CECC Chairman Sander Levin Issues Statement on Reported Execution of Mr. Wo Weihan

Congressional-Executive Commission on China | www.cecc.gov

CECC Chairman Sander Levin Issues Statement on Reported Execution of Mr. Wo Weihan

November 29, 2008

(Washington, DC)—he reported execution on November 28 of Mr. Wo Weihan demonstrates again the Chinese government’s failure to abide by procedural norms and safeguards that meet international standards. Serious concerns were raised over matters such as Mr. Wo’s access to counsel, the availability of information during preparation of his defense, the transparency of proceedings that resulted in his conviction and sentencing, and the manner in which questions concerning the proportionality of his punishment were reviewed. All nations have the responsibility to ensure that justice is served in criminal cases, including cases involving questions of national security. But the effective implementation of basic human rights, and the ability of all people in China to live under the rule of law depend on careful attention to and transparent compliance with procedural norms and safeguards that meet international standards. Instead of signaling its intent to uphold international standards through completion of a full, fair and transparent review of Mr. Wo's case, the Chinese government demonstrated callous disregard for those standards.

As we stated in the Commission’s recently-released 2008 Annual Report on human rights and the development of rule of law in China, "China's repeated failure to live up to its commitments to international standards has seriously damaged its credibility." Moreover, recent developments "prompt us to consider not simply what the Chinese government and Communist Party may do in the months and years ahead, but what the United States must do differently in managing our relationship with China....It is vital that the United States in its relationship with China pursue the issues that are the charge of this Commission: individual human rights, including worker rights, and the safeguards of the rule of law. This is not a matter of one country meddling in the affairs of another. All nations, including ours, have both the responsibility and a legitimate interest in ensuring compliance with international commitments."

For further information on the death penalty, state secrets, and related issues in China, see “Capital Punishment,” “Fairness of Criminal Trials,” Access to Counsel and the Right to Present a Defense,” in Section II - Rights of Criminal Suspects and Defendants, and Section II – Freedom of Expression in the Commission’s 2008 Annual Report.

The Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC), Chaired by Rep. Sander Levin (D-MI) and Co-Chaired by Senator Byron Dorgan (D-ND), consists of nine Members of the House of Representatives, nine Senators and five Administration officials appointed by the President. The Commission’s Annual Report is among the most comprehensive, public examinations of the state of human rights and the rule of law in China produced by the U.S. government.