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Archive for July, 2008

Olympic organizers agree that China is blocking ‘sensitive’ Internet sites

Posted by radiofreechina on July 31, 2008

Foreign reporters will not have full access to the Internet during the Games

By Michael Ireland
Chief Correspondent, ASSIST News Service
BEIJING, CHINA (ANS) — A deal with Beijing has allowed the Chinese authorities to block sensitive Internet sites, the International Olympic Committee has disclosed.

According to Jane Macartney, writing for The Times Online, journalists at the main media center in Beijing found that the BBC Chinese language site was inaccessible, as were the websites of human rights organizations such as Amnesty International and Reporters without Borders — whose welcome page at present shows the five Olympic rings replaced with interlocking handcuffs. The US broadcaster Radio Free Asia and the German radio station Deutsche Welle are also out of bounds.

The Times Online says that Kevan Gosper, the head of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) press commission, confirmed that some of its officials had agreed to Chinese demands that some sensitive sites be blocked on the ground that they were not related to the Olympics.

“I regret that it now appears Bocog [the Beijing Organising Committee] has announced there will be limitations on website access during Games time.” While the censors have allowed access to the online encyclopaedia Wikipedia, attempts to read entries about the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre were unsuccessful. Computers at the main press center displayed the message: “Impossible to display the page.”

The Times Online reported that Giselle Davies, of the IOC, said that officials had been told repeatedly by Beijing organisers that some sites would be unavailable to the 20,000 reporters covering the games. “We’re working with them to ensure the media face the minimum possible restrictions.”

According to The Times Online, Chinese organizers said that the censorship would not hamper journalists in their job of reporting on the Games. Sun Weide, a Bocog official, said that the plan had always been to provide “sufficient” internet access for foreign reporters. Sites run by the Falun Gong religious sect remain inaccessible, as do most sites with the word Tibet in their internet address.

The Times Online says: “The revelation that China’s censors had never considered relaxing internet curbs further tarnishes the image of the Games amid persistent fears of pollution and security so tight that cafés are not allowed to place tables on pavements and hotels cannot change their brand of shower gel without checks.”

The Times Online story explains: “China is clearly determined not to allow any disruption to the August 8-24 Games, and has announced a sweeping security operation in Lhasa to prevent anti-Chinese unrest. Security in the Tibetan capital has been tight, with paramilitary People’s Armed Police patrolling the streets, since a deadly riot on March 14 when Tibetans rampaged through the town setting fire to shops and attacking ethnic Han Chinese.”

President Bush Meets with China Aid’s Bob Fu in the White House

Meanwhile, five leaders advocating for human rights and religious freedom in China met with President Bush at the White House earlier this week.

Among them was Bob Fu, President of China Aid Association (CAA), who delivered “Prayer for China” wristbands to the President and encouraged him to wear them as a symbol of solidarity with the Chinese people.

China Aid says that in addition to explaining the deteriorating situation for religious freedom in China as the Olympics approach, Fu also raised the case of House Church leader Zhang Rongliang, who is serving his 7 ½ year prison sentence and Fu asked President Bush to intercede in his behalf.

CAA said that President Bush explained his desire to talk to the Chinese officials about human rights violations, and also speak with the Chinese people about the importance of religious freedom. The President promised to discuss with President Hu Jintao that the Christians in his country are peace- loving and caring people, and that he should not be afraid of them.

CAA said: “President Bush’s willingness to meet with Bob Fu and other activists despite the sensitivity and complexity of Sino-American relations is a clear showing of his commitment for basic human rights within China.

“China Aid Association is deeply thankful to President Bush for his courageous stand in the advancement of Religious freedom in China and around the world.”

China Aid Association Inaugurates FAX Advocacy Campaign

In a new campaign aimed to bring awareness of religious persecution to the business and industry sector, China Aid has also begun a fax advocacy campaign focused on holding businesses accountable for their actions in regards to corporate social responsibility.

China Aid said the initial campaign will focus on Beijing bookstore owner and house church leader, Shi Weihan.

In January of 2008, Beijing resident Shi Weihan was arrested under suspicion of printing illegal Christian material. He has been illegally held in a detention center in Beijing for more than three months without receiving formal charges or trial. Shi’s family members were prohibited from visiting him while in detention. The family was also restricted from delivering diabetes medication to Shi who has suffered seriously from the disease for some time.

