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Human Rights and Religious Freedom News

Archive for May, 2009

Video Launched to Expose Torture of Christian Attorney Gao Zhisheng

Posted by radiofreechina on May 20, 2009

US Senators Call on Chinese President to Release Gao from Prison

By Michael Ireland
Chief Correspondent, ASSIST News Service

BEIJING, CHINA / WASHINGTON, DC (ANS) It has been more than 100 days since Christian human rights attorney Gao Zhisheng has been seen in public.

Gao Zhisheng

Now two Christian groups, who work for the rights of believers in countries where they face persecution or discrimination, are working together for his release. And a group of US Senators is calling on the Chinese President to have Gao released.

ChinaAid (www.chinaaid.org ) and Voice of the martyrs (VOM) — www.persecution.com — have released a video exposing the torture Gao suffered in 2007.

Reports from inside China indicate he is now likely experiencing the same treatment — or worse. Go to www.freegao.com to view the video now.

According to VOM, this video, an account of 58 days of torture in Gao’s own words, is an indictment of the true nature of Communist Party leaders, who commit these atrocities with their left hands, while their right hands are extended to the free world in a show of friendship and economic partnership.

VOM says in a media release that on September 12, 2007, Christian human rights attorney Gao Zhisheng wrote an open letter to the U.S. Congress exposing the brutality of the Communist Party, including the persecution of house church Christians.

Soon after, says VOM, Gao was kidnapped by Chinese government authorities and tortured for 58 days.

“Officials threatened to kill him if he ever exposed the details of his torture. Gao Zhisheng refused to be intimidated into silence — he continued to speak out about human rights abuses by China’s ruling Party. Determined to silence him, government officials kidnapped him again on February 4, 2009,” VOM says in the news release.

Gao Zhisheng has now been missing for more than 100 days. He was last seen being hauled away by Chinese officials, VOM states.

“Gao Zhisheng risked everything to challenge the dark system of communism — he dared to speak the truth. Now, his very life threatens to unmask the distorted inner reality of the Chinese government to the world,” said VOM.

VOM explains that Gao said to his wife that if he should be persecuted for speaking the truth, he believed that people of justice throughout the world would stand with him.

The group is asking believers across America to please forward this e-mail to family and friends, asking them to view the video, sign the petition and send e-mails to government officials at www.FreeGao.com.

Meanwhile, according to ChinaAid, on May 14, the 99th day since Chinese Christian human rights attorney Gao Zhisheng’s kidnapping by government officials, four U.S. Senators issued a letter to Chinese President Hu Jintao calling for the Chinese government to release Gao.

The four signatories are: Senators Bryon Dorgan (D-ND and Chairman of the Congressional – Executive Commission on China), Russ Feingold (D-WI), Chris Dodd (D-CT) and Sam Brownback (R-KS).

The following is the full text of the Senators’ letter to President Hu Jintao:

“Dear President Hu:

“We are writing to express our deep concern over the disappearance of prominent lawyer and human rights advocate, Gao Zhisheng. Tomorrow will mark the 100th day in which Mr. Gao has not been seen or heard from. We fear that Mr. Gao’s life may be in grave danger, given Mr. Gao’s past treatment at the hands of public security officers (and others working under their direction).

“Mr. Gao, voted ‘one of China’s top ten lawyers’ in 2001 by a Chinese Ministry of Justice publication, has represented numerous civil society figures, religious leaders and writers.

“In September 2007, Mr. Gao sent an open letter to the U.S. Congress alleging widespread human rights abuses in China. Afterwards, public security officers abducted him and held him for over 50 days, during which time he was repeatedly tortured. He was told that he would be killed if he told anyone about what happened. Mr. Gao was last seen on February 4, 2009 at a relative’s home, where more than 10 public security officers and others forcibly removed him from bed, and whisked him away to an unknown location. Mr. Gao’s whereabouts are still unknown.

“Mr. Gao’s disappearance appears to be a violation of both Chinese and international law. We urge your government to inform the concerned public of his whereabouts, to guarantee Mr. Gao’s right to be free from arbitrary detention, and to secure his release.”

Both ChinaAid and VOM invite you to visit www.FreeGao.com to advocate for Gao Zhisheng’s release: sign the petition; view the video; send e-mails to Chinese officials and find out more information about Gao Zhisheng.

For more details from ChinaAid, please contact: Katherine@ChinaAid.org with questions or requests for further information.

For more information from VOM, click here: www.persecution.com/contact

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Tiananmen Square Leaders Issue Declaration of Repentance and Reconciliation on 20th Anniversary

Posted by radiofreechina on May 11, 2009

By Jeremy Reynalds
Correspondent for ASSIST News Service

MIDLAND, TEXAS (ANS) An unprecedented statement regarding the June 4 1989 massacre at Tiananmen Square has just been released.

