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Partner with China Aid to Free Yang Hua
By Leah Marieann Klett
May 25, 2016 12:05 pm EDT

■ A new report from persecution watchdog ChinaAid has revealed that a total of 20,000 Chinese Christians suffered religious persecution in 2015 as the Communist government continues its campaign seeking to stunt the growth of Christianity in the country. However, Christianity continues to grow at a dramatic rate.

"In 2015, ChinaAid documented 634 cases of persecution in which 19,426 religious practitioners were persecuted, representing an 8.62 percent increase from 2014's 17,884 religious practitioners persecuted," read a statement in the "2015 Annual Report Chinese Government Persecution of Christians and Churches in China" conducted by ChinaAid.

By 2030, China's total Christian population, including
Catholics, is predicted to exceed 247 million, placing it above
Mexico, Brazil and the United States. Photo Credit: Reuters
The report reveals that Christians have particularly been targeted in China's "Three Rectification and One Demolition" beautification campaign, which has seen the demolition of at least 1,200 crosses and numerous places of worship in the past couple of years. Earlier this year, the demolition of one church led to the death of a pastor's' wife in in Zhumadian, Henan province.

Hundreds of Christians, including pastors, lawyers, and activists, have been arrested for speaking out against the ongoing persecution, and many of them are still detained.

The report also pointed out that aside from Christians, Tibetan Buddhists and Muslims "likely experienced even more intense government persecution" by the atheistic Chinese government.

ChinaAid, which has been monitoring the development of religious freedom in China since 2002, notes that Christianity in the Communist country continues to grow despite ongoing persecution.

"Christians fasted, prayed and organized protests, and the steadfast response of these churches spread to other places, producing widespread public opposition to the government's brutal cross demolitions," it explained.

"These included large-scale fasting and praying by Christians everywhere, believers tying themselves to crosses, street protests of Christians holding small wooden crosses, church members re-erecting downed crosses, and even Christians physically fighting the government's cross demolition efforts."

In addition, the faith of many church members was strengthened by the victories of human rights lawyers who took to court Christian cases in the form of civil law, administrative law, and property rights law, the report notes.

Because of this, ChinaAid is optimistic that the Christian faith will eventually overcome all obstacles.

"Despite the worsening situation of religious freedom in China in the last decade, China Aid sees great hope in the fast growth of the house church movement across China and firmly believes that God's love and justice will eventually cover the vast expanse of this nation," concludes the report.

Another persecution watchdog, Open Doors USA, has placed the country at 33rd on its World Watch List of countries where Christians face the most persecution.

In April, retired Cardinal Joseph Zen Ze-kiun of Hong Kong called on Beijing to end the persecution of Christians and allow religious freedom, insisting that those who keep silent about such matters are guilty of being "accomplices."

"Facing all this persecution, we cannot take it for granted. We cannot stand idly. If we keep silent, we are accomplices," he 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

Independent Catholic News
Tuesday, May 24, 2016 5:25 pm.

■ There has been a seven-fold rise in the persecution of Christians in China since 2008, according to a report by a partner of UK-based Release International.

The report claims China is seeking 'complete control over the nation's churches' with the aim of replacing "Christ as the head of the church with submission to the Communist Party." To that end, China has increased its crackdown on Christians and churches, especially house churches.

"Our partners China Aid have meticulously documented attacks against Christians and churches in China,' says Paul Robinson, Chief executive of Release, which serves persecuted Christians worldwide. They have found that religious persecution, especially of house church Christians, is increasing in severity. They document a seven-fold rise in persecution since 2008.

"Last October, the UK hosted a state visit by the Chinese Premier. Release urges David Cameron to use his developing relationship with Xi Jinping to press for full religious freedom in China and an end to persecution. In all conscience, Britain cannot put trade before human rights."

China has a long history of attempting to bring the rapidly growing church under the control of the atheist state. Since the downturn in the Chinese economy, which has revealed yawning inequalities, the state has been cracking down on churches, Christians and others for fear of unrest.

This includes the arrest of Christian human rights lawyers for mounting a legal campaign against the tearing down of hundreds of Christian crosses from churches. Among them, leading Christian lawyer Zhang Kai, who was forced to publicly confess to crimes against the state on television.

China Aid has documented an increase in persecution of 4.74 per cent in the past year. Over the last nine years the arrest and harassment of Christians in China has been rising. Persecution rates are now 709.94 per cent worse than in 2008. And while fewer Christians are being sent to jail, more are being harassed, beaten and even tortured, the report claims.

In one province alone, Zheijang, the Release partner has independently verified that 'by the end of 2015, more than 20 churches had been forcibly demolished, 1,300 crosses removed, more than 500 Christians taken into police custody, at least 130 Christians physically injured, more than 60 Christians administratively or criminally detained, and at least 28 pastors and Christians arrested or charged with a crime.'

