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Human Rights and Religious Freedom News

Archive for September, 2007

In China 190 children are snatched every day

Posted by radiofreechina on September 27, 2007

Has anyone seen our child? (

In China, 190 children are snatched every day – more than twice the number taken in England and Wales in a year. The Chinese government does not acknowledge the extent of the problem, or the cause. The Single Child Policy has made it essential to have a son, leading to the abortion of more than 40 million girls and setting the price on a boy’s head at more than six months’ wages.

…around 40m girls have been selectively aborted since the One Child Policy was instituted in 1979), how can you be sure to get a son? Sometimes the only choice seems to be to buy a stolen child, gender already determined.


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Top Chinese Attorney Kidnapped Following Letter to U.S. Congress

Posted by radiofreechina on September 25, 2007

Gao Zhisheng

NEW YORK – Gao Zhisheng, one of China’s most prominent human rights lawyers, was seen being taken away by secret police from his Beijing home on Sunday according to eye-witnesses. Gao had broken China’s biggest taboo by publicly calling for an end to the persecution of Falun Gong.

The apparent kidnapping came less than 48 hours after Gao published an open letter to the United States Congress. The letter called on the U.S. to boycott the Olympics over the Communist Party’s ongoing campaign against the Falun Gong.

“The eight-year long suppression of Falun Gong is so far the most long-lasting and the most serious human disaster in China and in the world,” Gao, a Christian, wrote, adding that he has published the findings of his investigation of secret torture chambers (

Gao wrote that he longs to see the Olympics in Beijing. “But when I think about Chinese society’s current environment and how the Olympic Games will be used here, my conscience and sense of justice make my heart ache.”

The letter came the day after an international press conference about him was held in Washington DC’s Rayburn House Office Building. Speakers at the Thursday press event included Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), former Canadian Secretary of State (Asia-Pacific) David Kilgour, and European Union Vice-President Edward McMillan-Scott.

“There are few in the world who are more acutely aware of Beijing’s severe shortcomings in the area of human rights than the famed human rights lawyer and Nobel Peace Prize nominee, Mr. Gao Zhisheng,” said Congresswoman Ros-Lehtinen.

Gao’s New Book

Gao’s abduction also comes just as his new book, A China More Just, has been published in English. The book includes his investigative findings and exposes a wide range of torture methods that the Chinese Communist Party has been using on the Falun Gong. (torture methods)

The book also tells his remarkable personal story of growing up in a poor rural family and eventually becoming one of China’s top lawyers, why he quit the Communist Party after originally trusting the system, the persecution he and his family have faced, and his faith-inspired courage to risk his life seeking justice for a broad range of oppressed Chinese groups.

For more about the book, see:

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US Religion Report Faults Iraq, China But Commends Vietnam and Saudi Arabia

Posted by radiofreechina on September 17, 2007

By Dan Wooding
Founder of ASSIST Ministries

WASHINGTON, DC (ANS) — A U.S. State Department report released on Friday (September 14, 2007) has said that political violence in Iraq has significantly impaired religious freedom there. But the annual world-wide survey cited improvements in conditions for religious adherents in, among other places, Saudi Arabia and Vietnam.

This was revealed in a story filed from the State Department by Voice of America’s David Gollus.
In it Gollust said, “The annual report, which this year covered 198 countries and territories, is required under an act of Congress, and countries found to be significant violators of religious freedom are subject to U.S. sanctions.”

His VOA story went on to state that Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice had said religious liberty is deeply rooted in American history and integral to U.S. efforts to combat what she said is the ideology of hatred and religious intolerance that fuels global terrorism.

“This past Tuesday was the sixth anniversary of the September 11th attacks,” said Rice. “As we reflect on the tragedy of that day, we are reminded of the true importance of this report and we reaffirm our commitment to help us shed light on all countries where citizens are subjected to government censorship, hate crimes discrimination and violence for their thoughts and beliefs.”

U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for Religious Freedom John Hanford said the past year saw progress against religion-based discrimination in a diverse list of countries including Vietnam, Saudi Arabia, Turkmenistan, Bangladesh and India.

But he said half the world’s population continues to live under persecution or serious restrictions of religious freedom in many countries, among them Iran, Eritrea, Burma and China.

Gollust then said that the report says conditions deteriorated sharply in Iraq though Hanford said that was not due to government policy but rather insurgency-related violence targeting all faiths but especially religious minorities.

“For the most part people are getting caught in the cross-fire in the case of these minorities, though there have been cases where it’s clear certain groups have been targeted,” said Hanford. “The real problem that we’re dealing with is that with the sectarian violence, not necessarily focused upon religious practice, that at the same time religious practice winds up being affected.”

Hanford stressed continued progress in expanding religious freedom in Vietnam, which last year was taken off the State Department list of “Countries of Particular Concern” because of strides made in several areas, including the official recognition of once-banned Protestant congregations.

