By Deji Toye, Chris Ihidero, Damola Awoyokun, Rotimi Babatunde, Akin Adesokan
Your Excellency President Hu Jintao,
In the wake of your two-day visit to Nigeria, we the undersigned writers could not but draw your attention to and deplore some of the practices of the Chinese government.China is emerging as another economic and political superpower in the global circuit whose foreign policy will bear a vast influence in world affairs. It very unlikely that a government that is repressive at home would have a foreign policy that differs from what it offers at home.
Truly your country is a fine example of rapid economic growth and prosperity to the developing nations, it must be so too in matters of basic human and environmental rights. First, we urge China to submit itself to global covenants on the environment. By not being a signatory to the Kyoto Protocol it shows that the Chinese government is not environmentally responsible and we doubt if its oil foray in Nigeria would not further ensure the eco-degradation of the Niger Delta.
We urge China to be open and responsive to human rights and fundamental freedoms part of which include freedom of expression, freedom of choice, religious and political liberties. We ask you to free many of our persecuted colleagues and other dissenters whose offence is expressing opinions that are different from the communist consensus. Some of them are Shi Tao, Cai Guihua, Han Lifa, Lin Hai, Zhang Shanguang and others recently imprisoned. Also are Zhou Jianhe, Wei Jingsheng, Wang Bingzhang, Bao Ge and many others in forced exile.
We deplore western interests, Microsoft, Yahoo, and Google in doing business with China for acquiescing to its repressive modus operandi thereby becoming accomplices. The west must realize that they were able to defeat soviet totalitarianism because they stood firm, persistent and unambiguous on their position even in matters of trade and investments.Finally, we deplore China’s strategic oil interest in Sudan which has not been favourable to the resolution of the protracted crisis in Darfur. China should be able to condemn the mass killings of a black minority in Darfur and boycott the Sudanese government that connived to perpetuate it.
Deji Toye, Chris Ihidero, Damola Awoyokun, Rotimi Babatunde, Akin Adesokan are Nigerian writers resident in different parts of the world.