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The man who threatened to skin Bai
Fengju alive.
(Photo: China Aid)
China Aid
Reported in Chinese by Qiao Nong. Translated by Carolyn Song. Written in English by Brynne Lawrence.

(Nanyang, Henan—June 24, 2016) “I’ll skin you alive if you dare to complain again,” an official told a Christian in China’s central Henan province as a demolition team reclaimed his property on June 12.

A gang hired by government officials seized a three-acre soybean field on June 12 belonging to Bai Fengju, a local Christian, in order to build a Buddhist temple on the site. A week earlier, they forcibly took the land only to later return it, offer him 2,000 Yuan (U.S. $304) in compensation and personally apologize after another Christian posted pictures of the bulldozed field on social media. However, despite the apparent reconciliation, the gang returned and resumed digging trenches, building walls for the temple and destroying crops.

When Bai confronted an official, the man said: “Go home and wait in your room. I’ll find you and skin you.”

Additionally, Bai noted that the demolition team “spoke rudely” to him, and the construction carried on into the next day.

China Aid exposes abuses, such as those experienced by Bai Fengju, in order to promote religious freedom and rule of law in China.


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Voice of America
By Hu Wei
June 24, 2016 12:00 am

■ China continues to harvest organs from prisoners on a massive scale, according to a new report that finds prisoners of conscience, including Falun Gong practitioners, remain the primary target.

In 2006, Canadian human rights lawyer David Matas and former Canadian Asia-Pacific Secretary of State David Kilgour began an investigation into accusations of the Chinese government's role in harvesting the organs of Falun Gong practitioners.

Their published findings, "Bloody Harvest: Revised Report into Allegations of Organ Harvesting of Falun Gong Practitioners in China," attracted international attention.

File - Falun Gong practitioners simulate organ harvesting in a
mock Chinese labor camp in front of the Presidential Office in
Taipei, Taiwan, April 23, 2006, in protest against China's
suspected abuse and killing of Falun Gong members.
On Wednesday, they published an even more comprehensive report that finds the scale of organ harvesting has significantly increased. According to these latest findings, the number of China's annual organ transplant surgeries far surpasses Beijing's official estimate of 10,000.

"We look at individual hospitals that do transplants through their websites, their publications, their newsletters, their back calendars and patient volume and so on, and at a variety of indicators going hospital by hospital," Matas told VOA. "There are around 900 hospitals that do transplants. We don't give a specific figure but we can say it is much larger than the 10,000 a year — at minimum 60,000 a year and probably more than that."

China's former Health Minister Huang Jiefu once stated that, prior to 2014, executed prisoners were the main source of harvested organs. However, China puts to death only a few thousand prisoners annually, leaving a large supply of harvested organs unsourced. Matas and Kilgour concluded that Falun Gong prisoners of conscience were the primary source of the organ supply.

File - Indonesian Falun Gong followers carry placards during a
protest in front of U.S. embassy in Jakarta, April 19, 2006. A
group of protesters called on U.S. President George W. Bush to
raise the issue of China harvesting organs from Chinese
people during his talks with Chinese President Hu Jintao.
Documentary film corroboration

In 2015, Canadian documentary filmmaker Leon Lee won a Peabody Award for Human Harvest, which follows Matas and Kilgour as they interview patients and their family members who went to China to have organ transplant surgery.

"In Canada and America, the waiting time to receive kidneys or livers can be two or three years; most of the patients we interviewed waited two weeks at most — it was less than a month before they went to have the surgery," Lee told VOA.

Lee said investigators posing as transplant patients recorded calls to more than 100 hospitals inquiring about problems relating to organ transplant procedures. They discovered that, when asked about the source of the organs, approximately 15 percent of doctors admitted the organs were mainly from Falun Gong practitioners.

"Among the top-rated hospitals we investigated, we discovered that hospitals with an organ-transplant department had a huge growth trend in the number of organ transplants after the year 2000," he said. "We believe that this organized governmental action is widespread throughout the whole country, not private affairs conducted by an individual doctor and a public security organ."

Testimonies in exile

Before Crystal Chen came to the United States, she was twice detained by Chinese authorities who placed her in a women's forced labor camp in Guangzhou.

File - Dr. Wenyi Wang (C) holds a press conference with
others, who preferred not to be identified, in Arlington,
Virginia, April 26, 2006, about her having interrupted Chinese
President Hu during his speech at the White House in
Washington. Wang said she interrupted Hu to bring global
attention to the organ harvesting from living Falun Gong
practitioners in China. 
Speaking with VOA from New York, she recalls "special health benefits" Falun Gong practitioners received at the camp.

"I remembered they performed blood tests on us Falun Gong practitioners, not just once, but regularly, and it was to prepare for a possible match," she said.

Fellow Falun Gong practitioner Ma Chunmei also completed multiple sentences in a women's forced labor camp in Jilin province before arriving on U.S. soil in 2004. One day in 2002, she was forcibly taken for bone marrow testing at a hospital, despite her otherwise perfect health.

"I knew they wanted to harm me," Ma recalled. "They performed three blood tests but gave me no results. After I was released from the camp, one of practitioners, who happened to be a doctor, told me they were doing a bone marrow test to see if my kidney was a match."

In 2002, Meng Lan was sentenced to forced labor for attending a Falun Gong event in Beijing. Her detention featured not only multiple episodes of torture by camp officials, but twice weekly blood tests.

According to Zhang Erping, a spokesman for the New York-based Falun Dafa Information Center, Chinese officials have a specific reason for targeting Falun Gong practitioners.

"When Western reporters posing as transplant patients inquired about the origins of the organs, some hospitals directly told them the organs came from Falun Gong practitioners because they exercise and are healthy so the organs are guaranteed to have no problems," he told VOA.

International condemnation

In December 2013, the European Parliament passed a motion urging the Chinese Communist Party officials to stop forced organ harvesting from prisoners of conscience.

File - Falun Gong practitioners simulate organ harvesting in a
mock Chinese labor camp in front of the Presidential Office in
Taipei, Taiwan, April 23, 2006, in protest against China's
suspected abuse and killing of Falun Gong members.
Enver Tohti, a Uighur from Xinjiang province and former surgeon, testified before the European Parliament, saying that before he left China for England in 1998, he himself conducted a live organ harvesting surgery.

One day in 1995, Tohti recalled, he was sent to an execution ground in Urumqi to harvest the kidneys and liver of a prisoner who had been shot to death. Upon cutting into the body, he found that the blood continued to circulate, indicating the prisoner was not completely dead.

"From my experience, this occurrence of this type of event is entirely possible," he said. "Before China's health care reform, when doctors lost their jobs, it was very hard for them to find another one, especially at hospitals like the railway hospital I worked at, because it is like a paramilitary unit. When the boss told you to do something, you must obey the orders."

