Breaking News:
From left: USCIRF Policy Analyst for China Tina Mufford, 
China Aid Chairman Joe Torres, China Aid founder and
President 
Bob Fu, President and Chief Executive Officer of
the Lantos Foundation for Human Rights Katrina Lantos-
Sweatt, former Taiwanese Vice President Annette Lu, 
China 
Aid Vice President Kody Kness, China Aid advisor and
former Chairman Doug Robison and USCIRF Director of

Policy and Research Knox Thames.
(Photo: China Aid)
China Aid

(Washington, D.C.—July 1, 2015) China Aid hosted Taiwan’s former vice-president and current NGO leader Annette Lu during a visit to Washington, DC in late June to discuss the strategic importance of advancing religious freedom in the Asia Pacific region. During her visit, Madame Lu met with Members of Congress, and think tank and NGO leaders to build support for mechanisms to support human rights, religious freedom, and democracy in the Asia Pacific, including the Asia Pacific Religious Freedom Forum scheduled for early 2016.

Lu has been a lifelong advocate of human rights, religious freedom and democracy, and was herself imprisoned for over 6 years after giving a speech to commemorate Human Rights Day, in which Amnesty International subsequently deemed her a prisoner of conscience. Lu described her experiences as a human rights and democracy advocate at a briefing at Amnesty International, and with senior leaders from the McCain Institute, Freedom House, the Heritage Foundation, and with participants of the International Religious Freedom Roundtable.
From left: CECC Staff Director Paul Protic, China Aid
Advisor and former Chairman Doug Robison, China Aid
founder and President Bob Fu, former Taiwanese Vice
President Annette Lu, Congressman Chris Smith (R-N.J.),
China Aid Vice President Kody Kness and China Aid
Chairman Joe Torres.
(Photo: China Aid)

While in Washington, Lu also provided interviews at Radio Free Asia and Voice of America, and met with Commissioner Katrina Lantos-Swett of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, and Members of Congress, including Senator Cornyn (R-Texas), and Congressmen Meadows (R-N.C.), McGovern (D-Mass.), Salmon (R-Ariz.), Pittenger (R-N.C.), Harper (R-Miss.), Smith (R-N.J.), Sires (D-N.J.), Forbes (R-Va.), Diaz-Balart (R-Fla.), and Chabot (R-Ohio).

China Aid works closely with NGO leaders such as Madame Lu to promote religious freedom and related human rights, and strengthen partnerships with like-minded individuals and organizations.
From left: China Aid Chairman Joe Torres, China Aid founder
and President 
Bob Fu, Congressman John Cornyn (R-Texas),
former Taiwanese Vice President Annette Lu, 
China Aid 
Advisor and former Chairman Doug Robison and China Aid
Vice President Kody Kness.

(Photo: China Aid)
AFrom left: China Aid Chairman Joe Torres, China Aid Vice
President Kody Kness, 
China Aid founder and President Bob
Fu, Congressman Jim McGovern (D-Mass.), 
former Taiwanese
Vice President Annette Lu and 
China Aid Advisor and former
Chairman Doug Robison.
(Photo: China Aid)


China Aid Contacts
Rachel Ritchie, English Media Director
Cell: (432) 553-1080 | Office: 1+ (888) 889-7757 | Other: (432) 689-6985
Email: r.ritchie@chinaaid.org
Website: www.chinaaid.org
China Aid
By Rachel Ritchie

(Midland, Texas—July 1, 2015) China Aid applauds and supports the formation of the external advisory committee to the Office of Religious Freedom of Canada and is especially encouraged by the the appointment of committee members Dr. Paul Marshall of the Hudson Institute and Pastor Richard Kao of the Five Stones Church in Vancouver.
External Advisory Committee to the Office of Religious Freedom

On June 22, 2015, the Honourable Rob Nicholson, P.C., Q.C., M.P. for Niagara Falls, Minister of Foreign Affairs, announced the establishment of an External Advisory Committee (EAC) on religious freedom.

The Committee comprises 23 prominent leaders from a wide variety of Canadian faith and belief communities representative of Canada’s diversity. It will advise the Office of Religious Freedom on the exercise of its mandate to promote and defend religious freedom internationally as a central element of Canada’s principled foreign policy.

The inaugural meeting of the EAC was hosted on June 22, 2015, at Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada in Ottawa by Minister Nicholson and Andrew Bennett, Canada’s Ambassador for Religious Freedom.

The EAC will meet semi-annually. It is chaired by Father Raymond J. de Souza, a Roman Catholic priest of the Archdiocese of Kingston and Chaplain at the Newman Centre, Queen’s University. Corinne Box of the Bahá’í Community of Canada and Malik Talib, President of the Aga Khan Council for Canada, serve as vice-chairs of the EAC.

Both Minister Nicholson and Ambassador Bennett are pleased that the following individuals have agreed to serve on the External Advisory Committee:

Chair

Fr. Raymond J. de Souza is a Roman Catholic priest and well-known newspaper columnist. Since 2006, he has served as the pastor of Sacred Heart of Mary Parish on Wolfe Island—the largest of the Thousand Islands—and since 2004, has served as chaplain at Newman House, the Roman Catholic chaplaincy at Queen’s University. In 2011, he was appointed consultant to the Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty—the lead committee of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops in defence of religious liberty at home and abroad.

Vice-chair

Malik Talib serves as president of the Aga Khan Council for Canada, the social governance body for the Ismaili community in Canada, composed of volunteer leaders from across the country. The president also serves as an ex officio member of the National Committee of Aga Khan Foundation Canada, a non-denominational Canadian international development agency. Mr. Talib is currently the CEO of the Talmont Group of Companies. He holds a BSc from McGill University and an LLB from Osgoode Hall Law School.

Vice-chair

Corinne Box has served as director of government relations on behalf of the Bahá'í Community of Canada since June 2014. Her work focuses primarily on advocating at the national level for Bahá’ís in other countries who are experiencing state-sponsored religious persecution. This has included working closely with officials at Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada and with parliamentarians. A finance and marketing graduate of McGill University, she has held various management positions in both operations and commercial lending for one of Canada’s largest banks.

Committee members

Imam Sayed Nabil Abbas is the imam of the Lebanese Islamic Centre in Montréal. He chairs the Lebanese Islamic Centre’s religious committee, ensuring the implementation of its religious functions and ensuring the Centre’s activities are consistent with Islamic rites and beliefs.

Eric Adriaans is national executive director of Centre for Inquiry Canada, a national charity providing education on secular humanism, reason, science and critical thinking. Mr. Adriaans has been a charitable sector professional since 1991, working with Canada’s most respected organizations. At CFI Canada, Mr. Adriaans has led an organization renewal program, with a focus on human rights, education and health sciences. These programs are aimed at supporting new Canadians and helping them access international events and opposing blasphemy laws throughout the world through the founding of the International Coalition Against Blasphemy Laws.

Peter Bhatti is the president and founder of International Christian Voice. He was born in Faisalabad, Pakistan, and obtained his diploma in associate engineering in mechanical power, immigrating to Canada in 1997. Mr. Bhatti is passionate about helping the suffering and victimized religious minorities of Pakistan and around the world. He follows in the footsteps of his late brother, Martyr Shahbaz Bhatti, to promote religious freedom. Through International Christian Voice, Mr. Bhatti continues to raise awareness on religious freedom issues in Pakistan and around the world and has been playing a vital role in helping newly arrived Pakistanis integrate into Canadian society.

Rabbi Reuven Bulka is a rabbi, writer, broadcaster and activist in Ottawa, Ontario, and former co-president of the Canadian Jewish Congress. He received his Rabbinic ordination from the Rabbi Jacob Joseph Rabbinical Seminary in New York City and his PhD from the University of Ottawa in 1971. He previously served as the rabbi of the Machzikei Hadas congregation in Ottawa from 1967 to 2013. Rabbi Bulka is an active leader in the Jewish and civic communities. He is the author and editor of more than 30 books and countless articles.

Dr. Aslam Daud has championed humanitarian causes for the past 30 years. As the chairman of Humanity First Canada, he leads many international humanitarian relief programs around the world. As the national vice president of Ahmadiyya Muslim Community in Canada, he actively promotes religious freedom, peace and tolerance. He leads a team that assists members of religious communities abroad who face persecution by engaging relevant governments and authorities and also by assisting persecuted refugees to resettle in safer places. He is also a federally appointed director with the Canadian Race Relations Foundation. By profession, Dr. Daud is a medical doctor and works as a health care information technology consultant.

Kulbir (Colin) Singh Dhillon is the chair of the Sikh Heritage Museum of Canada, a director for a global automotive company, a college lecturer in the field of design and innovation and a husband and father. Having emigrated from England in the early 1990s, Mr. Dhillon has worked tirelessly to break down societal and community barriers through his work and by adhering to the values bestowed onto the Sikh community by their gurus of “recognizing all of humanity as one.” In 2012, Mr. Dhillon was a recipient of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal for his service to Canada.

