Three Gorges Probe

PRESS RELEASE Probe International calls on foreign funders to protest attacks on Three Gorges petitioners

June 13, 2006

PRESS RELEASE Toronto: A savage attack on Three Gorges migrant representative Fu Xiancai, reported by Human Rights in China on June 12, has left him with a fractured neck and possible permanent paralysis.

The beating occurred on June 8 as Mr. Fu was walking home from a meeting with a Public Security Bureau official in Zigui county (Hubei province) who criticized him for talking to a German television journalist.

Patricia Adams, executive director of Probe International, said that all foreign funders of the Three Gorges project have a moral responsibility to become involved in Fu Xiancai’s case.

“Every government that poured money into the Three Gorges project, including Germany and Canada, needs to step forward and make strong diplomatic representations to the Chinese government about this horrific assault,” Ms. Adams said.

“Foreign financiers of the dam should let the Chinese government know that the brutal beating of Fu Xiancai, and the jailing and harassment of other Three Gorges petitioners, are violations of international human-rights norms, are completely unacceptable and must stop.”

Probe International, a Toronto-based energy and environmental think tank, has worked for two decades with Chinese environmentalists and scholars to monitor the Three Gorges project, and led the international campaign against Canadian financing for the multibillion-dollar scheme.

Canada, Brazil, France, Germany, Japan, Sweden and Switzerland provided at least US$1.5 billion in export credit to finance the sale of turbines and other equipment for the Three Gorges project.

Mr. Fu had appeared in a program that aired May 20 on the German television station ARD, saying he had been harassed for complaining about official corruption in the Three Gorges resettlement operation.

On the morning of June 8, as he was returning home from his police interview, Mr. Fu was struck from behind by an unknown assailant wielding a heavy object.

He was left unconscious by the side of the road, and is now in No. 1 People’s Hospital in Yichang city, under police surveillance. He is currently paralyzed from the neck down, but is able to speak, Human Rights in China said.

Germany’s international broadcaster Deutsche Welle reported today [June 13] that the German Foreign Ministry, through its embassy in Beijing, has demanded an explanation about the attack from the Chinese government.

Jobst Plog, director of TV station Norddeutscher Rundfunk (NDR), part of Germany’s ARD public television network, also sent a letter of protest to the Chinese ambassador in Berlin, Ma Canrong. Mr. Plog said it was tragic “that a Chinese citizen was severely injured just because he made reasonable comments in an ARD program.”

“This overshadows our intention to intensify our coverage of the Olympic Games 2008,” he wrote, and called on the embassy to use its influence “to ensure that Chinese citizens do not in future need to fear for their life or health just because they speak factually on German television.”

Human Rights in China reported that “an additional threat to Fu’s recovery is a lack of financial resources, as his family has only been able to scrape together 7,000 yuan out of the estimated 80,000 yuan [US$10,000] needed for surgery.”

Hospital officials have apparently stated that all medical treatment for Mr. Fu will be stopped if his family cannot come up with the money.

“As a matter of urgency, Fu Xiancai needs to receive the best medical treatment possible, as well as protection from any further assaults and harassment,” said Probe International’s Patricia Adams.

“In addition, all those people who have been imprisoned for voicing legitimate complaints about being swindled and mistreated in the Three Gorges resettlement operation should be released from jail immediately.

“This list includes Wang Xidong, a mother of three who was arrested in 2004 and jailed for five years simply for asking for the full compensation her family had been promised before resettlement.”


See also:

For more information: CONTACT:
Patricia Adams, Executive Director,
Probe International, Toronto, Canada
Tel. 416-964-9223, ext. 227
PatriciaAdams@probeinternational.org

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Categories: Three Gorges Probe

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