On June 13, the U.S. House of Representatives unanimously passed a resolution urging China to stop harvesting the organs of prisoners of conscience.

However, Chinese embassy spokesperson Zhu Haiquan responded that the allegations of organ harvesting were fabricated.

The Chinese government emphasized that from 2015 onward it had completely stopped using death row prisoners to source organ transfers, and has now adopted a voluntary organ donation system.

This report was produced in collaboration with VOA's Mandarin Service.


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Christian Daily
Lorraine Caballero
22 June, 2016 7:13 pm

■ A house church in the southern province of Guangdong, China is being harassed by authorities in a growing crackdown on unofficial churches.

Pastor Zhang of Zhongfu Canaan Church was summoned by authorities over the possibility of transferring their church, the minister told China Aid on June 7. The officials, who inquired about their funding and church members, also asked Zhongfu to stop their "illegal gatherings" and become part of the state-sanctioned Three-Self Patriotic Movement (TSPM).

However, Zhang refused to join the TSPM and told the authorities that Zhongfu has existed for a few decades already. After that, their house church started experiencing harassment from officials of various government departments who insist that they need to move out of their location immediately.

Believers take part in a weekend mass at an underground
Catholic church in Tianjin, November 10, 2013.
(Reuters/Kim Kyung-Hoon)
Some government officials accused Zhongfu of operating with inadequate firefighting system. This method of harassment has led Christians in Guangdong and Shenzhen to worry about a growing mission to suppress religious expression.

"The town government [that operates] in the village hasn't come to find us yet, but the landlord said today that officials from the public security, firefighting and various other industry and commerce departments will soon enforce the law here," Pastor Zhang told China Aid. "No [official] has come yet [to enforce], but the landlord is already very frightened. He said, 'You need to move out immediately ...' This is our current circumstance," he continued.

A recent China Aid report reflects that Christian persecution in the communist country has soared sevenfold since 2008. The government is trying to take control of Christian churches and replace Jesus Christ as the head of the church with the authority of the Communist Party, Christian Today details.

The report also reveals that the province of Zheijiang is the worst hit by the anti-Christian crackdown. At the end of 2015, the state has forcibly demolished more than 20 churches, removed 1,300 crosses, arrested more than 500 Christians, and charged at least 28 pastors in the said province.


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A plainclothes official videotapes
Zhongfu Wanmin Church.
(Photo: China Aid)
China Aid
Reported in Chinese by Qiao Nong. Translated by Carolyn Song. Written in English by Brynne Lawrence.

(Dongguan, Guangdong—June 23, 2016) Authorities from several different government departments have raided a house church in China’s southern Guangdong province seven times since May 1.

Zhongfu Wanmin Church, located in Dongguan, has been the focus of a concerted persecution effort by authorities over the past two months. Over the course of seven separate raids, the church has had their donations stolen, members accused of illegal activities and have been pressured to register with China’s government-sanctioned Protestant church, the Three-Self Patriotic Movement (TSPM).

On May 29, the local religious affairs and public security bureaus dispatched officers to Zhongfu Wanmin Church, interrupting 30 Christians who were gathered there to pray. They pulled the pastor’s wife, Huang Xiaorui, from the pulpit, accused the church members of illegally gathering and pressured them to join the TSPM. Additionally, officers pried open the church’s donation boxes, confiscated 2,888 Yuan (U.S. $439), ordered church members not to take any pictures or video footage of the event and intimidated some of the women until they cried.

In a subsequent administrative penalty notice, issued later that day, the authorities classified the donation money as “illegal income,” since it was used for unregistered religious activities. The notice allowed the church three days to file a complaint against the government’s actions, but they didn’t receive it until the day of the deadline, June 1.

Officials raided another of the church’s buildings on June 3. Huang said that the church usually meets in the building on Friday nights but had decided to meet in the home of a Christian on the night of the raid. As a result, the building was locked, and no one was there.

Two days later, a group of officials arrived at the church again and photographed the building and Christians at the service. These officers refused to show identification.

During the most recent raid on June 12, more officials came to the church. According to Huang: “They came while I was leading worship on the stage. There were about seven or eight of them, as well as some plainclothes police officers, all sitting below me. I could not quite hear their conversation, since I didn’t come down from the stage. I asked for their identification after I finished, but none of them gave it to me. Today, it didn’t seem as if they sat there for as long as the last time, and they took fewer pictures and did not videotape. I asked them which department they are from, and they just said they were from ‘a government department.’ I said, ‘The government has very many departments; how am I supposed to know which department you are from?’ They just said they were from an affairs bureau.”

This spring’s raids have been part of a long series of government action against the church. Officials began targeting the church on Aug. 23, 2015, when plainclothes officers from the public security bureau and religious affairs bureau interrupted a church service and produced a notice from the Dongguan Municipal Religious Affairs Bureau that accused church members of collectively conducting illegal religious activities and ordered them to stop.

Huang said that the church repeatedly sued the religious affairs bureau, demanding that the notice be revoked. After the court repeatedly upheld the original ruling, police told the church members that they shouldn’t believe the teachings of the pastor, Li Peng, because he had lost the case and encouraged them to instead join the TSPM.

China Aid exposes abuses, such as those suffered by the members of Zhongfu Wanmin Church, in order to promote religious freedom and rule of law in China.

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China Aid
By Ava Collins

(Guangzhou, Guangdong—June 22, 2016) On June 6, authorities criminally detained a member of a house church in Guangzhou, the capital of China’s southern Guangdong province, accusing him of “illegal business operations” after he printed religious materials.

Officers from multiple government departments criminally detained Li Hongmin, a member of Guangfu Church, after he printed various religious materials. These authorities confiscated all of the materials, as well as Li’s phone and other items from his home.

A local Christian told China Aid’s reporter that at the time of the detention, government officers told Li that he would be allowed to go home after two hours but did not release him as promised. Members of the religious affairs bureau, cultural affairs bureau, Huangshou Street Police Station and other active duty police officers were involved in the event.

“Those police officers went back to his house and told [his wife] that her husband needed a cell phone, and that was how they obtained his phone. Then the officers came back that night to take away his things. They lied and said that Li would only be detained for seven days, tricking his family members into paying a fee to the detention center,” the Christian said.

According to Li’s wife, several dozen officers arrived in the evening to search the house and did not leave until the following morning.

“Dozens of people smoked and drank the water at my house,” Li’s wife said. “They just stayed there until six o’clock the next morning, not to mention how they finished two cases of my [bottled] water. They sent another group of people today [June 3], but I did not let them in. I told them to stay away from my house if they did not have anything specific to do. We could not stand their smoking.”

Li’s wife expressed her disbelief at the severity of the charges against her husband. “The materials we printed were not heresies. They were not opposed to the Communist Party in any way. On the contrary, they teach people to help others, to love their fellow countrymen, their home and their country.”

