On 35th anniversary of Tiananmen, Circle 19 group launches landmark manifesto for the right to information in China

Circle 19 2024

June 4, 2024

In the spirit of resistance that has persisted 35 years after the Tiananmen movement, the Circle 19 independent group of Chinese media experts, supported by Reporters Without Borders (RSF), has published a groundbreaking new Statement of Principles. This landmark manifesto outlines the importance of the right to information as an integral part of Chinese legacy – contrary to the narrative of the Beijing regime – and urges support for the effective exercise of this vital right in the People’s Republic of China.

On 4 June, 35 years after the Tiananmen Square massacre, Circle 19 for the Right to Information in China, an independent group supported by RSF, has released its Statement of Principles, a document reaffirming support for the effective exercise of the right to information in the People’s Republic of China, a right that was at the heart of the demands of the Tiananmen movement that was bloodily suppressed in June 1989 by the Chinese regime.

The Statement of Principles, which points out that the right to information is an integral part of China’s legacy and is paramount to the country’s future development, has been endorsed by RSF, as one of 52 supporting NGOs. 

Circle 19 participant, award-winning journalist and curator of the June 4th Museum of Memory and Human Rights Chang Ping expects the group “to tackle the CCP’s propaganda machine and make a significant contribution to change in China.” For his part, Circle 19 participant and China Digital Times founder and director Xiao Qiang, states that “the world must oppose the denial of citizens’ right to information in China that strips them of their dignity.” 

Circle 19 is an independent group composed of around 30 media practitioners and experts from the Chinese diaspora and the international community, that advocates for the right to information on the basis of Chinese intellectual sources. “Circle 19” refers to Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which enshrines the right to freedom of opinion and expression. In September 2023, the group held its inaugural symposium in Paris.

Through its groundbreaking new manifesto, Circle 19  aims to become a point of reference and inspiration for academics, human rights advocates, and policymakers. The group’s long-term objective is to empower the Chinese public with intellectual resources related to the right to information in the People’s Republic of China.

Ranked 172nd out of 180 countries and territories surveyed, China lies at the bottom of RSF’s 2024 World Press Freedom Index and is the world’s largest jailer of journalists, with at least 119 currently detained.

List of NGOs and think tanks endorsing Circle 19’s Statement of Principles: 

  1. Amigos del Tíbet – Colombia
  2. ARTICLE 19
  3. Asia Freedom Institute
  4. Australia Tibet Council
  5. Chicago Solidarity with Hong Kong
  6. China Against the Death Penalty (CADP)
  7. China Change
  8. China Digital Times (CDT)
  9. Civic IDEA
  10.  Coalition of Students Resisting the CCP
  11.  Coalition for Women in Journalism
  12.  Campaign For Uyghurs
  13.  Center For Uyghur Studies
  14.  Comité de Apoyo al Tíbet (CAT), Spain
  15.  Committee For Freedom in Hong Kong Foundation
  16. Doublethink Lab
  17.  Étudiants pour un Tibet Libre
  18.  Freedom House
  19.  Free Tibet
  20.  Friends of Tibet Foundation
  21.  Friends of Tibet, India
  22.  Gesellschaft für bedrohte Völker (The Society for Threatened Peoples, Germany)
  23.  Global Alliance for Tibet & Persecuted Minorities 
  24.  GreatFire
  25.  Grupo de Apoio ao Tibete – Portugal
  26.  Hong Kong Committee in Norway
  27.  Hong Kong Democracy Council
  28.  Hong Kong Media Overseas (HKMO)
  29.  Hong Kong Watch
  30.  Human Rights Foundation
  31.  Human Rights in China (HRIC)
  32.  Humanitarian China
  33.  India Tibet Friendship Manch Nagpur, Maharashtra 
  34.  India Tibet Friendship Society NAGPUR 
  35.  Institute for China’s Democratic Transition
  36.  International Service for Human Rights (ISHR)
  37.  International Tibet Network
  38.  Lady Liberty Hong Kong (LLHK)
  39.  The Norwegian Tibet Committee 
  40.  Reporters Without Borders (RSF)
  41.  Safeguard Defenders
  42.  Santa Barbara Friends of Tibet
  43.  Swedish Tibet Committee
  44.  Swiss Tibetan Friendship Association
  45.  Tibet Action Institute
  46.  Tibet Support Group Ireland
  47.  The Tibet support Committee, Denmark
  48.  Tibet Solidarity
  49. Uyghur Human Rights Project (UHRP)
  50.  V-TAG Austria
  51.  Viet Tan
  52.  Women Press Freedom
  53.  World Uyghur Congress