Thursday, March 6, 2008

Exiled Tiananmen Leaders Appeal for Rights to Citizenship

Nineteen years after the Tiananmen Massacre, most of the then student leaders and intellectuals have come abroad. Some of them had escaped China clandestinely. But most left China legally, either as private visitors after having served their sentences in China or were "sent out" by the Chinese government in one of her "humanitarian" gestures to the world.

But no matter how they got here, they all share the same fate: their citizenships are forever in a limbo state. Even if they came with valid Chinese passports, the Chinese embassies and consulates here refused to renew them. So their passports had expired years ago. They could still travel as UN refugees, but they are, quite literally, people without a country.

Today, some of these leaders, including Wang Dan, Hu Ping, Chen Yizi, Wuer Kaixi, Liu Gang, Chen Xiaoping, Wu Renhua, and Wang Juntao, published an open letter to the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs to demand their rights of citizenship. They also appeal to UN and the International Olympic Committee to help.

The letter also indicated that these leaders are ready to try various legal actions against the Chinese government if their demands are not answered within a month. It also hinted that they might try their own ways to return to China.

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