Destruction of Amnesty display under investigation

Death Penalty in ChinaThe death penalty is in use in China

Campus security is investigating the destruction of Amnesty International posters protesting the Chinese government’s human rights record. The incident, which occurred on Wednesday, took place in the Physics Exhibition centre around 12 o’clock.

Amnesty International member John Nicholls was confronted by two male students of East-Asian origin as he attempted to sign the “End the Death Penalty” petition on the Amnesty display. They were reported to have said “You’re disrespecting our country!” and “Have you ever been to China? How do know this? This is all bullshit.” Nicholls claimed the students then proceeded to tear the boards down and throw them in the bin.

Amnesty International Chairs Jessica Sinclair-Taylor and Eleanor Ridley said: “Our campaign is not directed against Chinese people but about the policies of the Chinese administration. The campaign is called Human Rights for China – it is not a hate campaign”.

Nicholls, who had previously seen graffiti with the words “What China needs is stability and development, not stupid democratisation”, reported the two students to a porter working in the exhibition centre. It is believed that they gave their names and email addresses. The incident is now being investigated.

Tanya, a Chinese student who was not involved with the incident, said: “There are differing opinions and people should have regard for each other without making it aggressive. However, if opinions are made across countries and government discussions will be sparked but it should be talked through in a more adult manner.”

University Press Officer David Garner confirmed that the incident had been reported to campus security services. He said: “Two people were involved in this incident, and an investigation to trace them is underway. It will be reported to the relevant Provosts in due course.” Garner added that security services believe that they had identified one of the two perpetrators.

The posters had been put up in order to gain signatures for a petition to end the death penalty in China. Addressed to Wen Jiabao Guojia Zongli, Prime Minister of the People’s Republic of China, it called on him to hold up promises to improve China’s human rights record by halting the executions, ensuring fair trials and reducing the number of crimes punishable by death. Amnesty hoped to seek signatures in order for China to meet its international legal obligations and its own commitments by addressing these issues.

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