Statement on the Conditional Release of Chinese Women’s Rights Activists

Samantha Power
U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations
New York, NY

The United States notes China’s decision to conditionally release Wu Rongrong, Wei Tingting, Wang Man, Zheng Churan and Li Tingting, also known as the “Beijing+20 Five.” We remain concerned that the women are still being considered criminal suspects, and may be subjected to further detention, restrictions, and interrogation.

We continue to call on the Chinese government to abide by its international human rights commitments, including respect for the fundamental freedoms of expression and peaceful assembly. Citizens and organizations of any country who work peacefully to advance the cause of women and the sick and disabled should be honored for their service to their nation, not threatened with spurious charges.

Last weekend, President Obama noted that when the United States supports human rights, “It is not because we think we are perfect, but it is because we think the ideal of not jailing people if they disagree with you is the right ideal. We know from our own history. It’s precisely because we’re imperfect that we believe it’s appropriate for us to stand up. When Dr. [Martin Luther] King was in jail, people outside the United States spoke up on his behalf. And I would be betraying our history if I did not do the same.”

It is in this light that the United States applauds the spirit of the Beijing+20 Five as brave citizens committed to advancing the rights of women and the disadvantaged, and urges all countries to embrace those who work peacefully towards these ideals, not to imprison them or threaten them with criminal charges.