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Human Rights and Religious Freedom News

Archive for March, 2007

House Church Leaders Arrested in Liaoning and Anhui Province

Posted by radiofreechina on March 31, 2007

http://www.ChinaAid.org

Midland, Texas (March 31, 2007)
House Church Leaders Arrested in Liaoning and Anhui Province
China Aid Association learns that on March 14, 2007 the local police in Qingyuan county, Fushun city, Liaoning province arrested a house church leader. 54-year-old Christian Ms. Gu Changrong was arrested while she was sharing her faith to Mr. Yu Mingfu who is the secretary of the Communist Party of her village. Mr. Yu called the police accusing Ms. Gu “poising Communist Party members” with Christian message. Three PSB members took away Ms. Gu. According to Ms. Gu’s relatives, Ms. Gu was sentenced to 1 year re-education through labor for “using evil cult organizations to obstruct the exercising of state laws”. None of her relatives has received any formal notice of her sentence since her arrest. She is serving her sentence at Ma San Jia Labor Camp which is internationally known for its harsh treatment and torture against thousands of imprisoned Falun Gong practioners there. Ms. Gu with her husband Mr. Jiang Senshan work in Beijing. They were visiting their hometown when the arrest happened.

CAA also learned that recently two house church leaders in Anhui province were arrested. Pastor Chen Jiaxi of Chencun village, Wuhu county was arrested in January 4, 2007 for distributing free bibles and other Christian literatures to house church members. His relative told CAA pastor Chen will be put on trial soon. His official criminal charge is “illegal business management.” He could be convicted and sentenced to up to three years impriosnment. In October 15, 2006 Pastor Chen was jailed for so-called “illegal religious gathering”. 42 days later, He was released without charge after being forced to pay 12000Yuan(US$1500). Moreover, pastor Chen Lianmin of Ma An Shan city was arrested on Febuary 23 for leading a bible study class with some high school students. He was released recently but his computer and other Christian literatures were confiscated.
For more details of Liaoning case, Ms. Gu Changrong’s daughter Ms. Jiang Xueli can be reached at +86-137-1885-8360(Beijing); Ms. Gu Changrong’s brother Mr. Gu Zhaoliang can be reached at +86-413-3492-171(H)
Issued by China Aid Association on March 31, 2007.
China Aid Association, Inc.
Tel: (267) –205-5210 Fax: (432)-686-8355
E-mail: info@ChinaAid.org Website: http://www.ChinaAid.org http://www.monitorChina.org
Contact: Bob Fu (432)689-6985 (267) 205-5210

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Member of China Democratic Party Sentenced to 3-Year Imprisonment

Posted by radiofreechina on March 29, 2007

浙江省中国民主党成员池建伟被判刑3年徒刑 (rfa.org) – translated by Google

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Cyber dissident Zhang Jianhong gets 6 years

Posted by radiofreechina on March 20, 2007

Cyber-dissident Gets 6 Years in Prison (Tech2.com)

Cyber-dissident Zhang Jianhong, who is also known by the pen-name of Li Hong, was sentenced today to six years in prison by a court in Ningbo, in the eastern province of Zhejiang, China.

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Also see this article from Reporters Without Borders
http://www.rsf.org/article.php3?id_article=21354

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Vietnam’s crackdown creates watershed

Posted by radiofreechina on March 20, 2007

By Elizabeth Kendal
World Evangelical Alliance Religious Liberty Commission (WEA RLC)
Special to ASSIST News Service

AUSTRALIA (ANS) — The Vietnam government’s crackdown against human rights and democracy advocates (many of whom are Christians acting upon their religious beliefs) is not hidden nor is it subtle. It is bold, challenging and hugely significant. It creates a watershed, especially for the US. Through a wave of harassments, arrests and criminal charges against human rights and democracy advocates engaged in peaceful and perfectly legal activities, Vietnam is openly showing its hand and waiting to see if anyone will challenge, or if everyone will fold.

