode.
Ann Noonan, Executive Director of Committee for U.S. International Broadcasting, read out a letter of appeal to First Lady Michelle Obama, urging her to mention the stories of two ordinary Chinese women to the PRC government and First lady Peng Liyuan during her visit to China on the 19th: Cao Shunli was detained at the Beijing airport in September 2013 when attempting to board a plan to Geneva for a UN human rights training workshop, and was taken to the hospital a few months later. She was declared dead on 14 March, 2014. Li Shulian filed a petition to the state to fight for her rights for many years, but received no results. She died in the Longkou City Petitions Office in Shandong with wounds all over her body. Relatives suspect that she was beaten to death. They demanded an investigation, but have not succeeded. Li’s daughter has also been detained many times when filing a petition.
Peggy Chane, President of Visual Arts Guild New York Chapter, condemned the Chinese government for ‘murdering’ Liu Xia: ‘Ironically, China, which is one of the worst human rights violator, is a member of the UN Human Rights Council.’ Visual Arts Guild called on US Representative to the UN, Susan Rice, to take action and demand that China hand in a comprehensive investigation report on the death of Miss Cao, and arrest those who are responsible.
Emchi Kalsang Dolma, President of Regional Tibetan Women’s Association NY & NJ, was also invited to give a speech. She expressed her care and concern towards Liu Xia, and called on the public to support Tibetans who are also oppressed by the PRC government and are resisting by self-immolation. A Tibetan monk was invited on stage to say a prayer to comfort the souls of all Han and Tibetans who have sacrificed their lives to fight against authority. He offered his blessings to the Chinese people.
Emchi Kalsang Dolma
Devoted Christian Karin M. Burke has participated in many events for charity, including assistance to Chinese people in exile. Worried about the human rights situation in China, she said, ‘The suffering of Liu Xia is our suffering as well. I am very honored today to stand here with everyone and support her.’
Even Reggie Littlejohn, Founder of Women's Rights Without Frontiers, who is in California at the moment, sent her speech. The MC read it out on her behalf. Reggie expressed her strong support towards Liu Xia and demanded the PRC government to release Liu from inhumane house arrest, and give her back her freedom.
A video clip of Liu Xia prepared by WRIC was shown. 40 masterpieces from Liu’s photos exhibition, provided by Guy Surmon, was also presented on the screen. These photos are full of emotions, expressing the torment and struggle of Liu under long-term imprisonment, and are a form of quiet resistance towards autocratic power.
Volunteers of WRIC