In a media release, CAA explained that 1,161 foreign invested companies within Beijing will be faxed first hand accurate information concerning Shi Weihan and his case. The companies’ leaders are urged to take action as part of their corporate social responsibility contract.

These businesses include 578 American companies, 442 Japanese companies, 90 German companies, 35 French and 16 Russian owned companies.

The release stated: “It is CAA’s hope that the corporate and business centers within Beijing will respond to local authorities inquiring about the situation, encouraging them to treat Shi in a more humane manor and even call for his unconditional release.”

It adds: “As persecution continues to increase with the approach of the Beijing Olympics, it is time for the corporate and business world to stand against human rights violations and take responsibility for their community. China Aid Association will be quick and accurate to report both the action and inaction of the companies who receive word of persecutions within their areas of influence.”

China Expert Calls for Boycott of Beijing Olympics

On another front, Steven W. Mosher, well-known China expert, has called for a boycott of the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing saying that the games “will only serve to legitimize a one-party dictatorship that has a deplorable human rights record.”

“The Olympics is intended to be a celebration of the human spirit,” says Mosher.

“But the spirit of the Chinese people, not to mention the spirit of the Tibetans and other minorities, is being crushed under the weight of an oppressive regime. We should no more celebrate the Olympics in China in 2008, than we should have celebrated the Olympics in Nazi- controlled Berlin in 1936.”

In a media release, Mosher reminds the world that China’s rights record has not improved in recent years, rather, it has actually gotten worse.

“China is one of the worst violators of human rights in the world,” he explains. “Given the Chinese Communist Party bragging rights over the games makes a mockery of their meaning.”

Mosher has formed the “Beijing Boycott Coalition” to oppose the Beijing Olympics. The coalition invites activists and groups of different backgrounds to join in protesting ongoing human rights violations in China by refusing to watch the games or patronize its sponsors.

The release says that all individuals and groups concerned about human rights, whether their issue is the suppression of journalism, the persecution of religious groups, or forced abortion, are welcome to join the coalition. The Beijing Boycott Coalition reaches across ideological boundaries to include all those who care deeply about human rights and the Chinese people, and want to send a message to the Beijing regime.

For more information about the coalition, or to sign up for its e-mails, visit http://www.beijingboycottcoalition.com .

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US House Passes Olympics Related Measure Calling on China to End Human Rights Abuses

Posted by radiofreechina on July 31, 2008

Chris Smith calls one-child policy “one of the greatest continuous crimes against humanity in human history”

WASHINGTON, July 30, 2008 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Today by a vote of 419 to 1, the U.S. House approved House Resolution 1370, introduced by Congressman Howard Berman, which calls on the Government of China to end human rights abuses to ensure that the 2008 Olympic Games take place in an atmosphere honoring Olympic traditions. An amendment, addressing China’s brutally enforced one-child policy, was earlier proposed by Congressman Chris Smith (R-NJ), passed by a voice vote and was included in the final resolution passed today.

Recognizing the omission of the one-child policy in the original resolution, Rep.Smith offered the amendment in the Foreign Affairs Committee to strengthen the resolution. He stated, “My amendment seeks to bring some additional focus on the barbaric, cruel and hideous crime of China’s coercive population control program.” The Smith amendment calling on “the Government of the People’s Republic of China to abandon its coercive population control policy which includes forced abortion and involuntary sterilization,” was adopted by voice vote in the Committee.

In a statement relased today, Congressman Smith listed and thoroughly condemned the massive human rights violations of the Chinese communist regime. He stated, “For so many brave Chinese men and women, for the Tibetans, many of them Buddhist monks and nuns, for members of Falun Gong, Chinese Christians, Uighur Muslims, democracy and labor activists, and others, this has been a terrible summer not in spite of, but precisely because of the Olympic Games.”

“In recent months, the Chinese Government has been filling its jails, watching, intimidating, house arresting and warning all known dissidents,” said Smith who had his own trip to China disrupted earlier this month when several human rights lawyers were detained by the Chinese police when they attempted to meet with Smith and Rep. Frank Wolf.

“Tragically, but predictably, the Olympics have been the occasion of a massive crackdown designed to silence and put beyond reach all those Chinese whose views differ from the government line,” said Smith.