China Aid reports on instances of religious persecution such as detention of Li Hongmin and intrusion upon his house in order to expose abuses by the Chinese government.



Li Hongmin's detention notice.
(Photo: China Aid)
Baiyun District Sub-bureau of the Guangzhou Municipal Public Security Bureau
Detention Notice

Baiyun District Sub-bureau of the Guangzhou Municipal Public Security Bureau 
Detention Notice No. [2016] 02264

To the family members of Li Hongmin:

According to Article 80 of the Criminal Law of the People’s Republic of China, our bureau criminally detained Li Hongmin on June 3 at 11:00 on suspicion of illegal business operations. He is currently detained at the Baiyun District Detention Center in Guangzhou.

Baiyun District Sub-bureau of the Guangzhou Municipal Public Security Bureau 
[Seal]
June 3, 2016

Note: The address of the detention center is Wulong Hill, Zhong Luotan Town, Baiyun District, Guangzhou


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Associated Press
By Kelvin Chan
Jun. 19, 2016 7:11 am EDT

■ Hong Kong (AP) — A Hong Kong bookseller whose disappearance sparked international concern said Sunday that he was so despondent during his detention by authorities in mainland China that he considered suicide.

Lam Wing-kee told The Associated Press that he thought about using his clothes to hang himself but couldn't find a way to do it in the small room where he was kept under constant watch for five months.

Lam and four other men who worked for a Hong Kong publishing company disappeared last year, only to turn up months later in police custody on the mainland.

Hong Kong bookseller Lam Wing-kee listens to a reporter's
question during an interview in Hong Kong, Sunday, June 19,
2016. The Hong Kong bookseller whose disappearance sparked
international concern says he was so despondent during his
detention by authorities in mainland China that he considered
suicide. In an interview Sunday, Lam told The Associated
Press that he thought about using his clothes to hang himself
but couldn't find a way to do it in the small room where he was
kept under constant watch for five months.
(AP Photo/Vincent Yu)
The publisher specialized in gossipy books on China's communist leadership that were popular with Chinese visitors to Hong Kong but banned on the mainland.

Their case raised concerns that Beijing is tightening its hold on the former British colony and undermining its considerable autonomy. Hong Kong retains rule of law and civil liberties such as freedom of speech unseen on the mainland under its status as a special Chinese administrative region that runs until 2047.

Lam, 60, returned to Hong Kong on Tuesday, following three other colleagues who had done so earlier. But he went off the script written for him by the Chinese authorities and spoke out Thursday at a news conference, giving a harrowing account of his ordeal, which unfolded when he paid a visit to the neighboring mainland city of Shenzhen in October.

He was handcuffed and blindfolded, taken on a 13-hour train ride and then confined to a small room for months while he was interrogated about the authors writing for the Mighty Current publishing company and the customers at its Causeway Bay Bookshop, which he managed.

Lam's story contradicted the version of events given by his colleagues to Chinese media and Hong Kong police, in which they said they traveled to the mainland voluntarily to aid in investigations or confess to crimes. Lam said he was forced to sign a confession admitting to illegally mailing books to mainland buyers.

Lam said his interrogators were particularly interested in details about the writers behind two of the company's books.

Hong Kong bookseller Lam Wing-kee speaks during an
interview in Hong Kong, Sunday, June 19, 2016. The Hong Kong
bookseller whose disappearance sparked international concern
says he was so despondent during his detention by authorities
in mainland China that he considered suicide. In an interview
Sunday, Lam told The Associated Press that he thought about
using his clothes to hang himself but couldn't find a way to do it
in the small room where he was kept under constant watch for
five months. (AP Photo/ Vincent Yu)
One was about a Communist Party directive that urged officials to curb the spread of ideas such as press freedom, judicial independence, civil rights, civil society and the party's historic mistakes. It was based on a high-level internal circular leaked in 2013 that was seen as an attempt to attack Western democratic ideals and crush dissent to protect the party's rule.

The other book was about the purported love lives of President Xi Jinping and other Chinese leaders.

"At the later stage of interrogation, I was questioned about information of authors, whether I knew these authors, the source of transcripts," Lam said. "I was asked to give detailed accounts. I didn't know much about the authors because I was there to sell books. I could only tell them the limited information I knew."

One of Lam's most frightening times came when two unidentified men arrived from Beijing to aggressively question him. They accused him of trying to "overthrow the Chinese government by mailing books to mainland customers, maliciously defaming Chinese leaders and causing terrible influence and damage to society," he said.

"I was told I could be put in prison for 20 to 30 years or even life imprisonment, without any announcement following the sentence," he said.

Lam's mental health deteriorated.

"I planned to end my life in the quickest way," he said.

But there was nothing in the room that he could use to kill himself. He couldn't carry out his plan with his pants because there was nowhere to hang them from. The people watching him also took away any hard objects he could use to hurt himself.

Lam said he has stopped worrying about his safety after speaking out publicly.

"That's not my main concern, it's not so important," he said. "I know I made the right decision."


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Human Rights Watch
June 17, 2016

■ Xia Lin, Zhou Shifeng Face Politically Motivated Prosecutions
(New York) – The Chinese authorities should immediately drop politically motivated cases and release Xia Lin, Zhou Shifeng, and other detained human rights lawyers, Human Rights Watch said today.

Both Xia Lin, who has defended activists and victims of rights abuses in a number of well-known cases, and Zhou Shifeng, director of the embattled Beijing Fengrui Law Firm, face prosecutions that appear linked to their human rights legal work, Human Rights Watch said. Xia’s case is scheduled for trial on June 17, 2016. On June 12, police recommended Zhou’s case for prosecution. These actions come nearly one year after the government engaged in a mass round-up of human rights lawyers.

“The Chinese government’s hostility toward human rights lawyers has not eased since the mass arrest of legal professionals last July,” said Sophie Richardson, China director at Human Rights Watch. “This heavy-handed campaign against lawyers can only further diminish public—and global—confidence in China’s justice system.”

Police guard outside the second intermediate people's court
of Beijing, December 22, 2015. © 2015 Reuters
The authorities have charged Xia Lin with extortion stemming from money he had allegedly borrowed from private individuals, though none of those individuals had filed police reports or brought civil claims prior to Xia’s detention. The case against Xia appears to be retaliation for his defense of Guo Yushan, the head of a leading Beijing think tank, Transition Institute, in 2014. Guo was detained in October 2014, and Xia was taken into custody a month later. Xia was initially also detained for gambling, though that charge was eventually dropped. His case has been delayed twice as the procuratorate has sent it back to the police due to insufficient evidence.

Among those that Xia has defended include Deng Yujiao, a hotel worker who killed a government official in self-defense against attempted rape, and Tan Zuoren, a Sichuan activist who was imprisoned for investigating the causes of school collapse during the Sichuan earthquake in 2008.

