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Activists submit demands to congress

Coalition warns that "social grievances have reached boiling point"

Activists submit demands to congress
Proposal No. 16 (right) demands access to information on disappeared clergy reporter, Hong Kong

November 8, 2012

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Five rights groups have called on the Communist Party to address what they said were the 18 most pressing issues in mainland China as the ruling party convened its 18th national congress today The week-long meeting is expected to see a once-in-a-decade power transition among the country’s top leaders. Hong Kong diocese’s Justice and Peace Commission and four other local and international civil rights groups submitted a list of 18 proposals, gathered from an internet poll, to the government’s liaison office in Hong Kong today. Judicial independence, respect for internet freedom and the real implementation of people’s constitutional rights topped the list. “We don’t have high hopes with these new leaders but we want to raise these proposals as we see social grievances have reached boiling point. If the new leaders still detach themselves from the people, the consequence will be disastrous,” JPC project officer Or Yan-yan warned. These 18 issues are encapsulated in Charter 08 co-authored by Liu Xiaobo, the jailed 2010 Nobel Peace Prize winner, as the document addresses different sociopolitical concerns that need to be raised again now, she said. Charter 08 is a manifesto calling for reform and democracy. It was issued in 2008 to mark the 60th anniversary of the UN's Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Only around 200 people took part in the poll, Or said, noting that friends in mainland China had said they could not do so because of internet censorship. However, China’s official media websites -- the People’s Daily, the Xinhua News Agency and Chinese Central Television -- jointly ran a public forum to collect internet users’ opinions for the congress. Corruption is the biggest concern, with many people demanding the central government to clamp down on graft and to make public the wealth and assets of all the country’s top officials. Related reports China beefs up security before Congress
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