John Gill is the director of Minority Groups United and the president of Canadian Christian Association. He is also the founder and adviser of the Canadian Asian Christian Business Professional Association. Mr. Gill, who is an engineer by profession and an expert in project management, applied his expertise in engineering and financial business while working as an infrastructure consultant for organizations such as World Vision International and the United Nations Development Programme.

Carl Hétu is national director of the Catholic Near East Welfare Association (CNEWA). Since 2005, Mr. Hétu has been in charge of the organization’s Canadian headquarters where he manages day-to-day operations and leads public awareness and fundraising campaigns. Mr. Hétu regularly advises Catholic bishops on issues pertaining to eastern churches, religious minorities and inter-religious dialogue. He also works closely with the Vatican Congregation for Eastern Churches. Prior to his appointment at CNEWA, Mr. Hétu worked for 14 years in social justice and international development with the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace.

Pastor Richard (Rich) Kao has been in the pastoral ministry for 25 years and currently serves as founding pastor of Five Stones Church in Vancouver, British Columbia. Mr. Kao has been deeply involved in leadership training in Asia for over 20 years. He frequently serves as a keynote speaker at conferences and provides strategic advice and input to key churches and networks in the Pacific Rim region. Mr. Kao also serves on multiple non-profit and business boards. He holds degrees in biology and immunology and is completing his doctoral studies in leadership. He and his wife Memie have four children between the ages of 16 and 23.

Antoine Malek is the chair, president and founding member of the Coptic Orthodox Community of Greater Montréal and is also spokesperson of the Coalition for Freedom in Education in Quebec. A recipient of the Governor General of Canada’s Commemorative Medal for the 125th Anniversary of the Confederation of Canada, Mr. Malek has appeared before the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development to speak on the topic of the human rights situation in Egypt, including the persecution of Coptic Christians following the overthrow of former president Mubarak.

Jim Marino, ‎recently appointed executive director of the Niagara Foundation for Catholic Education, is an experienced broadcaster and communications adviser, having acted as press secretary to the Honourable Peter McCreath and communications adviser to the Right Honourable Kim Campbell while she was minister of veterans affairs. Mr. Marino previously served as executive director at the Niagara Children’s Centre Foundation. He is an active community and church member, president of both the Diocesan and Parish Holy Name societies and was awarded the highest papal honour for lay people granted by the Roman Catholic Church—the “pro ecclesia et pontifice” (for church and pope) medal—by St. John Paul II in 2003 for his dedication to the Catholic Church‎.

Dr. Paul Marshall is senior fellow at the Hudson Institute’s Center for Religious Freedom in Washington D.C., distinguished senior fellow at the Institute for the Study of Religion at Baylor University, senior fellow at the Leimena Institute, Jakarta, Indonesia, and visiting professor at the Graduate School of Syarif Hidayatullah State Islamic University in Jakarta. He earned his PhD in political theory at York University, Toronto, is the author and editor of more than twenty books on religion and politics, especially religious freedom, and his writings have been translated into 22 languages.

Phuong Ngo is a partner in Gowlings law firm in Ottawa and practises in the areas of civil and administrative litigation in both official languages. Ms. Phuong has been an active member of Vietnamese community organizations in Canada and an advocate for human rights and democracy in Vietnam. In this capacity, she has worked with Vietnamese religious groups. Since 2011, Ms. Phuong has also been a trustee on the Board of Trustees of the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21 in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Imam Abdul Hai Patel is the founder and former coordinator of Canadian Council of Imams and currently acts as its director of interfaith relations. Mr. Patel is the Muslim chaplain at the University of Toronto and with York Regional Police, a member of the Interfaith Committee and chaplain for the 2015 Pan Am and Parapan Am Games. Imam Hai Patel is the founder and member of Canadian Interfaith Conversation and was also the immediate past president of the Ontario Multifaith Council.

Pandit Roopnauth Sharma is the founder and spiritual leader of Mississauga’s Ram Mandir, a Hindu temple, where he attends to a community of over 3,000 families on all religious and social matters. He is also the founder of Canada Hindu Heritage Centre (CHHC). CHHC is focused on addressing the social, economic and cultural needs of the Hindu community. Mr. Sharma is also the driving force behind projects related to family issues, poverty, youth violence and low-income housing. He is currently the president of the Federation of Hindu Temples of Canada, president of the Ontario Multifaith Council and Hindu chaplain for federal detention centres.

Dr. Mario Silva has had a distinguished career as an elected municipal and federal official between the years 1994 and 2011, as well as being an author and international legal scholar. He was appointed by the Government of Canada to serve as the 2013 chair of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance. Dr. Silva is a published author, writing on international law, security and human rights, and is the recipient of several honours, including the French Order of the Legion of Honour and Order of Merit of Portugal. Dr. Silva has held positions at Ryerson University and at McGill University, where he is currently a visiting scholar.

His Eminence Metropolitan Archbishop Sotirios was elected bishop on December 18, 1973, and ordained on January 27, 1974. On September 24, 1996, he was elevated to the rank of metropolitan archbishop of Toronto and exarch of all Canada. When he assumed his duties as bishop in Canada, there were 22 parishes; that number has now reached 75. He is currently the chairman of the Canadian Conference of Orthodox Bishops, which represents a diversity of international Orthodox bishops. His Eminence has composed and published the Catechism of the Greek Orthodox Faith in English and in Greek verse and prose and has been honoured with the Centennial Medal of Canada and the medal of the city of Athens, among others.

Tsering Tsomo currently serves as the president of the Board of Directors of the Canadian Tibetan Association of Ontario and the Tibetan Canadian Cultural Centre, based in Toronto. In addition, Ms. Tsomo works for a not-for-profit, multi-service women’s charitable organization. For the past 25 years, she has worked for the Tibetan diaspora community, both in India and Canada, in a range of government and not-for-profit organizations.

Rukiye Turdush was born in East Turkistan (Xinjiang) China and is the former president of the Uyghur Canadian Society. While working as a broadcast reporter at the Xinjiang TV University in Urumchi, China, she was forced to quit her job after pressing for freedom of speech in her broadcast reports. In late 1998, she immigrated to Canada, and shortly thereafter, completed her studies at the University of Windsor and then worked as a senior researcher for the Uyghur Human Rights Foundation in Washington, D.C. Currently, she is working for Radio Free Asia based in Washington, D.C., and remains actively involved in Uyghur human rights issues.

Christine D. Williams is a federally appointed director with the Canadian Race Relations Foundation and a member of the Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center Task Force Against anti-Semitism. She is also public affairs and media consultant to the International Christian Embassy in Jerusalem. By trade, Ms. Williams is a journalist. For 15 years, she worked at CTS Television in Burlington, Ontario, as a producer and television host, winning nine international awards. Ms. Williams performs regularly at speaking engagements, as well as moderating, editing and consulting, and currently sits on committees involving finance, investments and audits.


China Aid Contacts
Rachel Ritchie, English Media Director
Cell: (432) 553-1080 | Office: 1+ (888) 889-7757 | Other: (432) 689-6985
Email: r.ritchie@chinaaid.org
Website: www.chinaaid.org
Church gatherings, like this one in
Guizhou, are often raided by police.
(Photo: China Aid)
China Aid

(Panzhihua, Sichuan—July 1, 2015) Police and religious affairs officials in southwest China’s Sichuan province raided a weekday morning house church prayer meeting, searched the home, and took two women away for questioning, church members reported.

One member of the Harmony Church in Panzhihua likened the June 16 raid to a scene from the Campaign to Suppress Counterrevolutionaries launched by the Communist Party shortly after taking power in 1949 to root out opposition to its rule.

More than 10 police and religious affairs bureau stormed into the private home at about 9:20 a.m., saying that “someone reported that you people were a cult.” Without showing any identification, the authorities ordered everyone to stay put and demanded that the prayer meeting be halted.

“They were shouting and gesticulating wildly... The Christians were badly frightened,” the unidentified church member said.

The police and official videotaped and photographed the raid, took down the numbers of everyone’s government ID card and ransacked the premises, leaving with the church’s books and other literature, account ledger and offering box.

Despite failing to find any contraband or illegal items of any kind, the authorities took two women to the police station for questioning. They were questioned separately for two hours, and the church was told that it could not hold any more meetings because it was an unregistered, privately organized meeting site.

On June 23, the Renhe branch of the Panzhihua Police Department notified the church to come claim the items that the police been confiscated and reiterated the warning that the church was forbidden to meet.