Xia’s case has been rife with procedural irregularities, Human Rights Watch said. Police took Xia into custody without presenting a warrant to his family. China’s Criminal Procedure Law requires that a suspect’s family be informed within 24 hours of an individual’s formal detention, but Xia’s family was not informed of his whereabouts or the charges against him for five days. From November 2014 to February 2015, detention center officials repeatedly denied the requests of Xia’s lawyer to meet him, contrary to Chinese law allowing such access, claiming they were “checking his lawyer’s documents.”

Zhou Shifeng has been charged with subversion, a serious political crime that can result in a life sentence. Zhou’s prosecution stems from the mass detentions and interrogations of lawyers and activists in connection with the Beijing Fengrui Law Firm, which has hired lawyers undertaking human rights defense work. Beginning on July 9, 2015, authorities took into custody more than 300 people across the country. Most were released after a day or two of questioning, though 24 are still in detention, according to the Hong Kong-based group Chinese Human Rights Lawyers Concern Group. Eleven of the 24 are lawyers and legal assistants.

Shortly after the wave of detentions began, state media outlets published unsubstantiated allegations about lawyers, activists, and the Beijing Fengrui Law Firm, calling them “a major criminal gang” that “aim[s] to create disturbances and disturb order” in the name of “defending [human] rights.” On July 18, Xinhua quoted the alleged confession of Zhou, stating that he had said the firm “had broken the law” and “brought great risks to social stability.”

During their more than 11 months of detention, these lawyers and legal assistants have been held incommunicado, during which they have had no access to lawyers of their choice or their family members. Human Rights Watch is seriously concerned about their well-being, as their detention and politicized prosecutions leave them at risk of torture or ill-treatment. In late May, there were reports from activists in Tianjin, where most of the lawyers are being held, that Zhao Wei, detained legal assistant to Li Heping, who is also in custody, had been subjected to unspecified “sexual assault.” Human Rights Watch has been unable to verify this.

The Chinese government has dramatically narrowed space for free expression and civil society since President Xi Jinping came to power in March 2013, Human Rights Watch said. Authorities have targeted a wide range of civil society actors, such as liberal scholars and opinion leaders on social media, while asserting Communist Party supremacy and demanding increasing loyalty to the party.

Human rights lawyers appear to be a particular focus of the government’s assault on civil society, Human Rights Watch said. In December 2015, Beijing lawyer Pu Zhiqiang was convicted for “inciting ethnic hatred” and “disturbing public order” and given a three-year suspended sentence; in January 2016, Guangzhou lawyer Tang Jingling received five years in prison for promoting non-violent civil disobedience; Beijing lawyer Zhang Kai was detained incommunicado between August 2015 and March 2016 for providing legal advice to Christians who resisted the government’s campaign to remove crosses from churches in Zhejiang province.

“The Chinese government is going after lawyers, the very people who have provided a legal safety valve for rising social discontent,” Richardson said. “The government should recognize that embracing their role, rather than imprisoning them, is in the country’s best interests.”


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2016-06-21

■ Jailed human rights activist Guo Feixiong refuses to end his six-week hunger strike despite shedding significant weight, his lawyers said after visiting him in prison in southern Chinese province of Guangdong.

Lawyer Zhang Lei told RFA’s Cantonese Service that the 50-year-old Guo, whose birth name is Yang Maodong, looked very weak during a visit Monday. Zhang is the first visitor to see Guo since May 6, four days after he began fasting.

“Many of his friends and his relatives hope he will stop the hunger strike. We passed their thoughts to him but he clearly expressed that he will not halt the hunger strike,” said Zhang.

“This is a medical issue. From the viewpoint of a layman, I judge that it is very dangerous for a person not to eat for such a long time.”

Zhang said he understands that Guo has been drinking water while on hunger strike.

Guo also discussed with his lawyer appealing his sentence. However, Guo refused to sign the appeal after prison authorities requested he delete part of the statement, Zhang said.

Guangdong rights activist Guo Feixiong in an undated photo.
Photo courtesy of activists
Guo’s sister Yang Maoping, who last visited her brother on May 9, told RFA that the family is seeking approval from authorities to transfer Guo from Yangchun Prison to another facility.

“We are asking them to transfer him to another prison. Yang Maodong also wants to do so,” she told RFA.

“He has blood in his stool and has gastrointestinal problems. I wanted to see him and persuade him to stop the hunger strike and bring him for a gastrointestinal checkup,” said Yang Maoping.

Guo began his hunger strike in early May after being subjected to a forced rectal cavity search at the instigation of state security police, as well as forced head shaving and verbal abuse from prison guards, rights groups have said.

Guo was sentenced last November for "picking quarrels and stirring up trouble" and "gathering a crowd to disrupt social order" after a prolonged period in pretrial detention where he was held alone in a closet-size cell and denied access to the exercise yard for nearly two years.

During his sentencing hearing, Guo shouted in protest at his treatment while in police custody, where he was held in solitary confinement in a small, dark cell and denied permission to exercise outdoors since August 2013.

Reported by Hai Nan for RFA's Cantonese Service. Translated by Wong Lok-to. Written in English by Paul Eckert.



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Worthy News
By Joseph DeCaro
Tuesday, June 21, 2016

■ (Worthy News) - Last month local police detained three Christians in China's Guangdong province for possessing religious materials, including a Bible.

According to China Aid, authorities apprehended two Christians at their workplaces and one from a private residence for possessing the materials. Officials later released one Christian, but the two taken into custody for receiving a Bible remain in detention.

The three arrests were part of the ongoing harassment of the members of the Zhongfu Tongxin Church. The harassment began last August after the congregation refused to join the government-sanctioned "Three-Self Patriotic Movement." As a result, government officials imposed a ban on the congregation for "conducting illegal religious activities" and sealed the building's door. Officials later removed the seal on appeal, but urged the landlord to abruptly end his rental contract with the Tongxin Church congregation.

China Aid exposes official abuse against Christian congregations in order to promote religious freedom and the rule of law in China.


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The Christian Times
By Suzette Gutierrez Cachila
21 June, 2016

■ Human rights lawyers in China remain as the government's targets in its effort to silence critics.

About two weeks ago, three women who protested against the incarceration of their husbands, were taken by police. They were released the following day, but they still have not heard any news about their husbands.
Pro-democracy activist Lui Yuk-lin holds a portrait of
Chinese human rights lawyer Pu Zhiqiang during a protest
calling for the release of Pu and other political prisoners,
outside the Chinese liaison office in Hong Kong July 6, 2014.
(Reuters/Tyrone Siu)

The women's husbands were human rights lawyers who have been held by police for a year now and have not been allowed to communicate with their families.

"There is no way to know the physical situation of my husband," said Wang Qiaoling, one of the women who protested, according to Christian Science Monitor. "I have not seen him since they took him away July 10."

