His Excellency Hu Jintao
President of the People's Republic of China
Beijing, People's Republic of China
writing on the occasion of World Press Freedom Day to express serious
concern at the continued jailing of journalist Shi Tao, winner of the
2007 WAN Golden Pen of Freedom.
to reports, Mr Shi is serving a 10-year sentence on charges of "leaking
state secrets" for writing an e-mail about state-imposed
media restrictions in the run-up to the 15th anniversary of the
Tiananmen Square events. The e-mail was picked up by several overseas
internet portals and by Chinese authorities after the American search
engine company Yahoo! provided information that allowed the message to
be traced to Mr Shi'scomputer.
email included information that had been sent to his newspaper by state
authorities, warning journalists of the dangers of
"social destabilisation" and risks linked to the return of dissidents
to China for the commemoration of the events.
Golden Pen award, presented to Mr Shi's mother in his absence on 4 June
2007 at the World Newspaper Congress and World Editors Forum in
Cape Town, South Africa, recognises Mr Shi's outstanding defence and
promotion of press freedom.
respectfully call on you to accede to calls by the
international community to release Mr Shi, including one made by US
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice during her recent visit to China.
Mr Shi would signal that China is taking steps to uphold the reforms it
promised in its successful bid to host the Olympic Games this summer.
The Organising Committee for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games issued the
"Beijing Olympic Action Plan" in 2002, which promised: "In
the preparation for the Games, we will be open in every aspect to the
rest of the country and the whole world. We will draw on the
successful experience of others and follow the international standards
respectfully call on you to do everything possible to ensure that
Mr Shi is immediately released from prison and that all charges against
him are dropped. I urge you to take all necessary steps to ensure that
in future your country fully respects international standards of
freedom of expression.
I look forward to hearing from you at your earliest convenience.