APS News

CIFS Objects to Internal Exile for Physics Student Liu Gang

The APS Committee on the International Freedom of Scientists (CIFS) wrote to Chinese government officials in June regarding the terms of release of physicist/activist Liu Gang, who was released from prison this year after serving his full six-year prison term. Liu, a physics graduate student who ranked third on the Chinese government's list of "most wanted" student leaders, was imprisoned soon after the Tiananmen Square massacre in 1989.

In a letter signed by CIFS Chair Man Yee Betty Tsang (Michigan State University), the committee objected to the government's plan to deprive Liu of his political rights for two additional years and to condemn him to internal exile in his home province of Jilin. Claiming that the conditions "are in violation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights that was adopted without objection by the United Nations General Assembly in 1948," the letter strongly urges the government to restore Liu's full citizen's rights so that he may resume his studies and work as a physicist.

Charged with monitoring the human rights situation of physicists and other scientists around the world and advocating for those requiring assistance, CIFS has been following the case of Liu Gang since his imprisonment. Other physics students whose cases are being monitored by CIFS include those of Zhang Lin and Zhu Xiangzhong, and the committee has called upon the Chinese government to release them, along with all other scientists "whose only offense has been to exercise their rights as allowed by the Chinese Constitution."

Zhu is currently serving a seven-year sentence in Second Jail in Jiangsu Province for distributing political posters in Nanjing in 1989, and was beaten severely by his cell mate, a convicted murderer, in August 1993. According to members of CIFS, the Chinese Government encourages violence against political prisoners as a punitive measure by placing them among convicted violent criminals.

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Editor: Barrett H. Ripin