Adopted on: 17 Jan 1979
This Declaration is an inofficial document, which is also known as the 19 Articles on Human Rights, was adopted by the Chinese Human Rights Alliance after its founding on 1 Jan 1979. Posted on Democracy Wall on Peking’s Tian An Men Square, it attracted wide attention and led to a lively discussion of its contents which were, however, far from universally acknowledged among Chinese citizens.
Article 1 [Freedom of Expression, No Deification]
(1) The citizens demand freedom of expression and the release of all political prisoners. It is equally absurd to write an individual’s thought into the Constitution as it is absurd to include the name of an heir apparent in the Party and State Constitutions. This is in violation of the principle of freedom of expression, in violation of a person’s thinking processes, and in violation of the fundamental principle of the complexity of matter in materialism.
(2) The people of the country deeply detest an ingratiating attitude, because they know there is nothing in the world that is sacred and inviolable. The citizen demand the uprooting of superstitious deification and idol worship, the removal of the crystal coffin, and the conversion of the mausoleum to a memorial hall, the construction of Premier Zhou’s memorial hall and the annual solemn observance of the Tian An Men Incident in order to free faith from superstition.
Article 2 [Criticism, No Feudal Standards, Democracy]
(1) The citizens demand that the Constitution guarantee the right to criticize and evaluate Party and State leaders.
(2) In order to spare this generation and succeeding ones further misery, to uphold truth and justice, and to promote productivity, the citizens demand the complete abolition of the feudal and despotic standards now in force which equate opposition to certain individuals with counter-revolution.
(3) The citizens further demand that Chinese society be genuinely built on the foundation of democracy.
Article 3 [Minorities, Parties, Democratic Centralism]
(1) The citizens demand that minority nationalities be given broad autonomy.
(2) It is important to realize that China is not only a multi-national country, but also a multi-party country. In marching down the road of socialism, our country must face the multi-party reality, allowing representation of all parties in the National People’s Congress. It is absurd that although according to the law the highest organ of the state is the National People’s Congress, other parties are barred from participating in it.
(3) It is against the principle of democratic centralism to replace the Government with the Chinese Communist Party and to merge the Government and the Chinese Communist Party into one, for the result of such a merging is the inevitable continuation of rampant bureaucratism. The citizens of our country do not want a good-weather Constitution.
Article 4 [Elections, Control]
(1) The citizens demand that nationwide general elections be held to choose state and local leaders by direct balloting. Delegates to neither the Fourth nor the Fifth National People’s Congress were popularly elected. This not only made a laughing-shock of our country’s socialist democracy, but also represented a fraud perpetrated on the human rights of the 970 million citizens of China.
(2) The citizens demand that a Citizens’ Committee or Citizens’ Board be elected as a permanent organ of the People’s Congress to participate in the national decision-making process and to supervise the government.
(3) The citizens further demand that party and state leaders violating the law be brought to justice and that party and state leaders be always under the purview of the law.
Article 5 [Information]
Every citizen of the People’s Republic of China must have the right to demand that the government make public the following information:
– state budget and gross national income,
– gross industrial and agricultural production,
– military expenditures,
– government administrative expenditures,
– investments and revenues,
– total number of industrial workers and cadres,
– total wages,
– size of armed forces,
– unemployment figures,
– workers’ insurance,
– welfare and relief statistics,
– retail price index,
– foreign trade volumes and foreign economic and military aid (including aid to parties not in power or involved in armed struggles),
– production figures in various sectors of the national economy,
– current population and population growth,
– deaths and injuries from industrial accidents,
– diplomatic agreements,
– budgetary deficits, and
– domestic and foreign debts.
Article 6 [Publicity]
The National People’s Congress shall not hold any secret sessions. The citizens shall have the freedom to attend the National People’s Congress, and the meetings of its Standing Committee and the Preparatory Committee.
Article 7 [Public Property Control]
(1) There must be a gradual abolition of the system of state ownership of the means of production and a gradual transition to the system of ownership by all of society, under which the citizens must have the right to supervise the control and distribution of the surplus labor of all citizens by the state. This is to prevent further wanton exploitation by feudal-socialist swindlers like Lin Biao and the Gang of Four, so that the citizens will be spared further miseries which were brought about by such campaigns as the slogans:
“counter-attacking of the rightists,”
“the maladjustment of ratios,”
” the tearing up of agreements,”
“the all-out civil war,”
“the economic stagnation” and the one called
“bordering on collapse.”
(2) The citizens demand a voice in setting industrial, agricultural and commercial taxes, and the amount of industrial profits going to the state.