The well known pro-life congressman’s harshest words were focused on the Chinese government’s one-child policy. “China’s coercive population control program has imposed unspeakable violence, pain and humiliation on hundreds of millions of Chinese women, many of whom suffer lifelong depression as a consequence. Massively violated by the state, it is no wonder more women commit suicide in China than anywhere else in the world,” said Smith who held more than 25 hearings on human rights abuses in China as chairman of House human rights committees.

“As a direct result of the government’s one child policy, tens of millions of girls are missing today—dead due to sex selection abortions—creating a huge gender disparity. The lost girls of China is gendercide. With its heavy reliance on forced abortion, involuntary sterilization and ruinous fines for illegal children, the policy, in effect since 1979, constitutes one of the greatest continuous crimes against humanity in human history,” he said.

Smith concluded, “we need to robustly combat it (the one child policy), and impress upon the Chinese government that they must abandon their coercive population control policy.”

Congressman Mike Pence expressed strong support for Smith’s amendment during the debate and thanked him “for his strong moral leadership on this issue.” Pence stated, “In the committee we heard the most horrific stories of these so-called family planning technical service workers literally breaking into homes, dragging women in the ninth month of pregnancy off to clinics, forcing abortions on them and in one case after another, going to horrific means to ensure that the newly born child’s life had been completely snuffed out.”

Pence concluded that the passage of the resolution ensured “that here in the United States of
America the people of this country will say with one voice ‘we believe in freedom and we believe in life and we reject the policy of forced abortion in China and urge them to do likewise at this time.”

See 3 minute video of Chris Smith statement on the resolution during the committee debate:
http://www.youtube.com/user/prolifeinformation

See role call of the vote on Res. 1370
http://clerk.house.gov/evs/2008/roll539.xml

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Chinese pastor transferred to begin reeducation through labor

Posted by radiofreechina on July 24, 2008

By Michael Ireland
Chief Correspondent, ASSIST News Service
SHANGDONG PROVINCE, CHINA (ANS) — Pastor Zhang Zhongxin, of Jining City, Shandong Province, was transferred to a Shandong labor camp to begin his two years re-education through labor on July 6, 2008.

China Aid Association (CAA) says that on July 11, Zhang’s lawyer Li Fangping along with Zhang’s wife Wang Guiyun met with pastor Zhang in the Labor Camp.

CAA says that on the morning of July 14, Wang Guiyun, representing her husband, submitted an appeal to the District of People’s Court of Jining City requesting that the court of Jining City withdraw the labor camp decision.

The appeal has been submitted to the District Court and is awaiting review.

The Shandong reeducation-through-labor management committee in Jining City issued a written decision sentencing Zhang Zhongxin to two years re-education through labor on July 4, 2008.

According to China Aid, Zhang started the re-education through labor program July 4, 2008 and is scheduled to be released June 5, 2010.

CAA said: “Authorities accused him of cult participation in ‘the whole scope of the Church,’ organized ‘Sunday School’ training courses, preaching the Gospel to the northwest, Tibet and other places for missionaries, and pioneers sermons.”

The authorities also say: “Since 2005, he established the ‘Rainbow Missions Fellowship in Jining of Shandong’ and ‘Timothy Bible training school,’ training ministers and presented graduation certificates.”

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Chinese PSB officials raid church members’ homes

Posted by radiofreechina on July 22, 2008

By Michael Ireland
Chief Correspondent, ASSIST News Service
SHANGDONG PROVINCE, CHINA (ANS) — Public Security Bureau officials, along with an “anti-cult group,” on July 14, 2008 in Jining City, Shandong, investigated Lu Xiaoai, a member of pastor Zhang Zhongxin’s church. Pastor Zhang was sentenced to two years reeducation-through-labor on July 4.

China Aid Association (CAA) says the policemen seized Bibles and Christian material from Lu. At the same time, policemen in Rencheng district broke into Brother Li Dali’s home and forcibly detained Christian books and a CD-ROM.

According to CAA, police summoned another church member named Li Da, but were unable to obtain information from him due to a medical condition. Officials also investigated church member Lian Dehai. Lian was later taken to the City Public Security Bureau and was placed under criminal detention. Police then raided his home and withheld Christian material and a CD ROM.

