Academic Freedom
Chinese Academics Detained > Other Petitions and Letters

Letter from the British Sociological Association
16th June 2001

His Excellency Jiang Zemin, President, People's Republic of China, c/o Embassy of the People's Republic of China, 49-51 Portland Place, London W1N 4JL

Your Excellency,

I write on behalf of the British Sociological Association, representing sociologists and social researchers in the British educational system and in the private and public sectors. We wish to express to you our deep concern over the detention of three Chinese social scientists: Dr Gao Zhan, Dr Li Shaomin, and Dr Xu Zerong. All three have undertaken work on sociological topics. Dr. Gao has carried out important work on women and family life, Dr. Li has worked on business organisation, and Dr. Xu is a military sociologist. All three have travelled and published widely in academic circles and their work is known to many fellow social scientists.

The detention of these three social scientists prevents them from pursuing their careers in social research, and denies them fundamental human rights. They have been detained without good cause and have been given no proper indication of the reasons for their detention. We are seriously concerned about their safety and their future. I write to ask you to investigate their situation and ensure that their human rights are recognised, as guaranteed under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. As your government is a signatory to this Covenant, I am sure that you will wish to ensure that it is complied with in full.

The maintenance of an open and pluralistic society requires that individuals be able to express their views freely. Academic freedom and intellectual freedom in all areas in which social researchers are active has a major part to play in such a system, and it is essential that the government of such a society should protect that freedom and the rights of researchers to pursue their scientific interests. We call upon you to show your commitment to the international covenant on human rights and to the protection of academic freedom by addressing the abuse of human rights in these three cases.

Yours sincerely,

John Scott President, British Sociological Association

Letter to Jiang Zemin

Leading Academics Protest Detentions
HRW Press Release

Other Petitions and Letters

Biographies of the Detained Scholars

Press Conference Co-sponsors

Press Conference Speakers

HRW Academic Freedom Program

China: Human Rights Deteriorate
HRW Special Focus


Dr. Gao Zhan, released

Dr. Li Shaomin, released

Dr. Xu Zerong, detained days