Their case is among the hundreds of human rights lawyers and activists that have been detained with false charges following a crackdown that began last year. According to the China Human Rights Lawyers Concern Group, more than 300 of them have been affected by the crackdown targeting human rights advocates as of May 2016.

Of these, more than 260 were detained temporarily, some of whom have been released and about 25 still being held by authorities. Thrity-nine were forbidden to go out of the country, 12 were released on bail and at least one was put under house arrest.

The Congressional-Executive Commission on China conducted a hearing in May to investigate the Chinese government's activities "to stifle critical discussion of its human rights record and repressive policies."

"Recent cases represent an escalation of China's efforts to blunt scrutiny of its rights record and criticism of government policies," CECC said. China's "heavy-handed tactics" to keep critics quiet are no longer limited within its borders but have become global in reach, according to the CECC.

Some of the methods being used by Chinese authorities include pressuring other nations to "crack down" on those who criticize Beijing, abduction of booksellers from Hong Kong and harassment of foreign human rights activists' families, CECC said.

According to researcher Maya Wang from Human Rights Watch, China's crackdown on human rights lawyers and activists shows only one side of the government's strategy to silence others who voice out their criticisms against the present leadership.

"The purpose is to send a message out to civil society," Wang said, Christian Science Monitor reports. "The message is that the party is in control and no one will be allowed to subvert the state by championing their own version of China's future."


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The Christian Times
Suzette Gutierrez Cachila
19 June, 2016

■ The pastor of a Chinese church was badly injured when a group of people suddenly attacked the church facility before a prayer meeting.

The attack, which caught the church by surprise, was initiated by a regional official of the Communist Party.

According to China Aid, the church was about to hold a prayer meeting when villagers rushed into the facility, destroying whatever they could find including religious literature and Bibles. The attackers kept the church members from praying and worshipping by threatening them with electric cables.

When the attackers left, a church staff was able to call the police for help, but when they arrived, they only observed the place and left the building without conducting an investigation.

The attackers came back when the police were gone. This time, they stoned the pastor, who suffered from wounds and injuries. The pastor lost consciousness and was later taken to Yizhou Hospital.

Leading China pastor probed for suspicion of embezzling
funds - church authorities January 31, 2016 0:240pm EST
(Reuters)
The church has been persecuted since March this year after the village leader and a resident incited others to harass the church. They would seal its entrance, cut off its power, destroy the property and prevent the church members from meeting together.

The villagers believe the church building's location is causing a disturbance in the feng shui of the place. The church is standing at the center of the village, and the people think this is the reason why disease and death are entering the village, which made them harass the church repeatedly.

The church has asked government authorities for help but no one has responded.

Christians in China are being persecuted for various reasons. Churches not belonging to the Three-Self Patriotic Movement are being raided as part of the government's efforts to destroy the house churches. Such raids are said to have affected an estimated 100 million people, according to Voice of the Martyrs.

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The Epoch Times
By Jack Phillips
June 19, 2016 AT 7:11 pm
Last Updated: June 19, 2016 7:11 pm

■ A 4-year-old Chinese boy was hit by a police car and was placed in police detention for 36 hours, a report says.

The boy, identified only as Xiaoyu, was clipped by a Chinese police van when he was with his mother in Beijing. Police closed in to arrest his mother, Liu Gexin, while she was speaking to people about Falun Gong, a traditional Chinese practice of self-cultivation—a term that refers to transforming the self through moral discipline and mediation.

In July 1999, the Chinese Communist Party ordered a Cultural Revolution-style suppression of Falun Gong, known as Falun Dafa, impacting tens of millions of practitioners.

According to a June 15 report from Minghui.org, a clearinghouse for information about the persecution of Falun Gong in China, Xiaoyu, the 4-year-old, suffered “bruises on his face, arm and knee” after getting clipped by the police van.

The mother and son were taken to a police station at 8 p.m. local time earlier this month. It said while his mother was being interrogated, “the little boy was taken to a different room to be questioned.”

Xiaoyu, the 4-year-old boy (Minghui.org)
The Chinese officials tried to get Xiaoyu to tell them his “parents’ names, occupations, their practice of Falun Gong, and home address,” the Minghui report stated.

Later, the boy’s family got a phone call from police the next night, telling them to pick up the child from a local orphanage, which specifically is used for children of parents imprisoned by Chinese authorities.

They went to the orphanage about an hour later, the report said, but police told them they had “changed their minds.” They didn’t allow the family to pick up Xiaoyu until 8 a.m. on June 5—36 hours after he was detained.

His mother is still being detained for her practice of Falun Gong, Minghui reported.

Researchers have said that Falun Gong practitioners and other prisoners of conscience have been killed for their organs. At the least, tens of thousands of practitioners have been killed for their organs, says Doctors Against Forced Organ Harvesting, a Washington, D.C.-based medical ethics advocacy group.

The U.S. House of Representatives last week passed a resolution expressing concern on the “persistent and credible reports of systematic, state-sanctioned organ harvesting from nonconsenting prisoners of conscience in the People’s Republic of China.”

“This legislation is an important step in bringing accountability and transparency, to maybe one of the great crimes of the 21st century: the 17-year effort to eliminate [the] Falun Gong practice from China,” Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.), a co-sponsor of the resolution, said of its passing. “I strongly believe that the campaign to eradicate Falun Gong will be seen as one of the great horrors.”

“Over the past four years the U.S. Congress has looked into the evidence on forced organ harvesting through previous resolution drafts and hearings, and today has recognized that forced organ harvesting is taking place and needs to stop,” said Dr. Torsten Trey, who is the executive director of Doctors Against Forced Organ Harvesting following the House resolution.

The official Falun Gong press office, the Falun Dafa Information Center, said that millions of practitioners have been detained over the past 17 years.


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Radio Free Asia
2016-06-16

■ The fourth of five missing Hong Kong booksellers to return to the city has confirmed that he was detained as he crossed the internal immigration border into mainland China last October, before being blindfolded, spirited away, and interrogated for months by a special police unit directed from Beijing.

Lam Wing-kei told a packed news conference that he was detained at the Lo Wu border crossing between the former British colony and the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen, with no reason given at first for the detention.

"On Oct. 24 last year, I was detained as I was crossing the border into Shenzhen," Lam said. "The police seized my travel documents and sent me to a local police station where I was held."

Hong Kong bookseller Lam Wing-kei speaks to reporters in
Hong Kong, June 16, 2016. AFP
"A few days later, some officials blindfolded me and took me away in their car on a journey that lasted more than 10 hours," he said. "I was taken to Ningbo city in Zhejiang province."

"I was then interrogated by some other people," he said. "The main thrust of the questioning was to figure out my relationship with Causeway Bay Books and [its sister imprint] Mighty Current Publishing."