China Aid Contacts
Rachel Ritchie, English Media Director
Cell: (432) 553-1080 | Office: 1+ (888) 889-7757 | Other: (432) 689-6985
Email: r.ritchie@chinaaid.org
Website: www.chinaaid.org
Epoch Times
By Lu Chen, Epoch Times | June 30, 2015
June 30, 2015 10:20 pm

Lawyers in China are being told to think very carefully what they say inside the courtroom from now on, with a new proposed law that would have the effect of criminalizing speech made in defense of their clients.

In the second review of China’s criminal laws last week, the National People’s Congress—China’s rubber stamp legislature—plans to add “severely disrupting courtroom order,” “insulting, defaming, or threatening judicial officials or litigation participants,” and “not heeding the court’s warning” to the list of criminalized courtroom behavior.

There’s currently only one item on the list, “assembling a crowd to cause trouble and disrupt court order.” Rule breakers face fines and up to three years imprisonment.

Chinese policemen guard outside the Jinan Intermediate
People's Court, on August 25, 2013 in Jinan, China
(Feng Li/Getty Images)
Over 500 lawyers signed an open letter in protest last year after the amendments were first put forth in a draft reading in October. Because words like “defaming” and “insulting” were too vague and open to varied interpretations, the lawyers wrote, defense attorneys would essentially be handicapped since anything they said could be used to charge them.

The recent announcement seemed to include a minor update to the problematic order from last year, but it didn’t change the essence of the law, and again triggered an outpouring of protest from lawyers on Chinese social media.

“If the criminal law amendment passes, legal defense becomes a formality since lawyers will cooperate with the court and just go through the motions of a trial. Lawyers stay safe, but defendants will be miserable,” wrote Beijing lawyer Yang Xuelin on Chinese microblogging site Sina Weibo on June 29.

“Discussing the rule of law and jurisprudence to the authorities is pointless because what they really want is official rule,” wrote lawyer Fu Minrong.

If lawyers “don’t dare speak out in court, it’s a very dangerous thing,” said Chinese rights lawyer Zhang Weiyu to Epoch Times. Under the existing criminal laws, attorneys are already frequently beaten by bailiffs. Most recently, in a trial defending practitioners of Falun Gong for distributing fliers exposing the regime’s persecution of the faith on June 18, court police punched lawyer Wang Quanzhang several times in the presence of the judge and officials.

Thus, should the amendments pass, “anyone could be a victim,” Zhang added.

Some members of the National People’s Congress also found the proposed criminal law changes too controversial, according to Chinese business news publication Caixin. Deputy member Yan Jianguo, a former lawyer from Hebei Province, expressed concern that the rules would be used arbitrarily by courts to interrupt attempts by lawyers to defend their clients.

With reporting by Luo Ya.


China Aid Contacts
Rachel Ritchie, English Media Director
Cell: (432) 553-1080 | Office: 1+ (888) 889-7757 | Other: (432) 689-6985
Email: r.ritchie@chinaaid.org
Website: www.chinaaid.org
Reuters

ANKARA
World | Tue Jun 30, 2015 7:06am EDT

Turkey told Beijing on Tuesday it was worried over reports Uighur people had been banned from worship and fasting during the holy month of Ramadan in China's far western region of Xinjiang, the foreign ministry said.

Earlier this month, some local governments in Xinjiang stepped up controls on the Islamic faith followed by the Turkic Uighur people ahead of Ramadan, including restrictions on fasting.

China's Xi Jinping (R) shakes hands with Turkey's Tayyip
Erdogan at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing April 10,
2012.
REUTERS/KAZUHIRO IBUKI/POOL
"Our people have been saddened over the news that Uighur Turks have been banned from fasting or carrying out other religious duties in the Xinjiang region," Turkey's foreign ministry said in a statement.

"Our deep concern over these reports have been conveyed to China's ambassador in Ankara."

The holy month of Ramadan is a sensitive time in Xinjiang following a rise in attacks blamed by Beijing on Islamist militants over the past three years in which hundreds have died.

Earlier in June, state media and government websites in Xinjiang published stories and official notices demanding that party members, civil servants, students and teachers in particular do not to observe Ramadan, something that also happened last year.

Muslims worldwide observe Ramadan, when many abstain from eating and drinking during daylight hours.

China's Communist Party says it protects freedom of religion, but it maintains a tight grip on religious activities and allows only officially recognized religious institutions to operate.

China has around 20 million Muslims spread throughout the country, only a portion of which are Uighur, a Turkic-language speaking group that calls Xinjiang home.

(Reporting by Ece Toksabay, Editing by Humeyra Pamuk and Ralph Boulton)


China Aid Contacts
Rachel Ritchie, English Media Director
Cell: (432) 553-1080 | Office: 1+ (888) 889-7757 | Other: (432) 689-6985
Email: r.ritchie@chinaaid.org
Website: www.chinaaid.org
People in China are quite used to the “Great Firewall.”
By David Volodzko
June 29, 2015

The Chinese linguist Liu Bannong was a man of singular intellect. After receiving his Ph.D. at the University of Paris in 1925, he went on to co-author a book that would guide the standardization of simplified Chinese. Liu was also an influential contributor to the magazine La Jeunesse (also known as New Youth), a renowned photographer, possibly the inventor of the pronoun ta or “she,” and one of the New Culture poets.

As their name suggests, the New Culture poets were a progressive group, drawing inspiration from the works of their Western confrères just as their Anglophone contemporaries, the Imagists, drew from the works of classical Chinese poets. In a poem about the Great Wall, a popular metaphor then for tyrannical rule, Liu recalls the legend of Lady Meng Jiang, whose husband was forced to help build the Wall. When Lady Meng journeyed to see her love, only to discover he was already dead, her tears were so abundant that they brought down a part of the wall. Liu wrote:

Protesters march against China's censorship of the internet at
the Doo Dah Parade on January 18, 2009 in Pasadena.
Image Credit: Image via Jose Gill/Shutterstock

To this day people are still talking of Meng Jiang Nü
Yet no more is said of the First Emperor of Qin or the Martial Emperor of Han
Throughout the ages nothing is sadder than an ordinary tragedy
In her tears Meng Jiang Nü lives through all eternities.

This comes to mind whenever I think of Liu Xia, the wife of Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo, whose husband sits in prison, a casualty of the Great Firewall. I think of her not because her tears have any hope of bringing down a section of the wall, but because hers is “an ordinary tragedy.” Like the Great Wall of 1920s poetry, the Great Firewall might serve as a convenient symbol for tyranny.

But to most Chinese, it doesn’t feel that way. Their lack of access to Facebook or Google is as normal to them as their lack of access to the coral gardens of the Bahamas — a consequence of geography. Westerners who consider the Internet an instrument of social change in China forget that not too long ago, the same was said of capitalism.

Let’s not forget the role of Western powers, either. For example, the American multinational Cisco Systems helped China establish its Internet — and its censorship program. Google and Microsoft currently legitimize the suppression of information by self-censoring. The head of Internet policy in China, Lu Wei, was warmly welcomed by Amazon, Apple, and Facebook executives when he visited California last December. And Yahoo! went so far as to help authorities capture the poet Shi Tao in 2005. Shi was subsequently incarcerated for emailing information about censorship.

Another mistake is to assume that the purpose of censorship in China is to silence political dissent. But a 2013 Harvard study found that, “contrary to previous understandings, posts with negative, even vitriolic, criticism of the state, its leaders, and its policies are not more likely to be censored.” Rather, the purpose of censorship in China appears to be “curtailing collective action” by preventing “social mobilization, regardless of content.”

Yet it’s the normalization of censorship that worries me; the way that so many shrug when the matter comes up. If we do not value information, and access to it, then we devalue truth. As Alfred Griswold once said, “the only sure weapon against bad ideas is better ideas.”

For now though, the Chinese marketplace of thought is a monopoly run by anti-intellectuals. To give you some idea what the result of this is, last week I was having a drink with a friend when a Chinese couple joined our table. The young woman immediately helped herself to a glass of our wine, then introduced herself as a poet writing for “the best poetry journal in China,” Xiangpi.

She had my attention, and despite the liberty she’d taken with our wine, I smiled and introduced myself, asking what kind of poetry she wrote. Glowing with pride, she said she wrote about “drinking, playing with her friends, and going to nightclubs.”

Well, I thought, that’s the kind of grass you get when you shut off the water supply. Why do I feel Liu Bannong would be turning in his grave?


China Aid Contacts
Rachel Ritchie, English Media Director
Cell: (432) 553-1080 | Office: 1+ (888) 889-7757 | Other: (432) 689-6985
Email: r.ritchie@chinaaid.org
Website: www.chinaaid.org
Joint Statement
29 June 2015

At today’s European Union (EU)-China summit in Brussels, FIDH, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and International Campaign for Tibet call on EU and Chinese leaders to ensure that human rights are at the top of the agenda in discussions at the summit and beyond.

