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100 Chinese Students Write an Open Letter Concerning the 'My Father is Li Gang' Case

Monday, November 15, 2010

By Boxun News, Boxun.com
English Translation by ChinaAid
November 15, 2010
An open letter by Chinese students born in the 80s and 90s who are studying in America in regards to the death of a female student in an auto accident at Hebei University
Initial release by Boxun.com on November 13, 2010
Dear respectable Premier Wen Jiabao of the State Council and all students who have a sense of conscience and justice:

We are a group of 100 Chinese students in America who were born during the 1980s and 1990s. We are studying and living in New York state and other states in America.
Like all other students both in China and abroad, we love our motherland and we hope everyone can breath the air of freedom with dignity. However, the life of our fellow student Chen Xiaofeng was taken by Li Yifan -- a drunk driver speeding in the 5-kilometer zone on campus at Hebei University.

At a time when several hundred million people are mournful and angry and hoped Premier Wen would “render the light of fairness and justice brighter than the sun,” some agencies in Hebei Provincial Government provided a shield for Li Gang. They even allowed him to concoct circumstances by claiming Chen Xiaofeng was wearing roller skates at the time of her death. 

Before the eyes of millions of people, they consistently and openly violated the Constitution and the laws of China. They illegally entered the prison for an interview with the suspect, blocked public opinion, forged the speed report, threatened an autopsy, warned the lawyer, and attempted to control any potential witnesses and the relatives of the victim.

The Public Security Bureau turned a case of intentionally endangering public safety with clear facts and sufficient evidence (that carries a death sentence) into an ordinary traffic accident (that carries a sentence of only several years). After these actions caused an uproar, they then coerced Chen Xiaofeng’s relatives to dismiss the lawyer and the lawsuit “out of their own volition.”

We dearly love our homeland. We grew up there. To prevent a recurrence of Xiaofeng’s tragedy, to achieve a fair and just ruling, and to protect our own safety, rights and dignity, we have gotten together to voice our opinions, call for justice and conscience and call on the central government of our country and the enlightened leaders to fulfill their basic duty to society.

We call on the Chinese students both in China and abroad to sign this open letter, demanding the central government give a serious punishment to Li Gang and his son in accordance with the law, and return to Xiaofeng and the people of our generation a just and safe living environment.

Dear Premier Wen, we have a great respect for you for deepening reform. We who have grown up in this new era have witnessed with our own eyes the glorious achievements our country has made since the reform, which make us overseas Chinese students all the more proud.

Yet, we are puzzled by your forceful words, stating that “the law prevails over heaven” and “laws must be abided by.” While these words ring loudly in our ears, why were Li Gang and his son, under the watchful eyes of hundreds of millions of people, able to willfully trample the Constitution and laws of our country and brush aside the conscience of humanity and life, provoking and harming social justice and morality?
Why could Li Gang’s son, who should have been in a detention center on the night of the accident, get online and replace his profile picture on renren.com and delete his friends files?

Why could CCTV violate the the Law of the People’s Republic of China Governing Management of Detention Centers by interviewing the detained suspect in prison?
Why does Li Gang, a mere public servant, have five luxurious real estate properties? 
Why did Lawyer Zhang Kai receive a warning from the Bureau of Justice, and why were the students at Hebei University told by school authorities to keep silent? 

How could the police conclude the speed which sent the victim airborne was only 5 kilometers per hour, and why did they refuse to let an independent and authoritative department perform the evaluation? 

Why did the family Chen say “it is not convenient to talk about a reason” when they suddenly dismissed the lawyer, and why did they immediately withdraw the lawsuit after that?

This is simply what we have learned from the media and we would like to know how many underhanded operations were conducted.

Dear Premier Wen, given how the case has evolved, many of us students feel despair. We continuously watched for updates of this case on Twitter, renren.com and Facebook and published articles and messages one after another in a naïve belief that “sharing is power.”

We harbored the illusion that we could see the light of fairness and justice under the supervision of public opinion. We have been proven wrong. From the “Push-Up Incident” and the “Hide-and-Seek Incident” to tragedies in kindergartens and the illegal Anyuanding prisons in Beijing, the reality exerts too much pressure and fear upon us.

Yet, when “roller skates” becomes the new terminology for social injustice in today’s China, the tragedy of Xiaofeng makes us question our courage and conscience amid our anguish and grief. Behind what seems to be humor actually sends our painful and repeated questioning back to us. Will we again see the wronged soul of Li Shufeng, the girl victim in Weng’an Incident, hover over the thick smoke coming from the Public Security building?

Fellow students, though the Public Security agencies have closed the case with a light offense, the lawyer has been dismissed and public opinion has been silenced, please believe that until justice exists, and the “door of Li Gang” will not be easily shut down.

As we constantly call into question the suspicious aspects of the case that may bring about supervision and criticism, there are many more issues that all of us need to think about.

Chen Xiaofeng, Zhang Jingjing and the girlfriend who was escorted away after the accident are all students like us. Why is it that after the girl saw two other girls sent airborne in the collision, she felt apathetic about it, then exited the vehicle and walked directly back to her dorm? When the young man shouted, “My father is Li Gang!” what mysterious forces allowed various administrative and judicial departments to help him escape punishment by the law in front of society? 

When so many “Li Gangs” and “Zhang Gangs” refuse to be held liable for their words and deeds, and use errors to rationalize and normalize the original errors to evade denunciation by conscience and punishment by justice, where can this society be headed?

All 100 of us call on our fellow students who identify themselves with social justice and have the basic conscience and dignity of humanity to watch this case closely, sign and pass along this open letter. We believe that while man acts, heaven watches. Sharing is power.  Being a spectator is silver, and signing is gold, and justice trumps both silver and gold!

Working group for this open letter:

Kong Lingxi (Columbia University), Li Kunli (Princeton University), Xu Shijia (Columbia University), Sun Hao (Binghamton University, SUNY), Chen Zhen (Cornell University), Li Jinsui (Queens College, City University of New York), Li Xiaoyi (Queens College, City University of New York), Fu Fuqiang (Francis Lewis High School), Shi Yi
How to sign and give your support:

We openly collect signatures of students on the Internet at ligangletter@gmail.com.  Fellow students from both China and abroad are welcome to send emails to ligangletter@gmail.com. No messages are required in the text box. In the subject line, please use the following format to facilitate our organization:
Wang Ningxiao, New York, USA, Binghamton University, junior in undergraduate program.
Wang Ningyong, Zhejiang, China, Zhejiang University, freshman in undergraduate program.
Lily Tung, Hong Kong, Student
Wei Shuang, Chengdu

If you have any comments or ideas, or you have friends in the media who would like to reproduce and reprint this letter, please send an email to lglettercomment@gmail.com


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Rachel Ritchie, English Media Director
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Email: r.ritchie@chinaaid.org
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