"They wanted to know who was buying the books and stuff like that," Lam said, adding that he heard that his case was being handled directly by a special task force set up by the central government in Beijing.

Lam said he had been sent back to Hong Kong on a mission to obtain a hard drive listing all the known contacts, including authors and mainland China-based mail order customers, of Causeway Bay Books and Mighty Current on behalf of the state security police.

Won't go back


Lam said he wouldn't be returning to mainland China in spite of his instructions to do so. "I don't dare go back there," he said. "Besides, I think the people of Hong Kong should stand up to power and say no."

But Lam warned: "If I suddenly disappear one day, then everyone will know the reason why. I haven't asked for special protection. We'll have to see how the Hong Kong government protects its own people."

Lam called on the ruling Chinese Communist Party in Beijing to explain whether or not his detention, during which he had no access to a lawyer, was in breach of the "one country, two systems" policy governing Hong Kong's 1997 return to Chinese rule.

Lam, who went missing last October around the same time as four of his colleagues at Hong Kong's Causeway Bay Books, is the fourth to return to the former British colony.

Store manager and British passport-holder Lee Bo, 65, went missing from his workplace in Hong Kong on Dec. 30, while general manager Lui Bo (also spelled Lui Por), and colleagues Cheung Chi-ping are believed to have been detained during trips to China from their usual base in Hong Kong.

Publisher and Swedish nation Gui Minhai left his Thai holiday home under opaque circumstances before appearing on state television CCTV "confessing" to involvement in a drunk-driving death 10 years earlier, a claim that his family have dismissed as highly dubious.

Lee, who went missing from his workplace in Hong Kong on Dec. 30, returned to mainland China after spending less than 24 hours in Hong Kong. The U.K. government has said he was "involuntarily removed" from the city.

No help from Hong Kong

Cheung Chi Ping, business manager of Causeway Bay Books, entered Hong Kong on March 6, two days after his colleague Lui Bo, the bookstore’s general manager, but they too stayed only a few hours in the city before going back to China.

Both were granted bail by Chinese authorities, allowing them to travel to Hong Kong, and all three men had asked for their missing persons files to be closed, Hong Kong police said at the time.

Lam said he believes Lee Bo was abducted by Chinese police in an unauthorized cross-border operation, giving the lie to Lee's claim during his brief return to Hong Kong in March that he went to mainland China willingly.

He said he is the only one among his colleagues who can afford to ignore instructions from the Chinese police.

While in Ningbo, Lam said he was held in a small room of 200-300 square feet and repeatedly interrogated, before being transferred back to Guangdong province, which neighbors Hong Kong, in March.

He said his televised "confession" was scripted, edited, and filmed under the supervision of a director.

"I decided to go public with this when I saw how much fuss Hong Kong people were making [about our disappearances]," Lam told reporters.

Asked if he had anything to say to the Hong Kong government, he replied: "I don't think they did anything to help us. I have nothing to say to [chief executive] Leung Chun-ying."

Coordinated by Beijing

Veteran journalist Ching Cheong said covert arrest operations are always coordinated by Beijing.

"Special task forces like this were very common during the Cultural Revolution [1966-1976], and were used when they wanted to target a specific individual," he told RFA.

"The centrally controlled task force would then set about collecting evidence against them, giving rise to a large number of miscarriages of justice."

Ching said: "The mention of these central task forces, which are a toxic throwback to the Cultural Revolution, is abhorrent to a lot of people ... and now it seems as if they are staging a comeback."

Richard Choi, deputy chairman of the Alliance in Support of the Patriotic Democratic Movement in China, said that Chinese authorities had disregarded legal procedures in their handling of the booksellers' cases.

"We need to keep up the pressure on the Chinese government, because ... otherwise we won't know whether the rights and freedoms of Hong Kong people have been affected," he said.

An official who answered the phone at the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office in London said they would issue a statement 'soon,' but hadn't responded to requests for comment at the time of writing.

The United Kingdom government has said in an official report that Lee Bo was "involuntarily removed" from the city, which has maintained a separate law enforcement jurisdiction and an internal immigration border since returning to Chinese rule in 1997.

The U.S. State Department said in its Hong Kong Policy Act Report earlier this month that the booksellers' detentions "have raised serious concerns in Hong Kong and represent what appears to be the most significant breach of the “one country, two systems” policy since 1997."

Dubious confession

Swedish national and bookstore founder Gui Minhai, who disappeared from a Thai holiday resort last October, has yet to reappear.

He is known to be in detention in China after making a televised "confession" of involvement in a drunk-driving death 10 years ago that has been rejected as highly dubious by his family.

Gui Minhai's daughter Angela Gui praised Lam on Thursday for his courage in speaking out about his nightmare ordeal.

"I am very happy that he has had the courage to speak the truth," she told RFA. "But Lam Wing-kei's account makes me fear for my father."

"I hope this news will result in more attention on my father's case, so that he can be released."

Angela Gui has said she strongly doubts that her father left his holiday home in Thailand voluntarily, despite having said so in a televised "confession."

She has said her father had sent her messages on Skype in November and in January, asking her to keep quiet, probably "under duress."

Reported by Hai Nan for RFA's Cantonese Service, and by Xin Lin for the Mandarin Service. Translated and written in English by Luisetta Mudie.


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Radio Free Asia
2016-06-17

Grace Geng, 23, is the daughter of dissident rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng, who remains under house arrest since his release from prison in August 2014. She recently traveled to Hong Kong and Taiwan to launch her father's book, Stand Up China 2017, a harrowing memoir of his time in prison.

Gao, 52, has said the book is his way of continuing his resistance to human rights violations by the ruling Chinese Communist Party.

Overseas rights activists say that since the book launch, Gao has gone missing from the rural cave-dwelling where he was guarded round the clock by China's state security police. Geng spoke to RFA in a series of recent interviews, which are translated and extracted here:

Grace Geng, daughter of Chinese human rights lawyer Gao
Zhisheng, speaks in Taipei to introduce her father's book, June
16, 2016. Photo courtesy of Zhong Guangzheng, Taipei
I remember that the state security agents would live in our house and watch the family, and every day they would search my schoolbag before I left for school to see if there were any 'dangerous or forbidden items' in it. They would mess it up, and then I'd have to tidy it up again while I was on the bus. That was how each day would begin. Seven state security agents would sit waiting for me outside the classroom, and they'd stop me from joining everyone else outside in the playground at recess. They even took the door off the girls' toilets so I couldn't escape.

After my father was released, the spies moved out of our home and set up outside our front door. But it was only a change from surveillance in the home to surveillance outside it.