This year marks the 40th anniversary of China-EU diplomatic relations. Today’s summit should be an opportunity to develop a critical partnership which can concretely improve the human rights situation for people in China. With the adoption of the EU Strategic Framework on Human Rights and Democracy in 2012, the EU and its member states committed to place human rights at the centre of all external action. In line with that commitment, they must act to respect, promote and protect universal human rights in diverse aspects of the EU-China relationship, including security, trade, investment opportunities and other political cooperation.

There is no time to waste. The EU and its member states must urgently address mounting repression of dissent and freedom of expression and association in China, as increasing numbers of human rights defenders have been and continue to be harassed and detained. In particular, the past year has seen a broad government crackdown on civil society in connection with the pro-democracy demonstrationsin Hong Kong and the 25th anniversary of Tiananmen Square, as well as ongoing obstruction of the legitimate and vital work of numerous non-governmental organisations (NGOs). New repressive laws, including the proposed National Security Law and Anti-Terrorism Law, contain overly broad definitions of “terrorism” and “extremism” that allow the authorities to prosecute minorities, including in Tibet and Uighur areas, along with human rights defenders and government critics. Another proposed law onNGOsmay have far-reaching impacton their activities and funding, which would be a serious setback both for key human rights projects funded by the EU and its member states, as well as for beneficiaries of these organisations, who are often at the forefront of tackling important social issues. In addition, serious concerns remain about the death penalty, torture and ill treatment, and other human rights violations in China.

The summit takes place one week ahead of the 80th birthday of the Dalai Lama. Despite the current unstable situation, celebrations have already started in Tibet. The EU and its member states must call on China to refrain from violently repressing these celebrations and to respect freedom of religion and cultural rights of Tibetan people as a matter of urgency.

In view of the deteriorating human rights situation in China, the EU and its member states urgently need to advance a more strategic, coordinated, public and pro-active approach on human rights in China. While quiet diplomacy has its place, explicit public positioning on human rights concerns from the EU and its member states will be vital for China’s embattled human rights defenders and its civil society more widely.

The EU’s 2012 Strategic Framework on human rights and democracy commits the EU and its 28 member states to place "human rights at the centre of its relations with all third countries including strategic partners" and to raise "human rights issues vigorously in all appropriate forms of bilateral dialogue, including at the highest level." If in face of these gravely concerning human rights abuses, the EU and its member states fail to speak out and ensure substantive discussions on human rights, they will undermine their own foreign policy including the commitment to place human rights at the centre of relations with all third countries, including strategic partners. Furthermore, acompromise on raising human rights issues at this summit will also damage the EU’s own efforts to promote the universality and indivisibility of human rights.

To this end, we call on the EU, its member states, and China to:
Ensure that their cooperation is grounded in the universality of human rights, the international human rights commitments undertaken by both sides and the commitment to progress towards the achievement of the highest standard of human rights protection
Mainstream human rights concerns at all levels of their relationship, both today and at all high level meetings, not only at human rights dialogues and meetings with an explicit human rights angle
Take action to ensure all cooperation aims for concrete commitments and outcomes to advance human rights, including on individual cases of detained human rights defenders
Ensure that Chinese and European civil society voices are given genuine consideration in future summits and exchanges, including, but not limited to, the human rights dialogue,sectoral discussions and more generally in the people-to-people pillar
Evaluate the impact of all sectors of EU-China cooperation in Europe, China and globally, in order to prevent negative outcomes and actively promote and protect human rights

Letters:

FIDH, "After forty years, do human rights have a place in China-EU strategic ambitions?," 27 June 2015.

Amnesty International, “EU must not compromise its human rights policy for China,” 22 June 2015.

Human Rights Watch, “Letter on European Union-China Summit,” 24 June 2015.

International Campaign for Tibet, “EU Member States must raise Tibet at next EU-China Summit,” 26 June 2015.
AdvocacyEuropean UnionChina


China Aid Contacts
Rachel Ritchie, English Media Director
Cell: (432) 553-1080 | Office: 1+ (888) 889-7757 | Other: (432) 689-6985
Email: r.ritchie@chinaaid.org
Website: www.chinaaid.org
The unnamed Little Flock church was
raided on May 24, 2015, the same day
as Guangfu Church. The seal in this
photo is on Guangfu Church’s doors.
(Photo: China Aid)
China Aid

(Guangzhou—June 29, 2015) Despite trying to keep a low profile by going without a name, a small house church that traces its roots back to famed Chinese church leader Watchman Nee’s Little Flock has been raided and ordered to stop meeting.

The May 24 raid in the Baiyun District of the southern city of Guangzhou only recently came to light when Ma Chao, leader of the Guangfu Church, told China Aid’s special correspondent in Hong Kong, Qiao Nong, that the 100-plus police officers and government officials who raided Guangfu Church on May 24 were also in the building to raid the other church, which was meeting on the first floor.

“Unlike us, they did not give their church a name. It is only a church meeting place,” Ma explained. “We are on the second floor; they are one the first floor.”

He said that on the day of the raid, “it seemed strange to us that so many police came that day. Now I understand that it wasn’t just us they were coming to mess with. Some came to where we were and the others went to their place. They were here to persecute two churches.”

Despite drawing more worshippers to its Sunday services, the other church did not try to fight the May 24 government order to stop meeting and has simply disbanded, unlike the Guangfu Church, which has hired a lawyer and is suing the local religious affairs bureau.

“I ran into them this morning and they said, ‘Oh, you can still come here for church?’ I said yes. They said, ‘police came to us and won’t let us meet.’ They said they didn’t insist and just disbanded,” Ma said, adding that the church made no attempt to defend its right to freedom of religious belief. It regularly draws about 150 people to its Sunday worship services, while attendance at Guangfu church the day of the raid was only 20 Christians.

The church is part of Watchman Nee’s Little Flock movement, one of the early 20th century’s fastest-growing native Protestant movements in mainland China. Both churches had purchased space in the building in Baiyun District’s Chunting Garden to serve as their church meeting site.

The unnamed Little Flock church is not the only one that has bowed to government pressure and stopped meeting. Other churches in Guangzhou and Shenzhen have also given in to government pressure after church members were summoned for police questioning.

Ma said that in one case, a church in Guangzhou had paid 80,000 Yuan (U.S. $12,877) to rent a church meeting site but never got to hold a single meeting there before the local authorities told them to move.

Religious persecution has been increasing in Guangdong province. Including the Little Flock church and Guangfu Church, Royal Victory Church was forcibly evicted, a rehabilitation facility was prohibited from holding small Christian services and another church in Haidu District, Guangzhou was warned not to hold worship services.


China Aid Contacts
Rachel Ritchie, English Media Director
Cell: (432) 553-1080 | Office: 1+ (888) 889-7757 | Other: (432) 689-6985
Email: r.ritchie@chinaaid.org
Website: www.chinaaid.org
Reuters
BEIJING | BY SUI-LEE WEE

Chinese police have formally applied to prosecutors to arrest and charge a prominent rights activist who had called for official accountability over what he said were miscarriages of justice, his lawyer said on Monday.

Police want to charge Wu Gan, a burly 43-year-old online free speech advocate, with causing a disturbance, defamation and "inciting subversion of state power", his lawyer Yan Wenxin said.

Prosecutors generally do not challenge or turn down police requests in sensitive political cases.

Wu, better known by his online moniker "Super Vulgar Butcher", was detained in May. Earlier that month on Twitter, he had called for official accountability after a police officer shot and killed a civilian in northeastern Heilongjiang province. The incident stirred outrage among many Chinese over what they saw as abuse of power.

Wu's case comes amid what rights groups say is the most severe crackdown on human rights in decades in China. The clamp down has drawn censure from the West and activists, who say the ruling Communist Party has grown increasingly intolerant of moderate dissent.

Yan said the authorities had not disclosed any of their evidence against Wu. "He does not think any of his actions amount to guilt," he told Reuters by telephone.

In an unusual article criticizing the activist, the People's Daily, the party's official newspaper, described Wu's move last month as "arrogant" and "malicious".

"Wu Gan became more and more bold, and his actions more and more excessive," the paper said. "He even committed the illegal act of gravely injuring personal dignity, made malicious accusations, and flaunted himself as original 'performance art.'"

Maya Wang, a researcher for New York-based group Human Rights Watch, said Wu's case was used as a warning against other rights activists.

The Foreign Ministry declined to comment on the case at a regular briefing on Monday, saying it was not a diplomatic issue.

Yan said he did not know when the formal request for arrest was made, but prosecutors in the southern city of Xiamen notified him on Saturday. Prosecutors in Xiamen could not be immediately reached for comment.

