Radio Free China

Human Rights and Religious Freedom News

Archive for February, 2007

Beijing Elderly Christian Sentenced to 2 Years Imprisonment

Posted by radiofreechina on February 27, 2007

www.ChinaAid.org

CAA learned that Beijing house church activist Hua Huiqi’s 77-year-old mother, Ms.
Shuang Shuying was sentenced to two years by Beijing Chongwen District People’s
Court on February 26, 2007 on the charge of willfully damaging public and private
property.

The Court only spent an hour hearing this case and quickly sent the verdict. Since
the trial date was set on the first work day after the Chinese New Year period, her
lawyer was not able to collect any evidence to defend her. She was arrested when she
walked to the Chongwen district office to seek information about her son pastor Hua
Huiqi who was arrested since January 26. Hua is an active house church Christian in
Beijing. He has been passionately serving the ministry and assisting lots of
persecuted Christians and oppressed peasants. The Beijing government has been
seeking opportunities to take revenge against this family for their active support
of the oppressed.

“We are shocked by the injustice done to this elder Christian lady”said Bob Fu who
is the former coworker of Hua, “it definitely represents a new low on the so-called
rule of law in China especially in the host city of 2008 Summer Olympics.”

Letter of your concern can be sent to:
Premier Wen Jiabao, PRC
PO Box 1741, The State Council, Beijing, PRC (zip code 100017)
Contact Phone:+86-10-66012399
Ms. Wu Aiying, minister of Ministry of Justice of PRC
Tel:+86-10-65205114
Fax:+86-10-64729863
Address:No. 10, Nan Da Jie, Chaoyangmen, Beijing City (Zip Code: 100020)

Press release Issued by CAA on February 26, 2007

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RFA takes a look at Chinese dissidents during lunar festivities

Posted by radiofreechina on February 22, 2007

Scant Cheer for China’s Dissidents at Lunar New Year (rfa.org)

HONG KONG—While millions across China have braved packed trains, planes, and buses to welcome the lunar Year of the Pig with extended family, relatives of those who fell foul of the ruling Communist Party will have little to celebrate.
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Li Peng ‘the butcher of Tananmen’ published diary has no mention of 89 protest

Posted by radiofreechina on February 22, 2007

The ‘butcher of Tiananmen’ publishes his diaries but ‘forgets’ 1989 protests (AsianNews.it)

Beijing (AsiaNews/Agencies) – The ‘butcher of Tiananmen’ has published his fifth personal diary, which covers the period 1983-2003, without a single word about the student movement or the violent repression he ordered.

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Worshipping God in a Chinese labor camp cesspool

Posted by radiofreechina on February 19, 2007

It became his own ‘private garden’

By Dan Wooding
Founder of ASSIST Ministries

CHINA (ANS) — I have met some unusual people in my travels around the world, but one of the most remarkable was Pastor Wu*, who spent nearly six of his 18 years in prison and in a Chinese labor camp working in a cesspool.

I talked with Pastor Wu during a visit to China some time back. It was then that I discovered that each day, over a period of years, Pastor Wu would be lowered into a stinking putrid cesspool and, as he went down into the terrible place, a huge smile would envelope his face. As he shoveled out the vile waste-matter there to be used as fertilizer in the fields, he would begin to sing the old hymn, “I come to the garden alone, while the dew is still in on the roses…”

He told me, “As I sang, I would feel our Lord holding me tight in his everlasting arms. At that very moment, that cesspool became my own private garden. You see, this was a wonderful blessing for me because it was the only time I was alone from the prying eyes of the guards. I could now commune with God, praise His Name at the top of my voice, and I would also recite scriptures that I had memorized. I have experienced how important it is for us Christians to memorize scriptures.

“People wonder how I could keep my faith during those 18 years in prison and labor camp, but I can say that God was with me during that whole time and I bear no ill feelings to those that put me there, even though there were many times I was ill-treated.”

He said that the guards in the labor camp decided the best way they could punish him for his Christian faith was to have him work in the cesspool.