China Aid Association urges all brothers and sisters in the Lord, to pray for pastor Zhang, and those associated with him who have been unjustly and unfairly persecuted and detained for their beliefs.

CAA calls on Chinese authorities to immediately stop the persecution of these Christians.

To voice your concern over these issues please contact:
Chinese Embassy in Washington DC
Address: 2201 Wisconsin Avenue, N.W., Washington D.C. 20007
Tel: (202) 338-6688, (202)588-9760
Fax: (202) 588-9760

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President of Chinese House Church Alliance forced to live on the streets for meeting with American Congressional Delegation

Posted by radiofreechina on July 21, 2008

By Michael Ireland
Chief Correspondent, ASSIST News Service
BEIJING, CHINA (ANS) — Pastor Bike Zhang , chairman of the Federation House Church and his wife, Xie Fenglan, were forced on July 6 to leave their home in Chaoyang District by Beijing Public Security Bureau (PSB) officials.


Pastor Bike Zhang

China Aid Association (CAA) says the couple was able to find shelter in the home of a friend, Niu Bei until officials again found the home and forced the Zhangs to leave. Zhang and his wife were forced to move into a hotel in Guo Xian town, Tongzhou District, and were allowed extended residence by the owner.

CAA reports that at 16:00 on July 14, Tongzhou PSB officials threatened the owner of the hotel to evict the couple or face incarceration. The couple then decided to find residence in Changping, but were stopped by police officials while on their way and taken to the Town Government office. Police proceeded to interrogate the couple rotating them on a one-on-one basis without food, drink, or rest. At 6:00 am Xie Fenglan collapsed due to the stress of the torture but was not taken to the hospital until 11:00am.

In its report, CAA says the couple was released from the government office and stopped at a local hotel on their way out of town. While local police officials again drove the couple out of the hotel and forced them to leave.

CAA also recounts that after a short while of living in Tongzhou, the couple were again accosted by local police and forced to move. Zhang begged the PSB officials to allow his sick wife to stay in the location and rest overnight. The officials rejected this plea and forced Zhang to send his wife to her sister’s residence in Sanhe, Hebei for recovery, while Zhang found residence in a local hotel.

CAA said that on July 16, while going out to buy medicine for his wife, local police officials followed Zhang and forced his wife to move out from her sister’s home.

Both Zhang and his wife are now forced to live on the streets and are not able to find shelter. When asked why the couple was being expelled from Beijing, officials responded, “Because Bike Zhang met the Americans, and destroyed the harmony of the Beijing Olympic Games.”

CAA commented: “This egregious treatment of one of China’s most respected and well-loved house church leaders is a shocking and outright violation of basic human rights and rule of law. The Chinese Government has shown neither remorse nor discretion in violating UN and international mandates to grant citizens basic human liberties such as shelter and protection.

“The acts against Pastor Bike Zhang and his wife are unjust and unlawful. This type of behavior exhibited by the CPC is reflective of a dictatorship with no regard for the wellbeing of its citizens and not a world leader worthy of the honor of hosting the Olympic Games. We urge the international community and those concerned to voice their objection of these acts to the Chinese Government.”

To voice your concern, please contact:
Chinese Embassy in Washington DC
Address: 2201 Wisconsin Avenue, N.W., Washington D.C. 20007
Tel: (202) 338-6688, (202) 588-9760
Fax: (202) 588-9760
Attn: Chinese Ambassador to the US, Mr. Zhou Wenzhong

——————————————————————————–

China Aid Association, Inc.
Tel: (267) -205-5210
Fax: (432)-686-8355
E-mail: info@ChinaAid.org
Websites: http://www.chinaaid.org ;
http://www.monitorchina.org
Contact: Daniel Burton (432)-689-6985

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Pastor Zhang Zhongxin sentenced to two years Re-education Through Labor by Shandong Officials

Posted by radiofreechina on July 10, 2008

By Michael Ireland
Chief Correspondent, ASSIST News Service
SHANDONG, CHINA (ANS) — The Shandong reeducation-through-labor management committee in Jining City issued a written decision sentencing Zhang Zhongxin to two years re-education through labor on July 4, 2008.