(Additional reporting by Ben Blanchard and Megha Rajagopalan; Editing by Ryan Woo)


China Aid Contacts
Rachel Ritchie, English Media Director
Cell: (432) 553-1080 | Office: 1+ (888) 889-7757 | Other: (432) 689-6985
Email: r.ritchie@chinaaid.org
Website: www.chinaaid.org
Human Rights Watch
JUNE 25, 2015

Multiple Attacks on Lawyers Undermine Rule of Law

(New York) – The June 18, 2015 beating of lawyer Wang Quanzhang by court police in Shandong province underscores the perilous environment in China for lawyers who vigorously represent clients or issues unpopular with authorities, Human Rights Watch said today.

In the past year, at least 10 other human rights lawyers have also been assaulted while representing clients in what authorities consider sensitive political cases. There is no publicly available evidence to suggest that lawyers in these cases posed threats that warranted the use of force by court police officers.

“Some of these lawyers were attacked in response to asking court authorities to follow their own rules,” said Sophie Richardson, China director at Human Rights Watch. “Identifying flaws in court procedures and asking for redress is a fundamental part of lawyers’ work, and shouldn’t result in beatings.”

On June 18, lawyers Wang Quanzhang, Chen Zhiyong, and Shi Fulong were representing practitioners of Falungong, a religion banned in China, in Dongchangfu District Court in Liaocheng, Shandong Province. Wang criticized the judge’s violations of court procedures, which included repeatedly prohibiting defense lawyers from speaking and from questioning the suspects.

Near the end of the court debate, the presiding judge told court police to remove Wang from the courtroom for “disrupting court order.” About a dozen police officers then grabbed Wang by his neck and shoulders and dragged him out of the courtroom, while some hit his head and face with their fists in full view of the court and the officials present. Wang was dragged to another room and ordered to kneel down. When he refused, the officers beat him. The ordeal lasted for 10 minutes.

After the beating, the head of the court, the presiding judge, and other court officials went to the room where he had been beaten and berated him for “disrespecting the judge … and not following the judge’s orders,” according to Wang. There is no evidence, however, to suggest that Wang or the other lawyers in any way presented a threat to security in the courtroom, or that the judges in any way reprimanded or ordered an investigation into the brutal behavior of the police.

The three lawyers were detained for hours and not released until the early hours of June 19.

Wang’s beating is the latest in a series of incidents across the country in which lawyers have been reported to be physically attacked while carrying out their duties:
On May 17, lawyer Xie Yang was assaulted by a group of unidentified men wielding knives and metal rods while providing legal advice to clients involved in a contractual dispute in a market in Nanning City, Guangxi Province. The assailants broke Xie’s leg, while seven of his clients were also slightly injured. Although Xie and his clients repeatedly called the police for help during the beating, police did not come and no one has been arrested in the case. Instead, the police accused Xie as a suspect for “gathering crowds to engage in a brawl.” Xie suspects that the beating may be related to his representation of a family of a man whose killing by the police sparked nationwide outrage;
On April 22, during a trial of Falungong practitioners in Liaoning Province, lawyers Dong Qianyong and Wang Yu were dragged out of the courtroom by court police for protesting against procedural violations and the court police’s rough handling of one of their clients;
On April 21, lawyers Liu Jinbin, Zhang Lei, Wang Fu, and Chen Jianxiong were preparing to defend clients suspected of organized crime. The lawyers were assaulted by a group of unidentified men and women immediately outside of the court house in Hengyang Intermediate Court in Hunan Province. For five minutes, the lawyers were beaten, scratched, and had their clothes torn. The lawyers suspected that their advocacy on behalf on their clients, who alleged that police tortured them to confess, may have prompted the attack. The court authorities said that court police present quickly intervened to protect the lawyers. Although seven of the assailants were given seven days of administrative detention, none face criminal sanctions;
On February 9, lawyers Wen Donghai and Shi Fulong, who were representing a group of villagers forced to move for a reservoir project in Hunan Province, alleged that a number of court police officers “pushed and shoved” them in the courtroom. The lawyers believe that they were treated this way because they had criticized court officials for not allowing the villagers to attend the case; and
On July 3, 2014, lawyer Bao Lungjun, who represents a victim of a forced eviction in Beijing, was wrestled to the ground by several court police officers, beaten and detained for seven hours. Before being beaten, Bao had demanded to enter the courthouse to speak with the judge about why the court had suddenly cancelled a hearing for the case.

Human Rights Watch has frequently reported on the lack of accountability for police implicated in attacks on lawyers. More than a year after four lawyers – Tang Jitian, Jiang Tianyong, Wang Cheng, and Zhang Junjie – were tortured for trying to assist members of the Falungong movement who were held in unlawful detention facilities known as “black jails” in Jiansanjiang, Heilongjiang Province, none of the police officers have been held accountable. Some of the lawyers continue to suffer from injuries and illnesses as a result of the assaults.

Physical assaults are just one of many dangers lawyers – especially those who defend unpopular issues or clients – face in advocating for their clients’ fair trial rights, as previously detailed by Human Rights Watch. They are also vulnerable to detention and imprisonment: human rights lawyer Tang Jingling is currently detained for “inciting subversion,” while human rights lawyer Pu Zhiqiang is detained for “inciting ethnic hatred” and “picking quarrels and provoking trouble.” Both are expected to be tried in the coming months.

Article 306 of the Criminal Law also allows lawyers to be prosecuted for “enticing” suspects to “falsify evidence” or “change their testimony contrary to facts,” which gives the authorities another powerful tool to intimidate lawyers. Lawyers can also be denied a license to practice, especially during the annual evaluation of their performance by judicial authorities. In August 2014, for example, Cheng Hai was suspended from practice in Beijing and Wang Quanping had his license cancelled in Guangdong Province, both because of their work representing clients in what are perceived as sensitive cases, such as those imprisoned for involvement in the New Citizens Movement, a group that promotes civic rights and participation.

“Lawyers in China should go into court fearing that the worst possible outcome is losing their case – not violent assault by officers of the court,” Richardson said. “That such beatings take place, including in courtrooms, and without accountability, is a powerful indictment of the Chinese government’s hollow claim to the ‘rule of law.’”


China Aid Contacts
Rachel Ritchie, English Media Director
Cell: (432) 553-1080 | Office: 1+ (888) 889-7757 | Other: (432) 689-6985
Email: r.ritchie@chinaaid.org
Website: www.chinaaid.org
Epoch Times
By Leo Timm, Epoch Times and Frank Fang, Epoch Times
June 26, 2015 10:35 pm

If you’re a Chinese lawyer who has accepted a client facing prosecution for his faith, expect obstacles at every turn.

Police recruits shout vows as they join the Beijing Public
Security Bureau on February 18, 2011.
(ChinaFotoPress/Getty Images)
For attorneys who choose to represent practitioners of the persecuted spiritual discipline Falun Gong, interruptions, harassment, court detention, and beating are among the methods used by court and police staff to undermine the legal process. Many Falun Gong trials are conducted in secret; attendance for relatives and friends of the accused is prohibited or limited.

200 Meters to the People’s Court

In a recent episode from Hebei Province in north China, four Falun Gong practitioners, detained illegally for over a year, stood trial on June 19. According to local witnesses, family members of the practitioners planning to attend the trial were greeted by a 200-meter wide perimeter outside the entrance to the People’s Court in the city of Sanhe.
At around 8 in the morning, police and court bailiffs formed a cordon manned by hundreds of personnel backed up by dozens of vehicles around the court building. On site were officials from Communist Party and the 610 Office, an agency created in 1999 for the suppression of Falun Gong.
Police shoving several women into police cars.
(Photo provided by witnesses)

Defendants Wang Zhenqing, Wen Jie, Ma Weishan, and Kang Jingtai, all Falun Gong practitioners from Sanhe, were represented by lawyers Wang Yu, Feng Yanqiang, and Hu Guiyun.
When the lawyers tried to enter the courtroom, the police delayed the start of the trial by leading them to different gates of the building and haranguing them over proper documentation. Only at 9:50 a.m. were the attorneys let in.

Seen at the court building directing the law enforcement personnel were Cui Haoquan, Party Secretary of a local Communist Party political agency, Guo Lichen, head of Sanhe’s 610 Office branch, and Liu Xiuwen, a political commissar attached to the local police.

The Trial

Chinese officials Shi Liandong, Gu Zhixue and Liu Xuewen
are seen outside the People's Court in Sanhe, Hebei Province.
(Photo provided by witnesses)
Visitors who tried to gain entry to the court were harassed and beaten. Only eight of the defendants’ relatives succeeded in witnessing the trial.

An elderly woman tried to check into the court to sit in on the trial, but was repeatedly questioned about how she had heard about the trial and how she had gotten an invitation. Then the onsite personnel removed her and others from the perimeter.

