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Students Unite To Defend Human Rights In China

Students Unite To Defend Human Rights In China

Student activists nationwide are unifying to defend human rights in China as part of Amnesty International Aotearoa New Zealand's annual Freedom Challenge.
Freedom Challenge allows students from Invercargill to Whangarei to take action on the burning human rights issues of the day, as part of the human rights organisation's public action Freedom Week (July 28-August 3)," says its spokesperson Margaret Taylor.

"The Olympics and China's non-delivery on its human rights promises around that event is this year's Freedom Challenge theme. In particular our students are campaigning on behalf of two Chinese human rights defenders - Huang Jinqiu and Ye Guozhu," says Taylor.

"These men did nothing more than peacefully protest and work for democracy but both have been unfairly detained and tortured. It's those kinds of stories that make our student members deadly serious in their campaigning and incredibly creative in raising awareness to encourage their peers to take action", she adds.

Under the slogan Don't Play Games with Human Rights, students are doing everything from holding Mini-Olympics' games such as chopstick races and hurdling human rights, to organising art exhibitions, teacher-cagings, silence- and blind-athons, and baking fortune cookies with human rights messages.

"It's great to see so many students willing to take action to ensure that people living in China can enjoy the same rights as we have here in New Zealand," says Freedom Challenge co-ordinator Jay Crangle.

Freedom Challenge human rights defenders

Ye Guozhu applied to Beijing police in 2004 for permission to hold a peaceful protest when his house was bulldozed to make way for an Olympic stadium. He was immediately arrested, charged to four years in prison where he has repeatedly been subject to torture.

Journalist Huang Jinqiu announced in 2003 his plans to found a China Patriotic Democracy Party via his online blog. Following his return home from overseas studies he was detained for this act and received a 12-year prison sentence. He is not due for release until 2013.

Visit www.bebo.com/FreedomC10 for more details.

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