According to China Aid Association (CAA), Zhang started the re-education through labor program July 4, 2008 and is scheduled to be released June 5, 2010.

CAA also says the committee statement declared that Zhang may appeal within 60 days. Pastor Zhang has applied for legal aid, and is hoping to hire defense lawyers. Zhang’s wife Wang Gui-Yun will coordinate the hiring of legal defense for her husband.

CAA said: “Authorities accused him of cult participation in ‘the whole scope of the Church,’ organized ‘Sunday School’ training courses, preaching the Gospel to the northwest, Tibet and other places for missionaries, and pioneers sermons.”

The authorities also say: “Since 2005, he established the ‘Rainbow Missions Fellowship in Jining of Shandong’ and ‘Timothy Bible training school,’ training ministers and presented graduation certificates.”

After Pastor Zhang received the written decision, he appealed the Court hearing the same day. He was notified by authorities at 11:00AM on August 14, 2008 that he will have an appeal hearing in Jiaxiang County Detention Center, CAA stated.

CAA said the following officials will reappear in court during Pastor Zhang’s hearing: Kong Liang, Jining City Public Security Bureau, the rule of law, civilian police; Li Zhijian, deputy director of Section officer. China Aid Association urges all brothers and sisters in the Lord, to pray for pastor Zhang.

In a media release, CAA also said: “Meanwhile we call on Chinese authorities to immediately stop the persecution of Christians.”

To voice your concern over these issues please contact:

Chinese Embassy in Washington DC
2201 Wisconsin Avenue, N.W.
Washington D.C. 20007
Tel: (202) 338-6688, (202) 588-9760
Fax: (202) 588-9760

You may also write to Pastor Zhang Zhongxin at his home address which is:
Qingkou Village, Jintun Town, Jiaxiang County, Shandong Province.

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Heilongjiang House Church persecuted in coordinated effort by Chinese Federal Agencies

Posted by radiofreechina on July 8, 2008

By Michael Ireland
Chief Correspondent, ASSIST News Service
HEILONGJIANG, CHINA (ANS) — On July 2, 2008, house church member, Jiao Chunbao, was detained in Hegang city, Heilongjiang Province.

According to China Aid Association, (CAA), Jiao, who is also a house church missionary, was on his way to a worship service when he was intercepted by more than 20 government officers and policemen.

CAA says the officials then forcibly escorted Jiao to the local police station.

“Jiao was told that his Church was banned from meeting, and threatened that if meetings continued he would be re- arrested and placed in detention,” CAA says in a media alert.

CAA added: “Two female church members were also taken to the police station and questioned. This instance of house church persecution was carried out in joint effort by local government officials, Bureau of Religious Affairs, the Christian ‘two associations’ and the local police station.

“The incident is yet another example of the degeneration in human rights and religious freedoms in China as the Beijing Olympic Games draw near,” CAA said.

To voice your concern over these issues 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

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House Church in Baiyin, Gansu Province raided; Five people placed under Administrative Detention

Posted by radiofreechina on July 1, 2008

By Michael Ireland
Chief Correspondent, ASSIST News Service
GANSU, CHINA (ANS) — Several police officials went to a meeting site of a house church at Honghui Coal Mine in Pingchuan District, Baiyin City, Gansu Province on the afternoon of June 24, 2008. They detained Mr. Wang Fayun, a co-worker in charge of this gathering site and two female members who were practicing on the piano.

China Aid Association (CAA) says that news came on the second day that Brother Wang was placed under 10 days of administrative detention and the two sisters were placed under three days of administrative detention.

On the afternoon of June 25, officials detained two more members, Mr Chen and his wife, at the same gathering site. Like the other detainees, Chen and his wife were sentenced to 10 days of administrative detention and fined 1,000 Yuan ($145 USD). When contacted, Gansu authorities issued the following statement concerning the case:

“These people are suspected of engaging in cult activities and undermining public security. According to our information, this church is a house church based on a pure belief and has had public gatherings for three years in the local area.”

China Aid says: “Across China, authorities continue to defy the law in similar ways and label their victims with groundless charges. We implore brothers and sisters to pray for the innocent Christians of ours.”

China Aid Association appeals at the same time to the relevant authorities in Gansu to release these innocent Christians immediately and assume the responsibility of state compensation for the losses they have suffered.

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