When a bespectacled man in his fifties attempted to gain entry, the police first misdirected him to a false entrance, then demanded his identification. The man in turn asked the officers for their identification and admonished them for their treatment of Falun Gong.
Defense lawyers Wang Yu, Feng Yanqiang and Hu Guiyun.
(Photo provided by witnesses)

Four officers responded by beating the man and detaining him for a day.
The defendants had been abducted and held in detention by local Sanhe police since last April. That December, they were charged with “using superstitious sects to undermine the implementation of the law.” Such charges are typically levied using Article of 300 of Chinese criminal law, a commonly-used statute created in 1999 to facilitate the suppression of Falun Gong, started that July by order of then-Communist Party head Jiang Zemin.

During the trial, dozens of plainclothes police sat in the visitor section with the few relatives allowed in.

When the court was adjourned for a recess, Guo Lichen (the 610 Office chief) and domestic security officers Shi Liandong and Gu Zhixue, entered the courtroom to discuss plans with the court officials. Inside sources indicate that Guo even monitored the trial via CCTV.

“Who are you people? Why are you here?” one of the practitioner’s relatives sitting near the plainclothes police in the courtroom asked. “Don’t you know that because of you, family members of the [Falun Gong practitioners] are standing outside?”

The relative went on to criticize the persecution of Falun Gong, whereupon the plainclothes police left the court.

Might Makes Right

Heavy security outside the People's Court in Sanhe, Hebei
Province. (Photo provided by witnesses)
Sometimes violence is used to deny a legal defense to Falun Gong practitioners standing trial, as in the recent case of lawyer Wang Quanzhang, who was hospitalized for multiple injuries he took after being beaten by court bailiffs acting on orders of the presiding judge.

On June 18, Wang and two other lawyers represented seven practitioners at a trial held in the city of Liaocheng, Shandong Province of Eastern China. The seven had been arrested for distributing flyers about Falun Gong, Radio Free Asia (RFA) reported, and were being charged with “undermining the implementation of law.”

Initially, Wang’s attempts at defense were repeatedly interrupted by the judge, who called multiple objections on account of Wang supposedly disrupting court order.

“No matter how calm we were, how well we obeyed the rules, the judge just kept interrupting us and calling out objections, as what we said was undesirable,” said one of the defense lawyers, surnamed Chen, in an interview with New York-based New Tang Dynasty Television.

According to Chen, the court was heavily guarded. As the defense made their case, plainclothes police viewing the trial would yell verbal abuse at them.

“The presiding judge had suppressed [Wang’s] speech from the beginning of the trial. He was interrupted four times. There wasn’t any problem with us lawyers. Instead, it was the court undermining the implementation of law,” Chen said.

Finally, the judge demanded that Wang and the others be expelled from the court. When Wang protested, he received a severe beating from several court bailiffs. The three lawyers were detained by the court for the rest of the day and had their belongings, including computers, stolen.

In March last year, authorities in Jiansanjiang of northern China’s Heilongjiang Province detained four prominent rights lawyers who traveled to the city to investigate claims that the Falun Gong practitioners were being held illegally in a “black jail,” or extrajudicial detention center.

They were detained for more than two weeks before being released. Two of the lawyers reported suffering extreme physical abuse while in detention and another described torture while in custody.

Prominent Chinese rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng, named one of the top ten lawyers in China by the Ministry of Justice in 2001, was imprisoned several times after defending for disenfranchised groups in China, including Falun Gong practitioners. Gao’s last disappearance was in 2009. At the start of 2012, Gao’s brother said he had received a court document saying Gao was being held in Shayar jail in Xinjiang, northwestern China.

Gao Zhisheng suffered extreme physical torture during detention, including electrical shock to his genitals. He was eventually released on Aug. 7, 2014. He is currently under house arrest and is undergoing physical and psychological recovery.


China Aid Contacts
Rachel Ritchie, English Media Director
Cell: (432) 553-1080 | Office: 1+ (888) 889-7757 | Other: (432) 689-6985
Email: r.ritchie@chinaaid.org
Website: www.chinaaid.org

U.S. News & World Report
Associated Press
June 25, 2015 | 2:42 p.m. EDT
By MATTHEW PENNINGTON

WASHINGTON (AP) — After heralding U.S. ties with China this week, the State Department shed light Thursday on an issue that got little public attention during the high-level talks in Washington: human rights.

Secretary of State John Kerry asks an aide to bring him his
crutches after speaking to the news media at the State
Department in Washington, Thursday, June 25, 2015, as the
State Department released it's annual human rights report. The
Obama administration has once again identified Iran and Cuba
as serial human rights abusers even as it accelerates attempts to
improve relations with both countries.
(AP Photo/Cliff Owen)
Repression of activists in China was routine, and tens of thousands of political prisoners remained incarcerated, according to the department's annual review of human rights conditions around the world. The report, which covers 2014, said the Chinese government denied holding any political prisoners.

Assistant Secretary of State Tom Malinowski said that draft legislation on nongovernment organizations appears to call into question China's commitment to opening to the world. The law could potentially affect businesses, cultural and educational exchange, and people working on rule of law and human rights.

He said the issue was raised at the security and economic talks that ended in Washington Wednesday.

"We're very concerned about the implications of it and about the rhetoric of fear of cultural infiltration that the Chinese government is using to justify this law domestically and what that says about China's future development," Malinowski told reporters.

Another Asian nation that figures prominently in the report is former pariah nation Myanmar, where the Obama administration restored diplomatic ties and eased sanctions after it shifted from decades of military rule.

But abuses against minority Muslim Rohingya in Rakhine State in the west of the country were a "severely troubling counterpoint" to the progress since 2011, the report said. The government released "one or two" political prisoners during the year, but continued to arrest new ones, with more than 80 estimated to be in detention at the end of 2014.

This number did not include detainees in Rakhine State, estimated to be in the hundreds, the report said.

Meanwhile in Thailand, America's oldest ally in Asia, more than 900 political leaders, academics and journalists were temporarily detained after a military coup in May 2014. The coup leaders repealed the constitution, and imposed restrictions on freedom of expression, peaceful assembly and the press.

Since the military takeover, there has also been an increase in cases brought under a repressive law that punishes criticism of the monarchy with up to 15 years imprisonment.

In Vietnam, where the U.S. hopes membership in a proposed Pacific rim trade pact can be leverage to improve human rights conditions, the report said authorities of the communist government continued to suppress peaceful expression online through politically motivated arrests and convictions of bloggers.

While the number of independent nongovernment organizations grew substantially in the one-party state, the government sharply controlled their registration, including human rights organizations. Police still mistreated suspects during arrest and detention, and the judicial system was opaque and politically influenced.

As usual, there was no good news in the report about North Korea, where a U.N. commission of inquiry reported last year on crimes against humanity.

Defectors continued to report public executions, disappearances, arbitrary arrest and torture. There were reports of severe punishment of repatriated refugees. The government maintained a network of political prison camps in which conditions were inhuman, and prisoners were subjected to forced labor and not expected to survive.

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


China Aid Contacts
Rachel Ritchie, English Media Director
Cell: (432) 553-1080 | Office: 1+ (888) 889-7757 | Other: (432) 689-6985
Email: r.ritchie@chinaaid.org
Website: www.chinaaid.org
After their own eviction, Guangfu
House Church held a Sunday gathering
in the hall outside their former meeting
place on May 31, 2015.
(Photo: China Aid)
China Aid
By Rachel Ritchie

(Guangzhou, Guangdong—June 26, 2015) Religious persecution in southern China’s Guangdong province continues as a landlord leasing space to a house church was pressured to break the lease agreement because the church “did not register at the religious affairs bureau.”

Ma Chao, a leader of the recently persecuted Guangfu Church in Baiyun District, Guangzhou, told China Aid that a member of the Royal Victory Church, another house church in the same district called him: “They told me that their church properties, which had been confiscated, were returned but that their personal properties were still in custody. They cannot find a place to hold their church services.”

A church member said that the Baiyun District Religious Affairs Bureau and the Baiyun District Public Security Bureau pressured the church’s landlord to break the lease.

The 10-year-old Royal Victory Church is home to more than 200 Christians, about half of whom are foreigners, according to Ma Chao, but 300-400 people usually attend the church’s services.

This eviction comes amid increasing religious persecution in Guangdong. Recently, Guangfu Church faced eviction, raids and other conflicts with authorities. Additionally, Renai’s Home Rehabilitation Farm in Zhaoqing was prohibited from holding small Christian gatherings.


China Aid Contacts
Rachel Ritchie, English Media Director
Cell: (432) 553-1080 | Office: 1+ (888) 889-7757 | Other: (432) 689-6985
Email: r.ritchie@chinaaid.org
Website: www.chinaaid.org
Bloomberg Business
by Nicole Gaouette
June 25, 2015 — 11:05 PM CDT

Repression, coercion, corruption and persecution are routine tools of China’s government, according to a U.S. human rights report released a day after high-level talks between the countries ended in Washington.