CONGRESSMEN SPEAK OUT
Several US Congressmen, including Chris Smith, Frank Wolf, Ed Royce and Dana Rohrabacher, are speaking out against the crackdown. Congressman Chris Smith (R-NJ) has introduced a resolution condemning the recent arrests and calling for the immediate and unconditional release of dissidents. According to Voice of America (VOA), “The measure warns that ongoing harassment, detentions and arrests will harm the broadening of ties with the U.S., and result in Vietnam being put back on a list of Countries of Particular Concern (CPC) for severe and ongoing violations of religious freedom.” (Link 1)

Congressman Smith told a press conference, “‘I have been to Vietnam and met with Father Ly, Nguyen Van Dai and over 60 other dissidents. These are smart, talented and kind people — some of Vietnam’s best and brightest. They harbor no malice toward the government. They only want a better future for their country. These individuals are the Vaclav Havels of Vietnam. Their i ncarcerations — under a bogus Soviet-era article — are meant to harass, intimidate and keep them from bringing about peaceful change. Their arrests cannot and should not stand,’ Smith said.

“Smith also noted that the State Department’s removal of Vietnam’s Country of Particular Concern (CPC) designation is not permanent. ‘The U.S. should consider reinstating Vietnam’s CPC designation in light of the regime’s recent actions. Nothing precludes us from putting them back on that list. We can and should put them back on tomorrow if the regime does not take immediate action to improve human rights conditions in Vietnam,’ said Smith.” (Link 2)

If the US State Department does not respond to Vietnam’s overt repression of faith-motivated human rights and democracy advocates, then the US State Department will be giving tacit endorsement to a false and unsustainable dichotomy whereby freedom to believe is separated from freedom to exercise/act upon that belief. This would seriously undermine everything the US administration has been working towards over the past decade with regards to promotion of religious liberty in the world.

UPDATE ON NGUYEN VAN DAI

Lawyer Dai, his female associate Le thi Cong Nhan, and Catholic priest Father Nguyen Van Ly are charged with violating Article 88 of the Criminal Code by “propagandising against the Socialist Republic of Vietnam”. According to sources, one of the accusations levelled against Nguyen van Dai is that he has “consorted with certain extremist elements to gather what is called ‘evidence that Vietnam suppresses religion’ to distribute to enemy forces and to reactionaries residing abroad”.

Two days before his 6 March arrest Nguyen van Dai spoke to an FNA (Free News Agency) reporter in Hanoi. (Link 3)

FNA reports that not only was Lawyer Dai’s law office and home raided by police but on 28 February, in response to police pressure, the Business Registration Office of Hanoi’s Planning and Investment Bureau cancelled the permit of TNHH Translation and Legal Consultat ion Firm of which Mr Nguyen Van Dai is a co-founder and the executive director.

Lawyer Dai told FNA that his activities as a lawyer include providing legal assistance to the majority of the country’s human rights and democracy activists. As such his work has angered the Communist authorities who have responded by placing him under close surveillance, summonsing him frequently for interrogation, monitoring and even cutting his phone lines.

When asked about the charge of violating Article 88 of the Criminal Code, Dai responded by saying that under Vietnam’s Constitution citizens had the legal right to access, store and study information. Only documents that oppose the legislative, executive and judiciary branches of government by instigating violent and illegal armed action would be considered to be in violation of the law. Nguyen van Dai, who is a member of Advocates International and Advocates Asia, is convinced he has not stepped outside the bounds of the law.

Lawyer Dai told the FNA that as long as Vietnam did not have freedom or democracy then he would use his legal profession to defend religious and pro-democracy activists. “It seems that the Communist authorities are doing their best to train and turn me into a professional political activist,” says Dai. “They do not want me to operate as a lawyer specialised in human rights and religious freedom.

“Should the Communist authorities illegally take away my right to do business and to practice my profession, I would still have a range of options to consider, but it would appear that everybody including the Communists is wishing to see me become a politician mobilising the masses and directly struggling for the democratisation of Vietnam. Deep down, I have always wanted to just be a human rights lawyer, but historical circumstances seem to be steering me in another direction. I still have time to pray to God for his guidance in my final decision. Whatever my action I always wish to be encouraged and supported by the people inside the country, compatriots living overseas and the international community. The Vietnamese people’s struggle for freedom and democracy is far from over and will still encounter many difficulties. However, as the path of truth and righteousness, it will receive the undivided support of the people and the support from the international community and will undoubtedly meet with success.”

