These Winter Olympics, we invite the world to celebrate five individuals who have been imprisoned, otherwise detained or disappeared for exercising their human right to freedom of expression. These individuals all belong to communities that have been particularly harshly targeted in the Chinese government’s continuing assault on freedom of expression and related human rights. Simply by peacefully expressing themselves and refusing to give in to repression, they have demonstrated Olympic-level courage. Their immediate release is important as a first and public step for the Chinese government to adequately show its sincere engagement regarding a better protection of the human rights of all people in China, in line with international human rights standards and the Olympic Charter.

We urge the Chinese authorities to release these five individuals without delay, and we invite the international community to consistently call for their freedom:

  • Citizen journalist Zhang Zhan, sentenced to four years imprisonment for reporting the Covid-19 reality in China.
  • Uyghur academic Ilham Tohti, sentenced to life in prison for suggesting constructive approaches to overcome unequal treatment of ethnic groups in China.
  • Human rights defender Li Qiaochu, detained for reporting torture committed by the Chinese authorities.
  • Lawyer and former prisoner of conscience Gao Zhisheng, disappeared in 2017, shortly after publishing his memoirs of the years he was detained and tortured by the Chinese authorities.
  • Tibetan monk Rinchen Tsultrim, sentenced to four and a half years imprisonment for expressing his political views online.

According to international human rights law and standards, no one should be imprisoned solely for exercising their right to freedom of expression or any other human right. At the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics, the international community should insist that the Chinese government starts playing by the human rights rules. China should free the five immediately and stop the harassment and persecution of all those peacefully exercising their rights.

To learn more about the issue and the five individuals click on this link.


Feel free to sign the petition (in German) to release the five human right defendants through this link.

A French version is available on this link.


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Or alternatively, find below the QR-code if you wish to donate through out TWINT account (this requires a TWINT account).

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