The State Department presented its “Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2014” on Thursday, four months after Congress’s Feb. 25 deadline. Republican critics have suggested the delay was intended not only to smooth the way for the China talks -- which ended with few tangible results -- but also to avoid roiling nuclear talks with Iran that are in their final stages.

Secretary of State John Kerry unveiled the annual report a day before heading to Vienna for efforts to reach agreement with Iranian officials by a June 30 deadline. This year’s version finds that Iran employed arbitrary detention, torture and killings; that its security forces operated with impunity; and that politically motivated violence and repression was rife.


In May, Republican Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, who’s running for president, and five colleagues wrote Kerry about the delayed report, saying that Iran’s human rights record was “inextricably intertwined” with its nuclear ambitions. “The history of the twentieth century elucidates a dangerous axis between internal suppression of human rights and external aggression,” the senators wrote.
Iran’s Executions

Iran metes out the death penalty for offenses including “outrage against high-ranking officials” and “insults against the memory of Imam Khomeini” who led the 1979 revolution that toppled the Shah of Iran and ended relations with the U.S., according to the report. Iran defends its use of flogging and amputation as “punishment,” not torture, it said.

The 45-page section on Iran notes that individuals have been arbitrarily killed and detained, but it doesn’t mention Americans by name. Washington Post bureau chief Jason Rezaian, referred to only as “a dual-citizen journalist,” was arrested in July 2014, and has been denied access to consular visits, legal representation and release on bail, the report said.

“With respect to Iran, I can’t say we’ve seen any meaningful improvement” since the election of President Hassan Rouhani, said Tom Malinowski, the assistant secretary of state for democracy, human rights and labor, who briefed reporters on the department’s findings.
Cuba’s Abuses

The report also repeats criticism of Cuba, despite President Barack Obama’s moves toward normalizing relations with the island nation.

Cuba, the report found, remains a place where human rights abuses are committed with impunity by officials at the behest of the government. The 31-page section describes arbitrary detentions and arrests; restrictions on travel, academic freedom and the Internet; and violent government-organized counterprotests against peaceful dissent.

The U.S. has “not seen a letup in day-to-day harassment” in Cuba, Malinowski said. He and other administration officials have said their decision to engage Cuba eventually will improve the human rights situation there, and that they regularly raise the subject in talks with their counterparts worldwide.

“The United States will continue to stand up for universal human rights and freedoms that all people desire and should enjoy,” Kerry said at the close of the talks with China on Wednesday. “These rights and freedoms are vital to stability and prosperity.”
Findings Ignored

China, as it has in years past, responded with a rights report of its own, criticizing the U.S. for “showing not a bit of regret for or intention to improve its own terrible human rights record.” Evidence cited by China included gun violence, police discrimination, Central Intelligence Agency torture and the influence of money in politics.

Rights groups praised the U.S. report as an objective assessment of the performance of the country’s allies and enemies. The problem, said John Sifton, an advocacy director at Human Rights Watch in Washington, was that the government “too often disregards its findings in formulating U.S. foreign policy.”

While the report includes summaries on particularly abusive regimes, including Iraq and Saudi Arabia, Sifton said, in places it “allows the emphasis on non-state actors,” such as Islamic State and Boko Haram, “to upstage abuses by governments which are fighting those groups.”

“The U.S. government needs to do a better job incorporating this report’s findings into its relationships with countries around the world,” Sifton said.
China, Russia

The report portrays modern-day China as a ruthlessly repressive political system that regularly deploys extralegal measures to keep dissent in check, particularly among groups such as Uigurs, a Muslim minority group, and Tibetans.

The report noted the disappearance of influential Tibetan monk Tenzin Lhundrup, who advocated for the preservation of Tibetan identity.

Throughout China, officials use “enforced disappearance and strict house arrest, including house arrest of family members, to prevent public expression of independent opinions,” the report said. Attempts to exert control extended to cyberspace, the report found, as China’s “authorities continued to censor and tightly control public discourse on the Internet.”

In Russia, significant human rights problems include restrictions on freedoms of assembly, expression and association, the report said.

President Vladimir Putin’s government has increasingly suppressed dissent, the report said. “The government passed new repressive laws and selectively employed existing ones systematically to harass, discredit, prosecute, imprison, detain, and fine individuals and entities that engaged in activities critical of the government,” it said.


China Aid Contacts
Rachel Ritchie, English Media Director
Cell: (432) 553-1080 | Office: 1+ (888) 889-7757 | Other: (432) 689-6985
Email: r.ritchie@chinaaid.org
Website: www.chinaaid.org
People gather around the scene of a car accident, which was
faked by an individual thought to have been hired by the 
local government to harass lawyers defending house church
Christians in Daguan, Guizhou, on June 19, 2015.
(Photo courtesy of Xiao Yunyang.)
 China Aid

(Daguan, Guizhou—June 25, 2015) A group of lawyers investigating the persecution of a house church in southwest China's Guizhou province were set upon by a group of more than 100 people, believed to have been mobilized by a special police unit, in the second such incident in three weeks.

The June 18 clash took place in the county of Qianxi as nine lawyers, including the well-known Beijing rights defense lawyer Zhang Kai, and a Guizhou pastor, Yang Hua, were driving to the town of Daguan to look into the case of persecution against 12 local house church Christians who had been administratively detained for 10 days following a May 24 police raid on their Sunday worship service, according to Qiao Nong, China Aids special correspondent in Hong Kong.

The Daguan church felt that the detentions were illegal and hired a lawyer to file an administrative lawsuit on behalf of the detained Christians against the county Public Security Bureau, which had imposed the sentence, asking that the decision be invalidated.

Pastor Yang and the nine lawyers were followed by several vehicles, two of which had no license plates, when they were driving to the town of Daguan from the county seat, where they had tried unsuccessfully to meet with the Christians involved in the case.

When they arrived in Daguan, several motorcycles approached and began to harass them, and faked a collision that forced the group of lawyers to stop their vehicle and get out, whereupon they were immediately surrounded by dozens of unidentified men who began to curse at them and threaten them,

Then “we were besieged by more than a hundred people,” Pastor Yang said. “They were people sent by the Domestic Security Protection Squad to besiege us. They smashed the car and hit us. Nine lawyers were at the scene, including lawyer Zhang Kai.”

The group, fearing for their lives, abandoned their vehicle and sought refuge in the local police station. The incident happened around 6 p.m.

Yang said the lawyers called 110 to report the incident to the police, but the police did not apprehend anyone.

“They did not catch them or give any explanation. There were too many people, around 100-200 people. Some were villagers, they came to besiege us. Right now we are hiding in the Police Station,” Pastor Yang said by phone to Qiao. When Qiao phoned the police station to ask about the people hiding there, the female officer who answered said she was unaware of anyone taking refuge in the station but acknowledged that the station had received the 110 call and had sent officers out to investigate.

A photograph of the scene showed a private family vehicle stopped on the road with a motorcycle in front of it, toppled to the ground, and many people standing around the white vehicle.

The June 18 clash was the second time in three weeks that lawyers involved in the Daguan house church case have been set upon in the course of their rights defense work. On May 29, when Pastor Yang, lawyer Li Guisheng and two others went to the Qianxi County Public Security Bureau and detention center trying unsuccessfully to meet with the detainees, they were threatened by more than 10 unidentified knife-wielding men who followed them all the way from the county seat to the town of Daguan.

More than 300 Christians are members of the Daguan house church, which was founded 13 years ago and is typical of house churches across China. Weekly attendance at the Sunday worship services is about 80.

During the May 24 raid, as many as 80 public security and anti-riot police rounded up 30 church members and then administratively detained 12 of them for “engaging in illegal religious activities.” Police also searched the premises and confiscated church property.

When the church held a Sunday worship service on June 7 in a church members private home, local Domestic Security Protection agents climbed over a wall to set up surveillance of the meeting.

That evening, when church members went to the provincial capital of Guiyang to seek advice from lawyer Li Guisheng, police raced to the hotel they were meeting at and rounded them all up. The lawyer was released an hour later after being summoned to the police station for questioning, and the six or seven Christians taken away by police from Qianxi County.

Below is a written record of the events of June 18-19, as told by lawyer Xiao Yunyang, which has been translated and edited by China Aid:

Account of human rights defense by the Daguan house church in Qianxi County (Part 2) 

At around 12 p.m.. on June 18, 2015, Zhang Kai and eight other lawyers arrived in Guiyang to defend the rights of the house church in Qianxi County. Unlike last time, lawyers from different places united to defend the church. There were nine lawyers and one college professor, Zhuang Daohe from Zhejiang, involved. Lawyers, besides me, Xiao Yunyang, included:

Zhang Kai from Beijing         Wang Hongjie from Guangzhou      Lei Xiaodong from Xian

Deng Qinggao from Fujian     Liu Dapeng from Beijing                Cheng Xiaogang from Chengdu

Lin Zhigang from Shanghai    Li Guisheng from Guizhou

When Zhang Kai left the airport, he was followed. The person who followed him did a very poor job, openly taking pictures of him. After Zhang Kai caught him taking pictures, he demanded that the man delete all the images. Upon seeing and hearing Zhang Kai’s loud voice, bold face, and muscular figure, the man was afraid and unwillingly deleted the images he took of Zhang Kai.