One day, my father came home. I had never spoken to him before about what my life was like, but I was very unhappy that day, and I self-harmed with a razor blade. It wasn't that I wanted to die. I wanted to protect myself, because I hated my life. It was so bad that I had become numb, to the extent that I wasn't really sure if I was dead or alive. There was a lot of blood, so I went to get some tissue paper to clean it up, and I saw my father standing behind me. He had been there the whole time and he was wiping away tears. After that, I decided never to do anything so selfish again.

On the day we left, I had no idea that my mother was taking us away from China, escaping. I just thought I was going to school as normal, and I got dressed and reading. My father gave me a very big hug before turning away. I stood there watching him, wondering where he was going, and then he turned back again and came back to me, before hugging me again and kissing me on the forehead. Then he brought my brother over and kissed him once on each cheek. Then he left without looking back.

My father never spoke about the persecution he had suffered. Later, by phone, I asked him why he couldn't be like other fathers, why he didn't act as a light in our lives. He asked me to give him a few more years, then he would come back and light up our lives again, though maybe not very brightly.

It wasn't until his book came out that I really started to understand what he meant by "another few years." Maybe he still will come back to us ... to light up our lives.

Ever since Xi Jinping came to power ... we have seen huge numbers of rights lawyers persecuted. This is very bad.

Reported by Hsia Hsiao-hwa for RFA's Mandarin Service, and by Chung Kuang-cheng for the Cantonese Service. Translated and edited by Luisetta Mudie.


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Christians from a church in Guangzhou
hold a service outside of their church
building, which officials closed last
year. (Photo: China Aid)
China Aid
Reported in Chinese by Qiao Nong. Translated by Carolyn Song. Written in English by Brynne Lawrence.

(Guangzhou, Guangdong—June 20, 2016) Officials in China’s southern Guangdong province began harassing a house church recently as part of an ongoing crackdown on unofficial churches.

On June 7, Pastor Zhang from Zhongfu Canaan Church informed a China Aid reporter that authorities summoned him to discuss the possibility of moving the church. During the conversation, they asked him about the identity of his church members and the funding of the church. The authorities also requested that the church—which they termed an ‘illegal gathering’—join the government-sanctioned Three-Self Patriotic Movement (TSPM).

“I made my position clear,” Zhang said to the reporter. “I told [the authorities] that the church was by no means a recent establishment; it had been there for a few decades … We cannot join the Three-Self Patriotic Movement. The town government [that operates] in the village hasn’t come to find us yet, but the landlord said today that officials from the public security, firefighting and various other industry and commerce departments will soon enforce the law here. No [official] has come yet [to enforce], but the landlord is already very frightened. He said, ‘You need to move out immediately….’ This is our current circumstance.”

Additionally, government personnel accused the church of having an inadequate firefighting system.

Various government agencies are carrying out similar measures throughout Guangdong and Shenzhen provinces, leading Christians to worry that these are the initial steps of a rampant suppression of religious expression. Pastors who attended the National Work Conference on Religions, which was held earlier this year, reported that the majority of the conversations centered on how to deal with house churches.

Additionally, a pastor said, “They are likely to work [their way inward] from the coastal areas. Our remote regions are very hard for them to reach. At the very least, they will try to win over the majority … They certainly would start in the areas where the churches are most active, such as Shenzhen, Guangdong and Dongguan. They want to carry out a trial run in which they first seize a portion of the region.”

China Aid exposes abuses, such as those suffered by Zhongfu Canaan Church, in order to promote religious freedom and rule of law in China.


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An officially-backed gang destroyed a
Christian's soybean field (pictured
above). (Photo: China Aid)
China AidReported in Chinese by Qiao Nong. Translated by Carolyn Song. Written in English by Brynne Lawrence.

(Nanyang, Henan—June 18, 2016) A police-backed gang bulldozed three acres of land owned by a Christian on June 5 after forcefully taking it from him.

Liu Zigeng, a local gang member, took a soybean field from Bai Fengju, a Christian, in order to build temples. On the morning of June 5, Liu sent a group of 20 people to destroy the property.

According to Bai’s sister, the field was demolished without notice. When she heard of the demolition, she posted the story to overseas websites. That night, government personnel made Liu apologize to Bai, returned his property and gave him 2,000 Yuan (U.S. $303.00) in compensation for his losses. Additionally, they agreed to move the walls of the temple back 23 feet and return the land to him.

When asked why she thought the government chose to reimburse her brother, Bai’s sister said, “It could have been [because of] the news we sent out … otherwise, they (the government) would not care about him (Bai Fengju).”

However, she also claimed that the police sent the demolition team.

China Aid exposes abuses, such as those experienced by Bai Fengju, in order to promote religious freedom and rule of law in China.


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China Aid
By Ava Collins

(Midland, Texas—June 17, 2016) China Aid joined with several other international human rights organizations on June 2 in drafting a letter requesting that the U.S. government make a strong public statement expressing its concern about the human rights situation in China and request the release of political prisoners.

The letter, addressed to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Jacob Lew, urges them to call on the Chinese government to withdraw legislation that denies human rights to its citizens during the U.S.-China Strategic & Economic Dialogue (S&ED), which convened in Beijing June 6-8, 2016.

Furthermore, it requested public acknowledgement by the U.S. government of the concerning state of human rights in China and a call for the Chinese government to release all individuals who have been unjustly imprisoned or have disappeared for peacefully exercising their fundamental human rights.

The letter addressed seven specific human rights concerns, recommended practical actions for the U.S. government to pursue at this high-profile, wide-ranging, diplomatic gathering and expressed the signatories’ readiness to assist as needed. It also encouraged the Obama Administration to identify areas of U.S.-China policy to build upon for the benefit of future administrations as the U.S. is expected to face an increasingly complex relationship with China in the years ahead.

To read the full letter, click here.

China Aid joins with other human rights organizations to make statements such as this one in order to expose human rights and religious freedom violations and promote increased freedoms and rule of law in China.


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The Guardian
By Tom Phillips in Beijing
Friday 17 June 2016 00.28 EDT

■ Calls for Beijing to behave in accordance with law after Lam Wing-kee reveals he was abducted by Chinese special forces

Pro-democracy leaders in Hong Kong have accused Beijing of political thuggery after a local bookseller claimed he had been kidnapped by Chinese “special forces” as part of a coordinated bid to silence criticism of China’s Communist leadership.

Lam Wing-kee, one of five Hong Kong publishers to mysteriously disappear last year, made the explosive claims on Thursday night at a hastily arranged press conference in the former British colony.

Lam, the 61-year-old manager of the Causeway Bay bookstore, claimed he had spent months in solitary confinement in a cramped cell after being snatched by a group of men as he entered mainland China in October 2015.

Hong Kong bookseller Lam Wing-kee tells a press conference
how he was abducted by Chinese special forces. Photograph:
Jerome Favre/EPA
“They blindfolded me and put a cap on my head and basically bundled me up,” Lam told reporters.

