Shanghai - A man identifying himself as a "young intellectual" has mailed a letter from Shanghai to President Carter protesting violation of human rights in the People's Republic of China.
In its current edition, the weekly Far Eastern Economic Review said it had forwarded the letter to Carter.The Review said the letter was signed, but did not diclose the name.
[In Washington, an administration official said the U.S. consulate in Hong Kong was studying the letter to establish its authenticity, AP reported.]
A spokesman for the magazine said the letter was mailed in one of the Review's preprinted subscription renewal envelopes, which could have been obtained from one of the Review's 11 subscribers in Shanghai - nine individuals with Western names and two blanks.A note inside addressed to "Mr. Editor" asked that the letter be sent to the President.
The letter carries what appears to be a valid Shanghai postmark. Analysts of Chinese affairs here who have seen it tend to think it is authentic, although they caution that there is a chance it was mailed by Nationalist Chinese operatives.
The letter is dated March 13, one week after official Chines newspapers in Shanghai reported Soviet dissent Andrei Sakharov's Janaury letter to Carter and Carter's March meeting with Soviet lissident Vladimir Bukovsky. The Shanghai letter asks that Carter "not forget the suffering of the 800 million people in the Chinese mainland who have lost their human rights, and support us with the same commitment you gave the Soviet human rights leader, thus enabling us to hope for the restoration of our human rights one day."
The letter writer lists more than 20 prisons and labor reforms camps he says he knows of in the Shanghai area.
Two experienced analysts here say the style and vocabulary of the letter suggest that it has written by someone who has attended or graduated from college in China. The author's flawless use of simplified Chinese characters in a form used only in the People's Republic give weight to the letter's authenticity, although analysts find it strange that the writer refers throughout to "mainland" China, a term repugnant to Peking.
The writer, who gives an address on a street that does exist in Shanghai, express particular bitterness over the Chinese policy of sending high school and university graduates to farms in the countryside. "We can't use what we have learned," the letter says. "Our future is bleak. Our whole lives will be spent in farms in faraway border regions, in effect labor reform camps."
Interviews with Chinese who have moved to Hong Kong from the People's Republic makes it clear that some persons with strong anti-Communist views still live in China, although they are likely to keep their opinions to themselves. There are no known cases of Chinese dissidents appealing for help to Western leaders.