“Little did they realize this was to be a greatest blessing to me,” said the pastor. “At that time, almost all of the prisoners were afraid to even approach the cesspool because all of the human waste from the entire camp of about 60,000 prisoners was deposited there. They were scared of picking up a fatal virus from it. I worked there for nearly six years.

“They thought they would re-educate me there, but they did not know that, during those years, I enjoyed so much to work in the cesspool. It was very deep and I would have to wade into it to scoop up the mess. The smell would be so strong that the guards and prisoners would get far way from me because of the stink. But I enjoyed the solitude of being alone… with God!”

He went on to say, “It is easy for us to praise the Lord in freedom, but are we able to praise our Lord in these kind of circumstances? Because He was with me, I was able to praise Him in such earthly misery because He never leaves or forsakes us. For 18 years, not only did I survive physically, but also I was able to forgive those that put me there. Today I continue to serve the Church in China.”

Pastor Wu has since planted scores, if not hundreds of churches in China.

I wonder how we would react to having to spend each day in a cesspool. Come to think of it, many of us still do as we work in the world! But the question is, could we react the way this Chinese pastor did and praise God for the privilege of serving Him in such a wicked world! I wonder?

* Not his real name. It has been changed to protect his identity.

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Chinese AIDS Activist Released from House Arrest to Receive Rights Award in US

Posted by radiofreechina on February 18, 2007

www.voanews.com

By Daniel Schearf
Beijing
17 February 2007

The Chinese government will allow a prominent and outspoken AIDS activist to travel to the U.S. to receive a rights award supported by Senator Hillary Clinton after detaining her at home for two weeks. The release comes after international pressure was brought to bear on Chinese officials, including a letter from Clinton to Chinese President Hu Jintao. Daniel Schearf reports from Beijing.

Gao Yaojie, a retired doctor in her 80s, said officials in Henan province told her Friday she would be allowed to go to the U.S., to accept a leadership award for supporting women’s legal rights in China. She said the police that had not allowed her to leave home for the past two weeks were no longer there. Her telephone service, which authorities had cut, has been restored.

Wenchi Yu Perkins is the human rights program director for Vital Voices Global Partnership, the Washington-based women’s advocacy organization that will present the award to Gao. She welcomed Gao’s release.

“I think it’s really due to various pressure and also the government realizes that having Dr. Gao coming to the U.S. and receive this prestigious award is only good for China,” she said.

Gao was key to exposing government-supported blood-buying programs in the 1990s that infected tens of thousands of poor farmers with the AIDS virus through infected blood transfusions. Her outspoken advocacy of AIDS patients’ rights embarrassed Henan officials, who often harassed her and restricted her movements.

Perkins says Chinese officials placed Gao under house arrest because they were concerned she might say something that would make the government look bad.

The detention was widely criticized and the case to get her released was taken up by former first lady, now senator and presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, who wrote a letter to Chinese President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao.

Aides to Clinton said China’s ambassador to Washington Zhou Wenzhong called the senator on Friday to say Gao would be allowed to go to the U.S.

Clinton is honorary co-chair of Vital Voices and will help present the award to Gao on March 14 at the John F. Kennedy Center in Washington.

Gao has been given numerous awards for her HIV/AIDS advocacy and education work. Perkins notes this will be the first time the Chinese government has allowed Gao to travel abroad to receive an award in person.

Chinese officials prevented Gao from leaving the country in 2001 to collect the Jonathan Mann Award for Global Health and Human Rights. Two years later, authorities stopped her from going abroad to receive the Ramon Magsaysay Award for Public Service, a prestigious honor from a Philippines-based foundation.

The Chinese government has come a long way from once denying HIV/AIDS was a problem to launching nation-wide education and prevention campaigns. But people infected with HIV/AIDS face widespread discrimination and activists are still harassed.