On 13 March the state-run Vietnam News Agency (VNA) reported that Nguyen van Dai and Le thi Cong Nhan’s names had been removed from the Ha Noi Bar Association and accordingly the Thien An Lawyers’ Office was no longer eligible to operate. VNA claims that initial investigations have shown “that since 2004, Nguyen Van Dai took advantage of the State’s permission to establish the Thien An Lawyers’ Office and the Viet Luat [Translation and Legal Consultation] company to spread propaganda, lure forces and collude with political opportunists as well as hostile forces at home and abroad which oppose the State. Their acts run counter to the interests of the nation and people.” (Link 4)

It has bee n confirmed that Nguyen van Dai is on a hunger strike.

Elizabeth Kendal WEA RLC
rl-research@crossnet.org.au

Links

1) US Lawmakers Warn Vietnam on Crackdown on Dissidents
By Dan Robinson, Capitol Hill. 14 March 2007
http://www.voanews.com/english/2007-03-14-voa91.cfm

2) Smith Calls on Vietnamese Government to Immediately Release Political Prisoners
http://www.prnewswire.com/cgi-bin/stories.pl?ACCT=ind_focus.story&STORY=/www/story/03-14-2007/0004546430&EDATE=WED+Mar+14+2007,+04:51+PM.

3) Vietnam’s communist authorities’ desperate repressive measures against attorney Nguyen Van Dai. 5 March 2007
http://ykien.net/blog/?p=686 (in three languages)

4) Two lawyers’ names erased from Bar Association. 13 March 2007
http://english.vietnamnet.vn/politics/2007/03/672366/

SEE ALSO
Vietnam uncovers democracy ‘plot’. Hanoi (dpa)
http://www.bangkokpost.com/breaking_news/breakingnews.php?id=117327

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Wife of a Chinese House Church Leader Sentenced to Ten Days Detention

Posted by radiofreechina on March 20, 2007

By Michael Ireland
Chief Correspondent, ASSIST News Service

MIDLAND, TEXAS / HENAN PROVINCE, CHINA (ANS) —
The wife of a senior House Church leader was sentenced to ten days administrative detention in the Henan Province of China.

According to China Aid Association, on March 19, 2007 at 1 PM (Beijing Time), 50-year-old Ms. Li Huage was arrested and sentenced to ten days for allegedly “disturbing public order.”

Ms. Li Huage
CAA says that when the arrest occurred, Ms. Li was in the Wancheng District PSB office seeking the return of her cell phone, computer, and Bibles which were illegally confiscated on March 6 from her home. She is now detained in Ying An Lu Detention Center, Wancheng district, Nanyang city, Henan province. Her husband, pastor Dong Quanyu was released March 16 after serving a ten day sentence for an “illegal religious gathering.”

“Ms. Li was beaten heavily by the PSB officers on March 16 outside the detention center before she met with her released husband,” CAA says in a report obtained by ANS.

“Pastor Dong is the Vice-President of the Chinese House Church Alliance. Along with some Chinese House Church leaders and three South Korean Pastors, Dong and his wife Ms. Li were hosting a Bible study at their home in Wancheng District, Nanyang city, Henan province on March 6, 2007.

“They were raided and taken to the police station for interrogation. The PSB officers also searched the house and took away personal properties including cell phones, a computer, and Christian books without giving any receipt as required by law. Most of the pastors were released the following day after intensive international pressure.”

You may contact the PSB office of Nanyang City at the following numbers to show your concern:

Police Special Squad Director Mr. Chang Keying

+86-13837767278 (cell phone)

Deputy PSB Director Mr. Lu (on religious affairs)

+86-13603778696 (cell phone)

PSB office Tel: +86-377-63311110

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Yu Ling wants Yahoo brought to justice for betraying her husband

Posted by radiofreechina on March 20, 2007

‘Yahoo Betrayed My Husband’ (Wired.com)

FAIRFAX, Virginia — Early one Sunday morning in 2002, a phone rings in Yu Ling’s Beijing duplex.
She’s cleaning upstairs; her son is asleep, while downstairs, her husband, Wang Xiaoning, is on the computer. Wang writes about politics, anonymously e-mailing his online e-journals to a group of Yahoo users. He’s been having problems with his Yahoo service recently. He thinks it’s a technical issue. This is the day he learns he’s wrong.

“Yahoo betrayed my husband and deprived him of freedom,” Yu says through a translator, her voice trembling. “Yahoo must learn its lesson.”

