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Letter to the Empire State Building Management

Celebration of 60th Anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China

Subject: ESB illumination to celebrate 60th anniversary of PRC

Dear Empire State Building Management,

As long-term tenants of the Empire State Building, we are writing to express our surprise and dismay at the decision to illuminate the Empire State Building in red and yellow to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China. 

We want to make clear we have no objection to honoring China as a nation, a great civilization or a vibrant people. However, this date commemorates the rule of the Chinese Communist Party, a political entity that is responsible historically for many grave violations of human rights.

While China has made undeniable progress in economic and technological areas in the past 60 years, many key human rights - such as peaceful dissent and of political participation, or the right to form independent unions - are no more assured in 2009 than they were in 1949.  Indeed, preparations for the 60th anniversary of the PRC have set back human rights in China, resulting tighter control of the activities of rights defenders and members of civil society, heightened media and Internet censorship, and increased surveillance by police and security forces across the country.

We would be grateful if in the future, the management of the Empire State Building could handle decisions regarding the building's illumination in a more consultative fashion, and in sensitive cases (such as this one) consult with the building's tenants prior to finalizing the decision.



Carroll Bogert

Associate Director

Human Rights Watch

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