“We protest for change. We protest to expose the brutality of the government. We protest to let the world know there are still many like us who are willing to sacrifice for universal value. We protest because we have hope for a better society. We protest most importantly because through protest we define our own dignity and identity.”
Our dissenting hero of this week Zhou Fengsou is a Chinese human rights activist. He was one of the student leaders of the 1989 Tiananmen Square protest for which he was imprisoned for a year without any trial and sentence. Zhou Fengsou is now exiled in the United States and currently serves as the president of Humanitarian China based in California, US.
Zhou Fengsou was a college student when he first joined the protest calling for freedom and democracy in China.
“I joined millions of Chinese together to call for a better China with freedom and democracy for all. It was very exciting. It was like a festival of freedom. When together we shout it was like freedom was within reach. Even though the protest was brutally repressed. Still today I am excited and motivated by the dream we shared with so many people. It was only because of the protest that we knew that there were so many like us who shared the same dream and the brutal killings cannot change that and the censorship cannot change that.”
Zhou Fengsou joins the #WhyProtest campaign to call on China to immediately
· End policies and practices that are incompatible with international human rights standards on the right to peaceful assembly;
· Repeal policy of resorting to lethal force to suppress and detain peaceful protesters;
· Punish government officers responsible for arbitrary detention and torture of peaceful protesters;
· Ratify the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and International Convention on Enforced and Involuntary Disappearance;
· Invite UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights to Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and of Association to assess the current state of freedom of peaceful assembly in Tibet
The #WhyProtest campaign, launched by TCHRD on 3 May to highlight freedom of expression, shines light on the brave and inspiring stories of peaceful Tibetan protesters that will tear through the cloak of coronavirus pandemic used by China to hide escalating repression and persecution of peaceful dissent in Tibet.
During the months leading up to this year’s International Human Rights Day on 10 December, the campaign will feature messages of hope, inspiration, and defiance from 30 activists and human rights defenders.
Join the #WhyProtest Campaign by sharing our digital campaign messages on your timeline or your stories of defending the right to protest and why the freedom to dissent matters to you. If interested, write to Ms Tenzin Dawa for further information: firstname.lastname@example.org.