The document from 80 Chinese Christian leaders calls for forgiveness, repentance, truth, justice and reconciliation.

In a news release, ChinaAid said the majority of the signatories were directly involved with the students’ movement, and suffered severe repercussions at the hands of authorities for their participation. In the aftermath of the massacre, the failure of the movement and in their search for truth, these leaders found reality and hope in Jesus Christ.

ChinaAid said in their statement, the Christian leaders articulate how the massacre “awakened our sense of social justice as intellectuals. and shattered our dreams of utopia on earth.” Through this crisis, they saw they were not “entirely innocent bystanders of the sins and tragedy.”
ChinaAid said the manifesto declares, “in terms of this sinful nature, we are not fundamentally different from the decision makers, commanders or transactors of the massacre, ” except for encountering the grace and forgiveness of God.

ChinaAid reported that the declaration calls on all Chinese Christians to seek reconciliation on the basis that truth must be revealed and justice done. The declaration lists specific actions including confessing the sins of silence and hypocrisy; revealing the truth; helping those still suffering as a result of this tragedy and praying for Chinese authorities.

The signatories also urge Chinese authorities to investigate the massacre; fully disclose the truth; find the perpetrators; commemorate the massacre and compensate and care for the victims’ families.

ChinaAid said the Tiananmen Square Massacre, known in China as the “June 4 Incident, ” was the tragic end to a movement of students and intellectuals calling for free media and formal dialogue between authorities and student-elected representatives. Between April 15 and June 4, approximately 100,000 Chinese citizens, the majority of whom were university students, led peaceful protests in Beijing’s famous Tiananmen Square.

On June 4, ChinaAid reported, the Chinese government sent in armored tanks and, as the world watched, killed hundreds of the demonstrators. According to the Chinese government, the official death toll was 200-300. However, the Chinese Red Cross estimated that the actual deaths were between 2,000 and 3,000. More than 10,000 Chinese citizens from all over China who were involved in the movement were sentenced to death by the government as retribution. June 4, 2009 will mark the 20th anniversary of the massacre.

Bob Fu, president and founder of ChinaAid, was one of the student leaders in the Tiananmen Square movement.

Speaking in a news release he said, “The fact that this tragic massacre happened 20 years ago and is still not allowed to be commemorated in China by the Chinese government, should remind the international community that the road toward true freedom for the Chinese people is not an easy one.”

Fu added, “We are encouraged that the persecuted Chinese church and church leaders are awakened to repent for their silence regarding the massacre and to move forward toward true justice and reconciliation.”

ChinaAid said the declaration also issues a call to all Chinese Christian churches, within China and overseas, to pray between May 12 – the anniversary of the Sichuan Earthquake and June 4 – the anniversary of the massacre. They urge churches to make May 12 and June 4 “Pray for China” days and to hold special prayer meetings during that time.

ChinaAid is calling on the international community to stand with the signatories of the declaration by joining them in prayer and action for true reconciliation.

The signatories of the declaration invite other Chinese Christians and church leaders to sign the declaration. Those interested in signing can e-mail info@64church.org.

For more information go to www.ChinaAid.org

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18 Christians Arrested, 16 Still in Prison in Henan Province

Posted by radiofreechina on May 6, 2009

By Michael Ireland
Chief Correspondent, ASSIST News Service

HENAN, CHINA (ANS) A dozen Public security Bureau (PSB) officers raided a communion service in China’s Henan Province on April 30 and took away 18 believers, 16 of whom are still being held.

According to ChinaAid (www.ChinaAid.org ) a group of house church Christians and leaders from the house church group China Gospel Fellowship (CGF) were gathered for a communion service at a house church in Xinye city, Henan province, when they were raided by PSB officers.

In all, eighteen Christians were taken to the Public Security Bureau (PSB) office of Xinye city. They were each forced to pay a 1000 yuan (about $150) fine.

At the time of ChinaAid’s press release, 16 Christians were still being held by the PSB, including 10 preachers from Hubei province. The imprisoned preachers are: Wang Donggui, Yang Chengqun, GuoDaying, Hao Xuecheng, Lun Zhidian, Lian Fengmei, Chen Mingao, Ren Zhiai, Zhai Laoxue and Zhai Jinai.

Concerned US Christians may contact the following Public Security Bureau officials and request the 16 Christians immediately be released:

Mr. Shi Zhengxian, Deputy Director of PSB: +86-377- 66222611-35068 (office)

Mr. Chen Xiaogang, Leader of PSB Special Squad +86-13838748167 (cell phone)

Please contact Katherine@ChinaAid.org  with questions or requests for further information.

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