The U.S. envoy said the Saudi Arabian government, which officially recognizes only the Wahabi branch of Sunni Islam, has undertaken to curb incitement against other faiths and allows at least private observances of non-sanctioned religions.

“This has to do with, for example, reining-in the Mutaween, the religious police, from raiding religious gatherings,” said Hanford. “To a large extent the government has been successful in stopping this practice.”

“The government has guaranteed the right to private worship for people of minority faiths, and on any given week, you’ve got an enormous number of Christians and Jews and Hindus and Buddhists who are meeting and freely practicing in homes and places like that, without harassment. This is an improvement,” he added.

Gollust added, “The report says despite senior-level U.S. appeals, China continued to repress Christians, Tibetan Buddhists, Uighur Muslims and the Falon Gong spiritual group.”

Ambassador Hanford said foreign religious activists have also been denied visas or expelled from China in what could be a crackdown related to the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

“The fear of many is that the government is wanting these Westerners out of the country, that their goal is to crack down on any chance that there might be protests in the run-up to the Olympics,” said Hanford. “And our hope is that the government will take the opportunity of the Olympics, and the worldwide spotlight that will be shown, to respect religious citizens and their practice rather than to repress it.”

Gollust’s story concluded, “Eight countries – China, Burma, North Korea, Iran, Sudan, Eritrea, Saudi Arabia and Uzbekistan – were designated as ‘Countries of Particular Concern’ by Secretary Rice late last year.

“A revised list is expected to be issued in November based on the new report. The delay is intended to give countries facing the designation and possible U.S. sanctions an opportunity to undertake reforms.”

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China’s one child policy and the 23 sewing needles found in woman’s head

Posted by radiofreechina on September 15, 2007

China’s one-child policy: doctors discover 23 sewing needles in womans head (The Independent)

Luo Cuifen knew something was wrong when she went to the doctor after finding blood in her urine, but nothing could have prepared her for the discovery of 23 sewing needles, which doctors believe were stuck deep into her as a baby by her grandparents….

There are 37 million more men than women in China, the most unbalanced gender ratio in the world. This skewed ratio has worsened since China introduced the one-child policy 30 years ago to curb population growth, making abortion a widely used method of familyplanning, and sometimes infanticide. The government reckons it has prevented 400 million births.



Chinese woman has 26 needles in body – Los Angeles Times

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Having more than one child in China will hurt your credit record

Posted by radiofreechina on September 14, 2007

China cracks down on one-child violators (AP via Yahoo)

BEIJING – Urban Chinese who have more than one child will get a black mark on their credit record, the government said, in a scheme that appeared to target newly rich couples undeterred by fines from having extra children.


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Chinese Couple Sues Communist Government for Forced Abortion

Posted by radiofreechina on September 13, 2007

By Hilary White

September 13, 2007 ( – A Chinese couple is suing the communist government of China for a forced ninth-month abortion. Under the provisions of the one-child policy, Chinese citizens are required to obtain a license to have a first child. Conceiving a child before marriage is an offence. A young couple, Yang Zhongchen and his wife Jin Yani, had to wait until Jin was the minimum age of 20 before being married. This meant that their first child, a girl, was illegal.

Attempts to bribe local “family planning” officials failed and while Yang was out of town, Jin was abducted on September 7 by local officials a few weeks before her due date.

Jin described the incident in which she was taken to a local clinic and her clothes stripped from her. Doctors “pushed a large syringe into my stomach. It was very painful. It was all very rough.” Doctors then pulled the dead baby from her body with forceps.

While forced abortion is technically illegal in China, it is known that officials, faced with quotas, frequently succumb to what is usually described as “over-zealousness” in enforcing the official one-child policy. Yang and Jin are suing for $38,000 in medical expenses and $130,000 for psychological distress.

“They can’t really compensate for all that we have suffered,” Jin told local media. “Our baby will never come back … we just hope this kind of thing will never happen again.”

The couple’s previous attempt at redress in the courts failed. The judges ruled they had broken the law by conceiving out of wedlock. Local family planning officials claimed Jin had consented to the abortion. The couple is appealing the decision.

Even while China continues to be courted by governments and international business interests for its thriving economy, the government is determined to keep domestic opposition to its population control policies under wraps.

Chen Guangcheng, a blind, self-taught lawyer, has been imprisoned on fabricated charges to keep his campaign against the policy out of the international media eye. His activism placed him at the forefront of a growing civil rights movement against the one-child policy and forced abortion.

Guangcheng caught the attention of international media and was placed under house arrest from September 2005 to March 2006 after talking to Time magazine. Authorities arrested him in June 2006 for destruction of property and assembling a crowd to disrupt traffic.