Lam claimed Chinese agents had forced him to confess to crimes he had not committed during his detention. He said he had decided to speak out after thousands of demonstrators took to the streets of Hong Kong to protest the booksellers’ disappearances.

“Hongkongers will not bow down before brute force,” Lam said.

Lam’s unexpected decision to go public reignited simmering anger over what increasingly looks like a Communist party-led crackdown on the publishers who specialised in salacious tomes about the private lives of top Chinese leaders.

Four other booksellers, including British citizen Lee Po and Swedish citizen Gui Minhai, also went missing during the campaign which began last October. Gui, who disappeared from a holiday home in Thailand, remains in custody in mainland China while the other three, while nominally free, are thought to be living under duress from Chinese authorities.

Amnesty International urged China to “end its lies” over the bookseller scandal in the wake of Lam’s disclosures.

Mabel Au, the group’s Hong Kong director, said his statement showed Chinese authorities had mounted a “concerted operation” to silence the booksellers. “The Chinese authorities must come clean and admit the truth,” she added.

Speaking on Friday, as demonstrators began taking to the streets of the former colony, prominent pro-democracy leaders urged Hong Kong citizens to protest.

Claudia Mo, an outspoken Civic party lawmaker, told the Guardian that Lam’s “bombshell” revelations left Hong Kong’s much treasured autonomy from the authoritarian mainland hanging by a thread.

“It’s now obvious to everyone that the so-called ‘one country, two systems’ promise is completely in tatters,” she said. “We need to stand firm and stand tall and really fight back.”

“This is not just an ordinary detention,” she said of Lam’s rendition. “This is literally a kidnapping by Beijing authorities.”

“They behave like some mob… They are just political thugs. They behave like gangsters... and it is very worrying. Whatever happened to the basic decency and dignity that we expect from government?”

Emily Lau, the chairwoman of Hong Kong’s Democratic party, told the Guardian China’s alleged abduction of the bookseller was “very barbaric and totally unacceptable”.

She said the revelations showed China to be a place of “complete lawlessness”.

“If the Chinese government wants to join the international community as a respected member it must behave in such a way. Otherwise it will just bring disdain and scorn upon itself,” Lau added.

“[Beijing] must come out and condemn such behaviour and to assure the world that it will not happen again… They must respect the rule of law and respect the rights of their own people.”

Jason Ng, a Hong Kong-based writer, said Lam’s statement “confirms everything we already suspect and know about the Chinese Communist party. The [party’s] lies have blown up in their faces.”

Ng, the author of a book about the 2014 umbrella movement demonstrations, said he believed Lam’s revelations would galvanise the city’s protest movement. “The opposition has been split and society polarised. This incident unites us.” They might also influence on September’s elections, boosting the chances of pro-democracy candidates and damaging those of pro-Beijing ones.

China has yet to respond to Lam Wing-kee’s allegations which could not be independently verified. However, Beijing has previously claimed that the booksellers voluntarily travelled to mainland China to assist with a Chinese police investigation.

Activists, observers and many foreign diplomats scoff at that suggestion. Many view the disappearances as part of growing campaign by President Xi Jinping’s administration to silence dissent beyond China’s own borders.

On Friday a spokesperson for the UK Foreign Office said it remained “deeply concerned” about the situation of Lee Po whose “involuntary removal to the mainland was a serious breach” of Hong Kong’s autonomy.

The Swedish embassy in Beijing said it was aware of Lam’s claims that he had been abducted.

“The information surrounding the disappearances of Gui Minhai’s colleagues, including recent developments, is alarming and we emphasize this in our contacts with Chinese authorities,” a spokesperson said. “The Embassy has repeatedly requested a new meeting with Gui Minhai, but no such request has been granted since [24 February].”

“Our efforts to reach clarity in what has happened to, and is happening to, Swedish citizen Gui Minhai continue unabated,” the spokesperson added.

Claudia Mo said she feared for Lam’s safety following his “heroic” decision to speak out in defiance of Beijing. “I’m very worried they would try to get rid of him in some way,” she said.

Emily Lau said the saga had left citizens of the former colony on edge.

“It happened to Mr Lee and to Mr Lam. Tomorrow it can happen to Mrs Chan and to Mr Wong and the list goes on,” she said. “People are very, very frightened. You must tell the world that.”


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Agence France-Presse
Published: 06:18 EST, 17 June 2016 | Updated: 06:18 EST, 17 June 2016

■ A leading Chinese dissident lawyer and his relatives have been "threatened" since his daughter spoke about his controversial new book in Hong Kong this week, the daughter and activists said Friday.

Gao Zhisheng's current whereabouts are unknown after Chinese security agents are said to have rushed to his brother's house, where he is staying, in an isolated village in China's Shaanxi province on Tuesday.

Gao has been under house arrest since 2014 after serving a three-year prison term on subversion-related charges -- a sentence which sparked an international outcry.

"I am worried they will face many threats... I already know that right after (his daughter) Grace's press conference in Hong Kong, Chinese security personnel rushed to his brother's house and threatened (them)," said Bob Fu, president of US-based human rights group China Aid Association which co-published the book.

"We don't know if he has been removed from his cave home in Shaanxi. We don't know where he is now," Fu said, adding that a local contact who passed on the information of the security agents' visit had also gone "missing".

Grace Geng (R), daughter of Chinese dissident lawyer Gao
Zhisheng, holds her father's book “A Human Rights Lawyer
under Torture the auto narratives of Gao Zhisheng” during
a press conference in Hong Kong on June 14, 2016
©Anthony Wallace (AFP/File)
Speaking in Taipei to launch her father's new book "Stand Up China 2017" -- which predicts the demise of the Communist Party and details his torture at the hands of the authorities -- Grace Gao said her uncle and aunt's mobile phones were disconnected or turned off when she called them on Friday.

She felt her father would be subject to punishment over the book but added: "He is prepared for anything and our family is prepared."

Gao fell foul of Chinese authorities by championing the rights of vulnerable people including underground Christians, aggrieved miners and members of the banned Falungong spiritual movement.

He was convicted in 2006 of "subversion of state power" and given a three-year suspended prison sentence. State media said in 2011 that he had been ordered to serve the sentence after a Beijing court ruled he had violated the terms of his probation.

In the 446-page book, Gao predicted the demise of the Chinese Communist Party in 2017, saying that "peaceful power for change" will flourish in China despite brutal suppression and it is "enviable for China's evil forces to demise".

Gao detailed what he called abductions and tortures imposed on him by Chinese authorities since 2004, including electric shocks.

The book was published by two human rights groups as no publisher in Taiwan or Hong Kong wanted to get involved, according to co-publisher Taiwan Association for China Human Rights.

"Please help my family and all Chinese people," Grace Gao wrote in a copy of the book to be given to Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen through a lawmaker of Tsai's party.

"I hope she will do her best or within her power to help with human rights in China," she said.


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