freedom of expression

51 petitions

Started 3 weeks ago

Petition to Telegram, Pavel Valerievich Durov, Human Rights Campaign, Apple, Google, United Nations, Michelle Obama

Allow all nationalities to join public Telegram groups

Of the myriad problems developing countries face, one oft-overlooked is the lack of communication. Different information channels are censored, blocked, sanctioned, or simply out of reach. Lack of money, means to transfer money, know-how, and language and cultural barriers add to the intensity of the problem. In such an environment, it is of first-order import that the free world and its institutions do what they can to ameliorate the information isolation less privileged people face. I am an Iranian. My people's connections to the outside world have been dismal for decades. In recent years, however, Telegram has seen an enormous adoption in this country. It has, literally, changed the whole Iranian socio-political landscape; That it wouldn't be censored by the Islamic Republic was one of the more prominent promises of the campaign of the current president. (It, most unfortunately, has been censored anyway now. But this blockage, the Iranian people have all but overcome.) On this unique channel of free expression for my people, we are, arbitrarily, blocked from creating or even joining public Telegram groups. In fact, not even the administrator of a public group can allow a person who has registered with an Iranian phone number in. Clearly, old-school anti-censorship tools like VPNs are of no use, as well. This unnecessary, and inexcusable blockage effectively cuts off my people (and other similarly treated nations) from a huge portion of one of the few channels to the outside world. The Islamic Republic is hard at work isolating the Iranian people; Should the free world help their mission?

Fereidoon Mehri
70 supporters
Update posted 1 month ago

Petition to Mike Pompeo, President of the United States

Please Help Me Fight for My Mother's Freedom

My name is Iris. I’m a CPA working at a university in Tampa, Florida. My mom was arrested by the Chinese regime and recently sentenced to six years because she refused to give up her belief.   My mom is a Falun Gong practitioner. Falun Gong is a spiritual practice involving meditative “qigong” exercises and is centered on the values of Truthfulness, Compassion, and Tolerance. In July 1999, the former dictator of the Chinese Communist Party orchestrated a massive and brutal persecution against Falun Gong practitioners.   Facing autocratic state power, Falun Gong practitioners took peaceful approaches to speak out about the truth of the persecution to Chinese people and the world. According to Amnesty International, Freedom House and others, tens of thousands of practitioners in China have been arrested and imprisoned for voicing their thoughts and beliefs. My mom is one of them.   My mom Deng Cuiping began practicing Falun Gong in 1997 for health and wellness. After the persecution began, my mom was wrongfully dismissed from her work twice and sent to brainwashing classes several times.  She was forced to renounce her belief over the years. She was detained three times and jailed for three years from 2006 to 2009. My mom was both mentally and physically tortured there. To protest the illegal treatment, she went on a hunger strike and almost lost her life during the imprisonment. Her friend Shen Yueping, also a Falun Gong practitioner, was tortured to death in the same prison six months following my mom’s release.   On July 24, 2016, policemen from the National Security Bureau of China arrested my mom again. My father and grandma were threatened by hooligans when they made a peaceful petition to the local government for my mom after she was arrested. My father, an elementary school teacher, was called to a meeting and school managers warned him that he could be suspended from work if he continued the petition.   My mom was put on trial in February. A human rights lawyer questioned the flawed charges against her, but it was no use. On Feb. 24, she was illegally sentenced to six years in prison for refusing to give up her belief. My mom appealed to the higher court. However, on the second morning following Mother’s Day, my family was notified that the court did not reverse the judgment and on May 18th, my mom was sent back to the very prison where she had suffered tremendously and where her friend was killed.   I have been working hard here in hopes that one day I will rescue my parents out of the endless hell in China and bring them to America. I dreamed that we would build a new home in this land of freedom and my mom would have a quiet, secure life in her older age. This dream that once seemed within reach has now been shattered.   But if there’s anything I learned from my mom, it’s to never give up and to believe in people’s kindness. My congressman, Dennis Ross, and others have written letters to the Chinese government and U.S. President. The Tampa Bay Times and USA Today reported her story. And the Congressional-Executive Commission on China listed my mom among “China’s heroes,” urging President Trump to ask for her release when he met Chinese President Xi Jinping at the bilateral meeting. The student government of the university which I work for initiated and passed a resolution that calls for the immediately release of my mom and an end to the persecution.   Supporting freedom of conscience remains a fundamental principle of the United States. I ask for your support in signing this petition that asks U.S. Secretary of State to look into my mom’s case and urge the immediate release of my mom and other prisoners of conscience. Each small step makes a difference. Please sign and support me in stopping the persecution of all innocent Falun Gong practitioners as well as all prisoners of conscience in China.

Iris Lu
35,950 supporters