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RFA looks at trafficking of N. Korean women in China

Posted by radiofreechina on February 16, 2007

Radio Free China

Thousands of North Korean Women Sold as Slaves in China (rfa.org)

SEOUL—Thousands of North Korean women who fled famine in their homeland in recent years are believed to have been sold as “brides” to Chinese men, who often put them to backbreaking labor and subject them to constant fear, physical assault, and sexual abuse……

The jargon that human traffickers use to name their North Korean victims is “pigs,” a degrading word that evokes the treatment these women receive in China.

They describe nightmarish living conditions. Despite their relative youth, their faces are dark and stained and their hands prematurely wrinkled. To prevent the North Korean “bride” from fleeing, the husband’s relatives take turns watching her.

Bullying and physical violence are common, with some women deformed as a result. Unwanted sexual advances from other Chinese men are hard to refuse for fear of retaliatory deportation to North Korea, where returning defectors are often sent to labor camps.

“He hits me every day, for any trivial reason. It’s not that I want to live here, but I have nowhere else to go,” trafficking victim Hoh Kyung-Soon told RFA. “I’ve tried escaping twice. I was caught and beaten to a pulp.”

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Reporters Without Borders hails release of Li Minying

Posted by radiofreechina on February 14, 2007

Nanfang Dushi Bao’s former director freed on completing half of six-year sentence (Reporters Without Borders – http://www.rsf.org)

Li Minying

Reporters Without Borders hailed the release today of Li Minying, the former director of the newspaper Nanfang Dushi Bao, three years before completing a six-year sentence for alleged corruption. He was arrested in January 2004 at the same time as the newspaper’s manager, Yu Huafeng, who is serving an eight-year sentence. The newspaper’s news editor, Cheng Yizhong, was also detained in 2004 but later released.

“Li spent three years of his life in prison after being unfairly convicted in order to punish him for being a bold and dynamic newspaper executive,” Reporters Without Borders said. “His release is very good news, but there is now an urgent need to press for the release of Yu, who is still in prison for his role at the head of Nanfang Dushi Bao.”

Li, who was released from Panyu prison in the southern province of Guangdong, is reportedly in good physical and psychological shape. He has so far refused to make any comment, partly in order not to harm his still imprisoned colleague Yu.

Under Chinese law, a prisoner may be granted release after serving more than half his sentence. This is the second time that Li, who is supported by many Chinese journalists, has had his sentence reduced. He was not mistreated while in prison and was able to phone his family regularly.

His lawyer and his wife told Reporters Without Borders by telephone that they were only notified a few days ago that he was to be released.

On 7 May 2004, Li’s original sentence of 11 years in prison was reduced by the Guangzhou intermediate court on appeal to six years, while Yu’s sentence was reduced from 12 to eight years. The judges said: “The initial verdicts were based on clear facts and real proof. The verdict punished the crime and the judicial procedure was legal. But the sentences were rather heavy.”

The lawyer representing the journalist, had insisted on their innocence and appealed to the Guangdong high court. Within a few weeks of the appeal’s rejection in 2005, a total of 2,356 Chinese journalists had signed a petition calling for their release in the name of justice.

As regards the charges of corruption, the colleagues of Yu and Li say all they did was distribute bonuses to employees based on the newspaper’s increase in advertising revenue. Various sources have said the charges were cooked up by the authorities to punish the executives of a liberal daily that had published a series of investigative reports about SARS and about a young graphic designer, Sun Zhigang, who was beaten to death in a Guangzhou police station.

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Epoch Times runs 1st of 2 articles on religious freedom in China

Posted by radiofreechina on February 14, 2007

Crackdown on Religion Intensifies in China
Witnesses paint a picture of communist regime’s brutality and intolerance

Part I-Targeting Christians
Christians, Buddhists and others in China who wish to practice their personal beliefs have two choices: join one of five “patriotic” state-sanctioned churches and endure the oversight of atheistic communist leaders, or go underground and practice in secret, risking arrest, harassment, torture and detention in a forced-labor camp.