Article 8 [No Revisionism, Detente with America and Japan]
(1) The Chinese Communist Party has revised its perception of Comrade Tito and the theory and practice of his Yugoslav socialism, realizing that a backward theory inevitable goes together with backward productivity. This perception follows the theory of turning revisionist. After a 10-year tragedy involving everyone in the country, the Chinese national economy reached the brink of collapse. Ironically, what Zhang Chun-chiao and Yao Wen-yuan called
“democratic factions turning into capitalist-roaders” and
“the Soviets turning into revisionists,”
actually share the same theoretical base. In view of the major changes in our domestic and foreign policies and lines, the allegation of “turning revisionist” has totally collapsed both in theory and practice. The objective basis on which the Sino-Soviet ideological differences once existed is now lacking.
(2) The citizen demand detente. The Soviet people are a great people. There should be everlasting friendship between the Chinese and American people, between the Chinese and the Japanese people, and between the Chinese and Soviet people as well.
Article 9 [Marxism, Western Traditions, Opening-Up]
(1) The citizen demand adherence to the teaching of Marxism that socialism leads to a society which insures individual freedom and that the model of a regime of any socialist country is inherited from the traditional model of a capitalist regime. Divorced from the capitalist materialistic civilization, socialist democracy and freedom cannot survive. This is the basic ideology in Marxist classics; it is also an important lesson learned by the Chinese people after wandering more than 20 years.
(2) We need to borrow not only from Western science and technology, but also from Western democratic, cultural traditions.
(3) The citizens demand that the government continue to open up previously closed doors, so as to allow ideological shackles to come down and freedom to sweep over the land, to allow intelligent Chinese people to share in the treasures of mankind, to allow the much-abused present generation to have a taste of freedom and the younger generation to be spared the same past misery, to eradicate class prejudices, and to end deceptive propaganda.
Article 10 [Foreign Information, Publication]
(1) Chinese citizens shall have the freedom to enter foreign embassies to obtain information materials, to hold press conferences with foreign newsmen and to publish their works abroad. The citizens demand access to internal reading material and international motion pictures in order that there may be equality in cultural life. The citizens shall have the freedom to subscribe to foreign newspapers and journals and to watch foreign television stations.
(2) The citizens demand that the state give them the right of publication according to the Constitution.
Article 11 [Work, Movement, Birth Control, Unemployment]
(1) The practice of life-time affiliation with a work unit should be completely abolished. The citizens demand freedom of employment, attire, and movement; they demand that a solution be provided for the problems of husbands and wives working and living in different locations. Cadres demand the freedom to switch jobs; security workers should have freedom in their love life and marriage; and middle-school graduates should have the freedom not to go to the production brigades in the countryside.
(2) We oppose coercive enforcement of birth control programs by the government and the use of government administrative power to enforce any kind of clarion call.
(3) The unemployed citizens demand that they have the right to receive state compensation.
Article 12 [Rations]
The citizens demand that the state guarantee the peasants basic grain rations in order to eliminate the need to beg.
Article 13 [Educated Youths in Agriculture]
Educated youths on state farms shall have the right to receive profit distributions. All educated youths in agriculture demand that the state abolish their inhuman treatment, accord them political equality, improve their living conditions, and raise their wages.
Article 14 [Deceptive Recruiting]
The citizens demand that the state prohibit deceptive recruiting practices. Units and cadres involved in deception must be brought to justice, particularly in cases involving the offering and taking of bribes.
Article 15 [Legal Remedies]
In working whole-heartedly for the four modernization, the government must also whole-heartedly and realistically serve the interests of the people. It must heed the demand for improving the system of upward appeal by the victims of fabricated, unjust and mistaken cases, assuring that the upper echolons will handle the appeals directly and swiftly.
Article 16 [Secret Police, Arrest]
The secret police and the party secretary of a unit shall not have the right to arrest and to interrogate citizens. The secret police system is extremely incompatible with socialist democracy and the citizens demand that the secret police be abolished.
Article 17 [Slums, Living, Exhibitions, Censorship, Political Review]
(1) The citizens demand the abolishment of slums, the practice of three generations living under the same roof and the custom of grown sons and daughters living in the same room. The practice of organization controlling admission tickets should also be abolished.
(2) All exhibitions must be opened up to free admission.
(3) Censorship must be abolished and there must be a guarantee of the freedom of writing and freedom of the press.
(4) Political review in college entrance examinations must be abolished to insure equality based on examination scores alone.
Article 18 [Freedom to Travel]
We are the citizens of the world and as much, we demand the opening of borders, an active trade, cultural exchanges, export of laborers, the freedom to go aboard on work-study programs, and to work and travel abroad.
Article 19 [International Appeal for Support]
The Chinese Human Rights Alliance appeals to all governments, human rights organizations, and the public for support.