We write as an informal coalition of 60 organizations and individuals who are scholars, religious leaders, human rights advocates and practitioners to ask you to take emergency measures to ensure open and free access to the internet for those facing a resurgence of human rights abuses in China.
The Chinese government’s crackdown on the freedom of Hong Kong’s people and its deadly COVID-19 misinformation campaigns pose an urgent threat to global human rights. The Chinese government’s “Great Firewall” is actively censoring the free flow of information on the internet. The messages of brave protestors standing for freedom in Hong Kong cannot reach mainland Chinese citizens who are locked in a virtual prison of internet censorship.
Now the CCP is openly flouting its international agreements and acting aggressively to remove the rights guaranteed to Hong Kong. The reach of China’s internet oppression now threatens to extend to Hong Kong with the Court of Final Appeal’s rulings and the new Chinese draft national security law.
China’s persecution of religious groups and the ensuing cover up both rely on its strict internet censorship, whether the targeted group is Falun Gong, Christians, Uyghurs, or Tibetans. Without quick, decisive action to tear down the censorship wall, these same violations will likely dismantle the religious freedom Hong Kong has long possessed.
Despite the Chinese government’s efforts, several existing firewall circumvention tools have already provided hundreds of thousands of users with uncensored internet access. We ask you to designate funds for firewall circumvention tools such as Ultrasurf, Lantern, and Freegate that are already on the GSA schedule and so can quickly receive emergency funding. In this way many more people can get accurate information. We support the actions called for in the enclosed letter authored by a leading organization working on ending China’s censorship, the Lantos Foundation for Human Rights and Justice.
If you have any questions or need any further information on how you can help tear down the Chinese firewall for potentially tens of millions of people, please reach out to Logan Carmichael at firstname.lastname@example.org. We thank you for your continued work for human rights and for your thoughtful consideration of this emergency need for the freedom of information.