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Wall Street cashes in on China’s growing surveillance system

Posted by radiofreechina on September 13, 2007

An opportunity for Wall street in China’s surveillance boom (

SHENZHEN, China: Li Runsen, the powerful technology director of China’s ministry of public security, is best known for leading Project Golden Shield, China’s intensive effort to strengthen police control over the Internet.

Wall Street analysts now follow the growth of companies that install surveillance systems providing Chinese police stations with 24-hour video feeds from nearby Internet cafes. Hedge fund money from the United States has paid for the development of not just better video cameras, but face-recognition software and even newer behavior-recognition software designed to spot the beginnings of a street protest and notify police.


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Big holes in China’s firewall

Posted by radiofreechina on September 13, 2007

Chinese web filtering ‘erratic’ (BBC NEWS)

China’s firewall that tries to sanitise web browsing is much more porous than previously thought, says a study….

Blocked were terms related to the Falun Gong movement, Tiananmen Square protest groups, Nazi Germany and democracy.


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Mystery surrounds the death and quick cremation of Msgr. Han Dingxian, underground bishop of Yongnian

Posted by radiofreechina on September 13, 2007

By Dan Wooding
Founder of ASSIST Ministries

Msgr. Han Dingxian at work in his office

YONGNIAN, CHINA (ANS) — Mystery surrounds the death of Msgr. Giovanni Han Dingxian, the underground Chinese bishop of Yongnian, who died Sunday, September 9.

“For some his case recalls that of other bishops tortured in prison; who died and were hurriedly buried. For others the police behaviour explains their concerns to avoid visible gatherings,” said a story from AsiaNews (

The story said that “discontent and sorrow over the way in which his body was treated is also widespread.”

AsiaNews report that a few hours after his death (at 11 at night), his body was immediately cremated and buried in a public cemetery in the early morning, thus denying the faithful and priests the possibility of being able to bless him and bid him a final farewell.

“For some this is a sign that the police ‘feared his death and aimed to cover up proof’; for others it is only a sign of the police wish to avoid all visible forms of Underground Churches public ceremony,” the story continued.

A statement from the diocese of Yongnian has no note of controversy regarding the death of the bishop. It underlines that Msgr. Han had spent 35 years of his life in prison and asks all of the faithful to pray for him, described as “a model of faith and of pastoral guidance” for all of the Church.

One “faithful” member from Hebei, a northern province of the People’s Republic of China, explained that he viewed the speed with which the police cremated and buried the body as a sign of their concern to avoid all visible Underground Church gatherings or ceremonies, which would have forced police intervention, (being illegal).

Other Catholics admit that “the bishop was ill with cancer” but they wonder: “why did they immediately cremate the body?”

They recall many similar cases: above all the plight of Msgr. Giovanni Gao Kexian, underground bishop of Yantai (Shandong), who died on the evening of January 24th 2005 in a hospital in Bingzhou (Shandong). The bishop had been a police prisoner for over five years. The day after he was immediately cremated and buried in the presence of some police. As in the case of Msgr. Han no faithful or family members were allowed participate. Bishop Gao too died without any religious comfort, blessing or Psalm.

AsiaNews goes on to say, “Years before, in April ’92, there was the case of Msgr. Giuseppe Fan Xueyan, Underground bishop of Baoding, who died in prison. His body was dumped on the doorstep of his home, wrapped in a plastic bag, with signs of torture on his neck (perhaps the mark of a wire string used to choke him) and bruises on his chest and face.

“Another case remembered by the Catholics is that of Msgr. Liu Difen, Underground bishop of Anguo (Hebei), who also died in ’92, after a period spent in prison. The police had warned his relatives to visit him in hospital because he was ‘gravely ill’. Immediately after the visit the bishop died. His body was handed back to his family and as they prepared him for burial they noticed that he had ‘holes in his back, the depth of a finger: a sign that he had been tortured'”.

China has often been criticized by the international community for the police use of torture. Manfred Nowak, chief UN investigator for torture confirmed in his 2006 report that the use of torture “is widespread in China”. He also demanded the immediate release of all those who are in prison for having exercised the right to practice their religious beliefs or freedom of expression”.

The story concluded, “In China there are also laws which prohibit torture, but all too often they remain only words on paper. In 2004 the Minister for Public Security published a regulation that puts responsibility for the death of detained persons at the door of the police force.”

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Underground Catholic bishop in China dies in custody and is hurriedly cremated without ceremony

Posted by radiofreechina on September 12, 2007

Catholic’s doubts on the death of Msgr. Han Dingxian, underground bishop of Yongnian (

Rome (AsiaNews) – Prayers among the Chinese Catholics of Hebei are spreading for the death of Msgr. Giovanni Han Dingxian, underground bishop of Yongnian, who died September 9 last. But discontent and sorrow over the way in which his body was treated is also widespread. Few hours after his death (at 11 at night) in the early morning, his body was immediately cremated and buried in a public cemetery, thus denying the faithful and priests the possibility of being able to bless him and bid him a final farewell.



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