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Yan Zhengxue’s case delayed

Posted by radiofreechina on February 14, 2007

Trial Delay in Yan Zhengxue’s Subversion Case (HRIChina.org)

Human Rights in China (HRIC) has learned that the trial of rights defender Yan Zhengxue on subversion charges has been delayed indefinitely. Yan Zhengxue, a Zhejiang-based artist, was originally scheduled for trial on February 14 on charges of “subverting state power.” However, on February 12, Yan’s lawyer, Li Jianqiang, received telephone notification that the trial has been delayed until an as yet unspecified date.

During a visit from his lawyer, Li Jianqiang, at the Taizhou City Luqiao District Detention Center on February 5, Yan reportedly said that the Public Security Bureau’s role in his case was highly questionable. Li Jianqiang said that if the judicial organs deliver an unlawful verdict that leads to Yan harming himself in protest, Li will feel obligated to disclose all he knows about the case, regardless of the consequences to himself.

Yan Zhengxue, born in 1944, attended the preparatory school of the Zhejiang Academy of Fine Arts in the 1960s, and in the 1990s participated in the Yuan Ming Yuan Artists Colony, referred to at the time as the Soho of China. He was elected a deputy of the People’s Congress of Jiaojiang City, Zhejiang Province in 1993, and in 1994 was sentenced to Reform Through Labor on questionable charges. Since his release in 1996, Yan has exhibited his paintings in China and in many countries overseas, including some works he painted while serving time in the labor camp. At the same time, Yan has actively supported disadvantaged groups and individuals in defending their human rights, for which he has been detained and beaten many times.

Yan was detained and his Taizhou City home searched on October 18, 2006, and he was formally arrested on October 25. Yan’s detention notice accused him of “participating in the crime of ‘subversion of state power,'” and his wife, Zhu Chunliu, was subsequently notified that Yan’s case involved state secrets.

HRIC expresses deep concern over the secrecy and lack of procedural transparency in Yan Zhengxue’s case, and the delay of his trial for unspecified reasons. HRIC calls on the international community to closely monitor this case to ensure that Yan’s full rights are afforded before and during his trial.

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VOAnews US policy editorial on human rights in China

Posted by radiofreechina on February 14, 2007

Human Rights In China  (VOAnews.com)

Two-thousand six saw the continuation of a number of disturbing human rights trends in China. At the same time, the year saw increasingly sophisticated and well-publicized efforts by a small, loosely-organized group of lawyers, legal academics, right activists and journalists, whose aim is to pursue social justice and constitutional rights through litigation. These individuals have sought to work within China’s legal system to protect the rights of their fellow citizens, many of whom have been victims of official corruption.

The Chinese government’s reaction to this “rights protection” movement has been disappointing. Human rights activists, internet writers, journalists and academics continue to be subject to detention, house arrest, arrest and criminal conviction, often on questionable grounds. The threat of harassment, loss of jobs, and reprisals against family members served to intimidate many who would otherwise seek to air their grievances or work to safeguard their fellow citizens’ rights.

One of the best know cases is that of Chen Guangcheng — a blind legal activist who documented abuses of China’s birth limitation policies. He was sentenced in August 2006 to more than four years in prison on questionable charges of obstructing traffic and destroying public property. An appeals court ordered a retrial, but Mr. Chen’s original verdict was simply re-imposed by the same court that originally convicted him. Proceedings throughout his trial, retrial and appeal were marred by serious violations of due process, including physical attacks on Mr. Chen’s wife, and the alleged use of coerced testimony.

The United States has raised its concerns about Mr. Chen’s case, as well as others who have been targeted for their peaceful activities in support of their and others’ rights. U.S. State Department spokesman Tom Casey says that the U.S. is urging the Chinese government — as the U.S. urges others — “to respect the rights of their citizens to advocate peacefully for the rights of their fellow citizens. No one,” says Mr. Casey, “should suffer for simply expressing their views, for raising concerns about government policies, and for advocating for the redress of grievances.”

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