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Human Rights and Religious Freedom News

Archive for April, 2008

46 Christians Arrested in Kashi, Xinjiang ; 2 detained for 15 days

Posted by radiofreechina on April 17, 2008

Xinjiang- CAA has learned that Chinese Government officials has launched a strategic campaign against House Church Members in Xinjiang Autonomous Region, entitled “Anti-illegal Christian Activities Campaign”. In a specific incidence, on Sunday April 13, 2008, 46 Christians were arrested in Shache County, Kashi City, Xinjiang. 46 House Church Christians were holding Bible class and worship in the home of Mr. Ding Zhichun, when Public Security Officials intruded into Ding’s home and arrested all of them.  44 Christians were released after the trial day, following a 50 Yuan deposit to the PSB by family members. The Christians were mandated to confess their illegal Sunday worship activities and study the Government’s handbook on Religious Policy. They were also required to return and recite the policy to officials within one week. The other two were sentenced to detention. The two Christians sentenced to 15 days of administrative detention are:  Mr. Ding Zhichun (40 years old) and Ms. Ma Wenxiu (42 years old). Both are being held in Shache County detention center, Kashi City.
The recent campaign in Xianjiang is similar to the ongoing campaign the Government has established in Tibet, where Buddhist Monks are being forced to swear their allegiance to the Government’s established Religious Policy and denounce the Dalai Lama.
To express your concern please contact:
Chinese Embassy in Washington DC
Address: 2201 Wisconsin Avenue, N.W.,
Washington D.C. 20007
Tel: (202) 338-6688, (202)5889760
Fax: (202) 588-9760
Issued by CAA April 17, 2008

China Aid Association, Inc.
Tel: (267) -205-5210
Fax: (432)-686-8355
Contact: Daniel Burton (432)-689-6985

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U.S. Watchdog on Religious Freedom Urges China Not to Repatriate North Koreans

Posted by radiofreechina on April 17, 2008

By Jeremy ReynaldsCorrespondent for ASSIST News Service

WASHINGTON (ANS) A U.S. watchdog on religious freedom urged China on Tuesday to stop repatriating refugees to North Korea, where it said returning asylum seekers are often tortured in an effort to suppress Christianity.

Writing for Reuters News Service, David Morgan reported the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom said in a 49-page report that North Korea employs stringent security measures to stop the spread of religion, especially Protestant Christianity.

Some of the worst treatment is handed out to refugees sent back to North Korea from China, Reuters reported the commission said.

“The forcible repatriation of refugees from China remains an issue of special concern,” said its report on North Korea, titled “A Prison Without Bars.”

Reuters said the report continued, “If it is discovered that (refugees) have either converted to Christianity while in China or had contact with South Koreans — both of which are considered to be political offenses — they reportedly suffer harsh interrogation, torture and ill-treatment.”

Refugees can also be sent to forced labor camps and prisons, often without trial, the report said.

Reuters reported the commission called on the international community to pressure Beijing to stop repatriating refugees, and provide increased protections as required by international protocols.

“Such action should begin immediately as China prepares to host the 2008 Summer Olympics,” the report said.

Hundreds of thousands of people are believed to have fled North Korea in the 1990’s, during a famine that killed at least 1 million people in a country of 23 million, Reuters reported aid agencies say.

Reuters reported that the U.S. government estimates there are 30,000 to 40,000 North Korean refugees still living in China, according to the commission. But the panel said humanitarian aid agencies believe the number remains near the 100,000 range.

Reuters said that China typically views asylum seekers as economic refugees and returns them to North Korea, which has long had a poor human rights record.

U.S. findings, based on interviews with 32 refugees and six former North Korean security agents, said many returning refugees are tortured to determine why they left the country.

Reuters said that according to the commission, Pyongyang views new religious activity as a security threat in a country dominated by the personality cult that surrounds North Korean leader Kim Jong Il and his family.

North Korean security agents especially target those thought to have visited Chinese churches for food aid or other forms of assistance.

Reuters reported that former North Korean security agents told the commission that authorities set up bogus prayer meetings to entrap new converts in North Korea, and train staff in Christian practices, for the purposes of infiltrating churches in China.

“There continues to be a pressing need on the international level for further, more effective action that addresses the ongoing repression of religious freedom and other human rights in North Korea and the problems of North Korean refugees in China,” said Commission Chairman Michael Cromartie.

At the report’s launching, the AFP News Service reported Republican Senator Sam Brownback charged that Beijing’s continued repatriation of North Korean refugees, despite reports about their victimization on their return, “highlighted China’s role as the great enabler of human rights abuses.”

The AFP reported Brownback added, “There is a dismal record of China in Tibet; there is a dismal record of China in Darfur; there is a dismal record of China in the treatment of North Korean refugees.”

Brownback called on China to stop the “abuses,” the AFP reported.

Brownback accused China, the AFP reported, of defying its own agreement with the United Nations by refusing to give the office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees access to the North Korean refugees, who had to “face death and imprisonment” on their repatriation.

The commission responsible for the report was created by Congress in 1998. It is funded in entirety by the U.S. government. Its commissioners are appointed by Congress and the White House.

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13 House Church Leaders Detained in Sichuan Province

Posted by radiofreechina on April 4, 2008

By Dan Wooding

Founder of ASSIST Ministries

SICHUAN, CHINA (ANS) China Aid Association (CAA) says that it has learned that 13 house church leaders were detained at Qu county, Sichuan province on Sunday, March 30.

“According to an eyewitness within the church there, around 3pm on Saturday, March 29th, a house church service was attacked during their praise and worship service,” said a spokesperson for CAA. “The church is in Qu county, Dazhou city which is a six hour drive from Chengdu city, Sichuan Province.

“Seven believers were taken by a group of people who claimed to be from local religious affairs bureau, community administration and national security. Their names are Wang Qingxiu, Zhou Yanmei, Zhang Mingxiu, Luo Qinghua, Wan Huabi, Wang Zhenping, and Yan XX.

“Wan Huabi and Wang Zhenping were released after the interrogation. Around 6pm Wang Zhenping was notified by the detention center that Wang Qingxiu was there. Luo Qinghua was found in the detention center the next day.The other three sisters are also in the detention center.”

The CAA story goes on to say that on the morning of March 30th, nine sisters and four children were taken by the policemen after their Sunday school service was let out. Another sister who wa s working in the cloth market was taken at the same time. All children and two elderly believers were released after the interrogation. For the rest of them, seven are in the detention center, and one sister is missing.

According to three copies of official criminal detention notices obtained by CAA, which were issued to family members of Ms. Wan Huabi, Ms. Wang Qingxiu and Ms. Lei Shibi on March 30, 2008 by the PSB of Qu County, Sichuan province, these arrested leaders were accused of being “suspected of using evil cult to obstruct the enforcement of the law.”

Ms. Li Xianbi, 59 years old, who is the host of the Sunday worship at her house on March 30, received 5 days administrative detention for “illegal gathering for evil cult activities.”

The Rev. Bob Fu, president of CAA said, “We are deeply concerned about the welfare of these detained Christian leaders. Their arbitrary detention totally contradicts the spirit of the rule of law.

“It is another step backward toward improving the religious freedom reco rd in China as the Chinese government promised both before and after the 2008 Olympics was awarded to Beijing.”

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