In order to save time, we headed directly to Qianxi County and did not eat lunch. On our way, we were followed by many cars. After all, there are no secrets in the information era. We are defending human rights, the dignity of the law, and the rights of the people. We have no need to hide. We openly announce what we are doing. We were “escorted” along the way. What a luxury service we were “enjoying!”

We arrived at the Qianxi County Detention Center at 4:15 p.m. and asked to see the detainees, but the detention center rejected the request, saying that they were closed. After discussing amongst ourselves, we decided to go to the house church in Daguan township. We arrived at the church just before 6:30 p.m., but the church was empty. The locals told us that church members had been detained by the police station before we arrived.

We decided to visit the Daguan Police Station. Zhang Kai had already received a phone call from the Qianxi County Public Security director, Cheng, who asked to meet us at the Daguan Police Station. We met Director Cheng and Deputy Director Hao. We asked the police at the station where the church members had been taken? All the policemen said that they had not done or heard anything about the church members being taken. We wondered who would have the courage to pretend that the police had kidnaped people.

Hao and Cheng welcomed us enthusiastically. Cheng said that Zhang Kai is his friend on WeChat. They invited us to dinner and said that it would just be a friendly dinner with no discussion of the case. Led by Cheng, we went to a sushi restaurant located in Qianxi County. Before dinner, Hao asked for and recorded the name, phone number, and law firm of each lawyer. I was wondering in my head whether we would a receive phone call from the Ministry of Justice the next day. Not long after, delicious wild fish was brought to the table.

Hao soon left because he had too much to drink. Cheng stayed and toasted each lawyer frequently. Although we had agreed not to discuss the case, after we drank a couple of rounds, we were relaxed and laid aside the previous agreement. We started to discuss the case and requested that the church members be released. Cheng said he could release the church members, but the church needed to close forever. We believed that if the church members were eligible to be released, that implied they did not break the law, let alone commit any sins. It’s is not for a lawyer to say whether the church will or will not close.

The negotiations at dinner ended with our request to meet the detainees tomorrow. Cheng said if our request to meet the detainees was rejected by the detention center, we should come see him. He could help us to meet Dai Xiaoqiang from the church. The dinner ended at 1:30 a.m., and Cheng introduced us to Yong Guirong and brought us to one of the county’s five-star hotels.

At 10:30 a.m on the second day, we went to the detention center, where we got inside very easily. After registration, Zhang Kai was getting ready to meet Dai Xiaoqiang, and Wang Hongjie and Lei Xiaodong were getting ready to meet Huang Huaxing. Lin Zhigang and I were getting ready to meet Zhou Xunmin. The police at the detention center told us that there were only two meeting rooms for lawyers, which were currently occupied by other lawyers and that we needed to wait patiently until they finished their meetings. The police told us that we could meet the detainees at noon because they wouldn’t take a break that day.

At that time, we saw that there were six empty meeting rooms. We asked to meet in the empty rooms but were told that they were for the police and that if we were allowed to use them, the officers who let us would be punished. Our request was denied, so we had to wait patiently. The meeting rooms for lawyers were occupied for a long time. At first, we thought either it was because the lawyers were very responsible and had countless questions to ask or because the lawyers were not very good. Finally, after we waited an hour and a half, I requested that the officers ask the lawyers to finish their meetings soon. I told them that we were not from the area and that I hoped they could understand and cooperate with us. They replied that they would be done very soon, but they weren’t.

At 12:30 p.m., I barged into the meeting room and confronted the lawyers. I noticed that the whole record of their long meeting was less than half a page. As it was time for lunch at the detention center; the police officers came and asked those lawyers to leave. Then we noticed that the lawyers did not retrieve their lawyer’s licenses at the lawyers’ welcome room and instead walked directly out of the detention center. At this time, the police told us that we cannot meet at noon. They asked us to come back at 2:30 p.m. We finally realized that this was a trap set by the Qianxi County Public Security Bureau. Since they had no reason to reject our request to meet the detainees, they used these despicable tricks on us.

We decided not to go to lunch but to occupy the meeting rooms. Suddenly, the person in charge of the meeting room Deng Jinmei was in yelled at us and asked us to leave and come back after 2:30 p.m. We argued with the man. Zhang Kai said that he would sue the detention center for allowing non-lawyers to meet with the detainees. Zhang Kai asked the person in charge for the rooms’ records, which allowed us to occupy the meeting rooms.

At around 1:30 p.m., a man named Yang, the detention center’s director, invited us to meet. In order to protect the right to rest of the detainees, he said, he would arrange for us to meet the detainees at 2:30 p.m. I asked Yang: “Will we for sure be allowed to meet with the detainees at 2:30 p.m.?” He answered uncertainly: “We need to see what the case looks like then.” Why not see right now? I thought. Apparently, he’s setting another trap. We knew then that our request to meet would not be granted.

Yang came again at 2:30 p.m. He pretended to review the case and the detainees we wanted to meet and said: “I know about this case. The related department dealing with this case already told me that you need to attain permission from them in order to meet with the detainees.”

We said: “This case is not one of those cases that need permission from the related department dealing with this case because this case is not subject to Criminal Procedural Law.”

Yang said: “It is not right to not allow you to meet the detainees. The related department dealing with this case already notified us that we need to ask for permission.”

So Yang went to seek permission. At 3:00 p.m., he came back and said that the related department dealing with this case did not give us permission. Confronted by such unlawful behavior from those in power, we had no choice but to leave the detention center and go file a complaint.

The first complaint was against the person in charge of the meeting room at the detention center. The employee at the complaints department who received us yelled at us. We asked him to write down our complaint. After Zhang Kai’s argument with him, he took out a pen and paper and recorded our accusations:

1. The detention center illegally allowed non-lawyers to meet with detainees.

2. The detention center did not allow lawyers to meet their clients.

3. The detention center illegally exploited the detainees.

We found that the detention center’s registration book showed that only one lawyer came to meet with the detainees that morning. The detention center told us that four lawyers came before us to meet with the detainees. The Qianxi County Public Security Bureau openly broke the law in order to stop us from meeting with our clients. These actions are humiliating to the Central Committee’s principal of ruling the country according to the law.

We decided to visit the Christians at the church in Daguan. On our way, we were followed by more than 10 cars. Two of the cars did not have license plates. When we went through a village, the car following us got close, so we stopped our car. A man around 40 years old riding a motorcycle with no license plate came near to look into Pastor Yang Hua and Zhang Kai’s car.

At around 7 p.m., we arrived in front of the Daguan Police Station. The Volkswagen with no license plate was blocking the way in front of us. A Honda with no license plate was following Zhang Kai’s car. Our car was moving very slowly. The motorcycle with no license plate that looked at Zhang Kai’s car bumped us on our wheel with its wheel. Then the man on the motorcycle pretended to fall. Immediately, dozens of muscular men came out of the cars that were following us and began to smash our car’s doors and windows. The car was damaged.

At this time, more than 200 people were surrounding us. Zhang Kai was trapped in the car. Someone in the crowd commanded people to try to flip the car. Pastor Yang and Zhang Kai got out of the car and started to negotiate with them. The mob of people surrounded us and started to curse and threatened to beat us. No one answered when we called 110. Meanwhile, the man who pretended to be hit by our car, Fu Mingxiang, showed up. He had some bruises on his arm (There are risks in pretending to be hit by a car). This man said that he needed medical treatment. Pastor Yang spent 4,000 Yuan (U.S. $644) on the man’s medical treatment. The accident is still being investigated. This man’s vehicle does not have license plates. He bumped into the car from the back while trying to pass us. We are waiting to see how this instance will be handled.

That night, all the lawyers traveled back to Guiyang. We are still terrified by what happened, but our defense of human rights will not stop.

Wang Zuoan, the director of the State Administration of Religious Affairs (SARA), said: “Religion will last for a long time. We need to treat and deal with it with a long-term point of view. We need to maintain the pattern of history and sustain it in the long run. We must not be anxious to attain our goals, which could end up in failure and cause much damage. We need to pay special attention to follow the development of the history rather than overthrow or forbid religion with political power. Such theory is ridiculous and stupid to be practiced in real life. This will bring tremendous damage to the Party and the development of the country.”

Xiao Yunyang

Written on June 20, 2015, in Guiyang


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