Chinese-Dutch Writers' Group Faces Registration Dead-end By Mona Zhimin Tang and Dennis Barbion, 3rd October 2011.
Inspired by the recent international book fair in Beijing, several Chinese writers have tried to register a new non-government organization (NGO) in The Netherlands:
The International Alliance for Chinese Writers. The group is represented in China by Chu (Wang Dejia), Luo Yongquan and Song Xiangfeng.
It aims to unite Chinese writers and authors worldwide, to establish friendship and cooperation between all ethnic groups regardless of their political views, to promote freedom of expression, and to protect writers against suppression by extreme right- and left-wing parties.
The alliance objects to any form of literary inquisition and conviction for freedom of speech.
Our idea is to promote freedom through writing. Over the past half century, all information in China has been distorted and freedom of speech has been violated. The alliance wants to work towards a China that respects ethical and cultural values and has a place in the international community.
October 1 is the 'National Day of China', when we celebrate China as a powerful a country. But let's just think about the relationship between Chinese citizens and the state.
When trying to register our new NGO, we discovered an important secret about Chinese citizenship: outside of China, neither our hukou books nor our identity cards count as proof of identity.In the Netherlands, a foreigner can start a not-for-profit NGO social and an official board member - as long as he can prove his identity. But this does not apply to citizens of mainland China. Why? Because Chinese mainland identity cards don't carry a personal signature!
In a normal society, a citizen's personal signature on their ID card protects it from abuse by others. The lack of a signature on a Chinese ID card leaves it open to misuse. This shows that when the Chinese government issues a card to a citizen, it is not about protecting the citizen's rights, but rather making things easier for the police and army in terms of arrests and constraints.
So, the ID documents of writers from mainland China are not recognized in the Netherlands, and registration of the International Alliance for Chinese Writers failed. Our preparatory committee has contacted Dutch lawyers, and we will keep our friends and compatriots and international informed about this case.
This was a joint declaration by members of the Preparatory Committee of the International Alliance for Chinese Writers:
Chu (Wang Dejia, China), Luo Yongquan (China), Song Xiangfeng (China), Jack
Chen (Nederland), Zhimin Tang (Belgium), October 1 2011.