November 12, 2020
His Excellency Xi Jinping
The State Council General Office
Xichengqu, Beijingshi 100017
People’s Republic of China
The Committee of Concerned Scientists is an independent organization of scientists, physicians, engineers and scholars devoted to the protection and advancement of human rights and scientific freedom for colleagues all over the world.
We write to express our concern over the treatment of book publisher, artist, film producer, and former Tsinghua University professor Geng Xiaonan, who has been detained, along with her husband, Qin Zhen, as a result of her expressions of support for Xu Zhangrun, a law professor at Tsinghua University. Zhangrun had been detained in July, and was subsequently fired from his academic position allegedly for criticizing the government.
Though Geng Xiaonan has been charged with “illegal business operations,” reportedly in connection with her publishing company Ruyia Books. These charges appear to be untrue, and it appears that she has been detained for exercising her right to freely express her beliefs, and for her support for scholars and intellectuals who have called for political reforms and as a result have lost their jobs or been imprisoned. She and her husband have been in custody for two months, since their arrest on September 9. There are serious concerns that she will remain locked up for many more months.
We urge you to release Geng Xiaonan, as the charges she faces, even if correct, are non-violent in nature. Her lawyers maintain that she should have been released on bail pending trial.
Thank you for your attention to this most important matter, and we look forward to hearing from you in regard to this situation.
Joel L. Lebowitz, Paul H. Plotz, Walter Reich, Eugene M. Chudnovsky, Alexander Greer
Co-Chairs, Committee of Concerned Scientists
Ambassador Cui Tiankai
Embassy of the People’s Republic of China
3505 International Place, NW
Washington, DC 20008
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