final appeal for open letter signatures

From webmaster <>
Date Fri, 04 Feb 2005 14:48:01 -0500
User-agent Mozilla Thunderbird 1.0 (Windows/20041206)


We've gotten quite a number of signatures to the open letter calling for 
the release of Zhang Zhengyao and Zhang Ruquan (attached with this 
email), but a few more would be extremely helpful. The letter will go 
out soon, so if you'd like to add your name, please send an email to, including any institutional affiliation 
you'd like to add.

There's also more news about the case, including a translation of the 
court ruling, news about a resolution by the Monterey Bay (California) 
Central Labor Council calling for the release of Zhang and Zhang, and a 
link to an interview with Robert Weil on KPFA's Against the Grain that 
touches on the case. Can be found on the front page of


An Open Letter To:

President Hu Jintao
Premier Wen Jiabao
Zhongnanhai, Beijing
People's Republic of China

President Hu and Premier Wen:

We are writing to protest the wrongful arrest, trial and sentencing to
three years in prison each of Mr. Zhang Zhengyao and Mr. Zhang Ruquan,
which took place in the city of Zhengzhou in Henan Province in
December, 2004.  These two members of the working class were tried for
their involvement in passing out a leaflet on the 28th anniversary of
the death of Chairman Mao Zedong, and found guilty of the crime of
libel in a closed court proceeding.  We hereby call for your personal
attention to this matter, and urge decisive action to be taken that
would lead effectively to their release without delay, and an end to
any legal or other forms of harassment against their two associates,
Ms. Ge Liying and Mr. Wang Zhanqing.

We, the undersigned, are socialists and progressives, activists and
intellectuals, members of the working classes and academics, from
China, the United States and other countries.  Despite our different
backgrounds, we are united by our strong feelings of solidarity with
Zhang Zhengyao and Zhang Ruquan.  It is for taking a public stand in
defense of the working classes and of socialism that they were
arrested and sentenced to three years in prison.  We are deeply
disturbed that the Zhengzhou authorities have meted out such a harsh
punishment to one worker who is retired and another who is unemployed,
for voicing the sentiments widely felt among Chinese workers and
peasants and expressing concerns shared by socialists and progressive
people everywhere over the widening gap between  the rich and the poor
in China, deepening capitalistic exploitation of its working people,
loss of health care, education and pensions, widespread official
corruption, and deviation from any reasonable conception of socialism.

President Hu and Premier Wen, immediately upon assumption of your
respective offices, you both displayed a refreshing understanding of
the plight of the Chinese working class, and of their pain and anger,
as reflected in the leaflet that has been found libelous by the
Zhengzhou authorities.  Both of you called for greater respect for
democratic rights and sensitivity to dissenting viewpoints aired on
the internet, many of which were expressed in even more strident terms
than what is found in the leaflet passed out in Zhengzhou. President
Hu, you especially have in no ambiguous terms deplored the loss of
faith by many people in leadership positions in the cause of
socialism, and called for a renewed commitment to the vision and
values that, led by Chairman Mao, successfully guided the great
Chinese revolution. In particular, you called on those in leading
positions within the government and party to follow his call to "Serve
the People," and to live simply and free from corruption.  This has
been widely welcome in China and elsewhere.

Many have remained hopeful that you would mount a determined campaign
to address effectively the worst abuses of capitalist exploitation and
official corruption, to foster greater respect for political and civil
rights of the Chinese people, and to resume the fight for socialism.
This is precisely what is called for by the leaflet that was passed
out on September 9 in Zhengzhou by Zhang Zhengyao and Zhang Ruquan.
Far from being treated as criminal, their action should be supported
and welcomed for its forthright statement of the needs and hopes of
workers and peasants throughout China.

It is in this light, in addition to sharing our sense of outrage, that
we are respectfully calling for your intervention so as to bring a
just resolution to this travesty.


Joel Andreas, Johns Hopkins University
Nirmal K. Chandra, Professor, Indian Institute of Management
Bernard D'Mello, Senior Consultant, Planning Commission of India
Arif Dirlik, Professor, University of Oregon
Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, Professor,California State University, East Bay
Michael Eisenscher, Coordinator, Bay Area Labor Committee for Peace & 
Stephen Endicott
Susan Fendell, Esq.
Gao Mobo
Sidney J. Gluck, Chairman US-China Society of Friends, Former President, 
US-China Peoples Friendship Association, New York Chapter
Allen Grieco, Quest Eng. Sls., Inc.
Matthew A. Hale, University of Washington
Han Dongping, Professor, Warren Wilson College
Kathy Hinton
Fred Hirsch, Vice President, Plumbers and Fitters Local 393
Andrew Hsiao, The New Press
Jean Cheui Hsung, Senior Engineer
Jesse Isom
Peter Kwong, Professor, Hunter College
Jonathan Lassen, New York University
Barbara Leon
Li Minqi, Assistant Professor, York University
Ralph Litzinger, Director, Asia/ Pacific Studies Institute, Duke University
Dr. Liu Shenyu
Luo Chi-yun, computer consultant
Harry Magdoff, Editor, Monthly Review
John Mage, Attorney at Law, NYC
The Oakland Institute
Bertell Ollman, Professor, New York University
Ravi Palat, Professor, Binghamton University
Michael Parenti
Steve Philion
M. V. Ramana, Centre for Interdisciplinary Studies in Environment and 
Development, Bangalore, India
Mike Rotkin, Mayor of Santa Cruz, California, and Statewide 
Vice-President for Organizing and President of Local 2199, Santa Cruz, 
University Council-American Federation of Teachers
Immanuel Wallerstein, Professor, Yale University
Robert Weil
Michael Yates, Associate Editor of Monthly Review