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Thanks to Ninth Life for tip on this article as well as this one on Yahoo’s Flicka:
Yahoo’s Flickr Exposed: Porn To Kids For Profit

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Pro-democracy march held in Hong Kong

Posted by radiofreechina on March 19, 2007

Civil Human Rights Front

Marchers seek democracy in HK (ChinaPost.com.tw)

Pro-democracy groups marched through Hong Kong on Sunday to protest an upcoming election that they say is not democratic enough.

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Boxom News slams Yahoo and Google

Posted by radiofreechina on March 17, 2007

Big Internet Companies still Act Evil? (Boxum News)

The most prominent activist ¨C Dr. Gao Yaojie is visiting the USA to receive an award from Vital Voice in DC. But her email account from Yahoo was “closed”, email sent to Dr. Gao by Boxun editor was returned as “the account does not exist”. Dr. Gao said she could not login to her account in an interview by RFA.

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Senior Church Leader Released after Detention; Jailed Christian Appeal for Re-trial

Posted by radiofreechina on March 17, 2007

中文

Pastor Dong Quanyu
http://www.ChinaAid.org
Midland, Texas (March 16, 2007)
CAA has learned a senior House Church leader was released after serving ten days administrative detention. Pastor Dong Quanyu was released from the Wancheng Detention Center, Nanyangcity, Henan province at 9pm on March 16, 2007(Beijing time). He was detained along with 33 other House church leaders and three pastors from South Korea while they were having a Bible study together on March 6. After intensive international pressure the local police released 33 arrested house church leaders and three leaders from South Korea on March 7. One leader pastor Dong Quanyu was sentenced to 10 days administrative detention for “illegal gathering”. Pastor Dong is the vice-President of Chinese House Church Alliance. The authority refused to issue any official paper for his detention and release. Pastor Dong asks China Aid to thank the effort of all of the brothers and sisters from the international community. According to interviews with some released pastors, the interrogators have been receiving phone calls from all over the world after China Aid released its press release regarding the arrest.
CAA also learned that Beijing house church activist Hua Huiqi’s 77-year-old mother, Ms. Shuang Shuying filed her formal appeal to Beijing No. 2 Intermediate People’s Court for re-trial. She 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. Ms. Shuang was accused of using her cane destroying the hood of the Police Sonata sedan and the Jinque numerically controlled touch-screen. On February 7 when Ms. Shuang went to Chongwen District government building seeking the whereabout of his arrested son pastor Hua Huiqi, a police car tried to run over her and she used her cane to protect herself and then she was forcefully put into a reception room by a group of PSB officers. During the struggle, her cane hit the police car and the touch-screen. Then without allowing anytime cross-examining the evidence the prosecutors brought against Ms. Shuang, the court of first trial rushed to a verdict on the first work day after the Chinese New Year holiday. It is believed that by arresting pastor Hua and holding his mother for two years in prison until then end of 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics, the Beijing authority intends to clean up the “trouble makers”. Both pastor Hua and his mother have been very active in defending the persecuted Christians and other socially oppressed groups in China.
According to the appeal paper (click here for full text
http://www.chinaaid.org/english_site/press_release_detail.php?id=1723 ), Ms. Shuang Shuying does not accept the criminal verdict of intentional destruction of properties issued by Chongwen District People’s Court of Beijing Municipality on February 26, 2007 and “The verdict by the first court is not based on facts and legal grounds and therefore the conviction is wrong and the penalty is inappropriate. Therefore, the petitioner requests that the court of appeal repeal the verdict by the court of first trial and rule the petitioner not guilty handling the case with humanitarian concerns.
”.

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 March 16, 2007

China Aid Association, Inc.
Tel: (267) -205-5210
Fax: (432)-686-8355
E-mail: info@ChinaAid.org
Website: http://www.chinaaid.org/ http://www.monitorchina.org/
Contact: Bob Fu (267) 205-5210

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Email Accounts of Gao Yaojie and Her Son Shut Down; Illegal Blood Trade Continues in China

Posted by radiofreechina on March 15, 2007

高耀洁在华盛顿:电邮被封,中国非法血库仍在运作 (rfa.org) – translated by google

Washington, the capital of the United States is preparing to attend a presentation ceremony, the Chinese provinces such as Henan, "Ai first civil resistance" Gao doctors in 1 disclosed at a press conference on the 4th, her e-mail has now been closed. Now in illegal blood in blood banks in China are still underground, sold their blood.

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