Churches have been closed and in some areas Christians have taken to worshipping in the open-air under the eye of the authorities - hence the Release Great Outdoors Church Service initiative on May 29.

"Release urges Christians in the UK to stand in solidarity with our Chinese brothers and sisters, and those in other nations where churches have been demolished,' says Paul Robinson of Release.

"We're encouraging Christians throughout the UK and Ireland to take part in the Great Outdoors Church Service on May 29 by holding some or all of your service in the open air. This is an opportunity to pray for and remember our Christian brothers and sisters everywhere who are being forced out of their churches."

Read more about Release International here: http://www.releaseinternational.org/


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
By Harry Farley 
24 May 2016

■ Persecution against Christians in China has increased sevenfold since 2008, according to the latest report by China Aid.

The Texas-based charity paints a damning picture of religious freedom in China as it describes the state's attempt to take control of the nation's churches.

The Chinese government wants to replace "Christ as the head of the church with submission to the Communist Party", the report read, alleging that more Christians are harassed, beaten and tortured than ever before.

The province of Zheijang has been hit particularly hard by the crackdown, said the report. "By the end of 2015, more than 20 churches had been forcibly demolished, 1,300 crosses removed, more than 500 Christians taken into police custody, at least 130 Christians physically injured, more than 60 Christians administratively or criminally detained, and at least 28 pastors and Christians arrested or charged with a crime" in this one province alone.

China Aid said 90 per cent of church crosses in Zhejiang had
been forcibly removed.
China Aid
Last year the Chinese President Xi Jinping gave a major speech on religion in which he argued the "management of religion is in essence the management of the masses". According to the report, this speech coincided with the most intense year of persecution since the 1966-76 Cultural Revolution.

The report comes months after Xi came to the UK on a state visit in an attempt to improve trade relations between the UK and China.

Release International, a partner charity of China Aid, has urged David Cameron to use Britain's relationship with Xi to push for religious freedom in China. "In all conscience, Britain cannot put trade before human rights," said Paul Robinson, a spokesman for the charity.

"Release urges Christians in the UK to stand in solidarity with our Chinese brothers and sisters, and those in other nations where churches have been demolished," he 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
The Christian Times
By Suzette Gutierrez Cachila
24 May, 2016

■ After having gone missing for seven months, a Chinese activist has been confirmed to be held under criminal detention by authorities, apparently for "smuggling" persons outside China.

Xing Qingxian, together with Tang Zhishun, helped 16-year-old Bao Zhuoxuan cross the border into Myanmar so the boy can go to the U.S. to study. The three reportedly traveled under the guise of tourists because Bao was issued a travel ban when his parents were arrested last year, according to Radio Free Asia.

Bao is the son of human rights lawyers Wang Yu and Bao Longlun. On July 9, 2015, the couple was arrested as part of a government crackdown targeting human rights lawyers, activists and their families.

Xing and Tang were able to get Bao successfully to Myanmar's border town of Mongla. They stayed at Huadu Guest House. However, on Oct. 6, 2015, about a dozen men carrying Burmese police IDs came to the hotel and took all three men.

Friends of Xing and Tang inquired from local authorites about the three, but the authorities said they did not detain anyone. They then inquired from authorities in Myanmar, but were surprised to be told the police there had no information about Xing, Tang and Bao, a report said.

It was only earlier this month that Xing's family was notified that he is being criminally detained for being suspected of "organizing smuggling of persons across a national boundary."

A policeman leads inmates as they walk along a road with
their wrists tied together to a rope at Emei Mountain region,
Sichuan province, September 26, 2012. Police transported 594
inmates out of the mountainous area into a new prison 50 km
(31 miles) away, local media reported. (Reuters/Stringer)
"Two-hundred-and-twenty-six days after Tang Zhishun and Xing Qingxian were detained by Chinese police in Myanmar, I have finally received notification of Xing's criminal detention," Xing's wife He Juan said in a tweet.

The notification was a registered letter addressed to the Chinese Communist Party in He's village and was signed by Tianjin police. The letter was received by her mother.

"I think that we had to wait far too long," He said. "The rule is that the family should be notified within 24 hours, and we didn't get this for 226 days." He is now staying in the U.S. where she fled after her husband disappeared.

Although there was no confirmation that Tang is also held in detention, his lawyer assumes he is detained in the same place where Xing is. He fears the two men will be given "tough sentences" because they are being accused of smuggling persons across the border, which applies to human traffickers.

Tang's wife Gao Shen also fled to the U.S. with their daughter after he disappeared. She expressed concern that her husband is being tortured.

"We are terribly afraid that the Chinese police may be torturing Tang Zhishun and Xing Qingxian, destroying them in order to get a forced confession," Gao 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
Radio Free Asia
2016-05-20

■ A Tibetan monk jailed for 13 years for his role in protests challenging Chinese rule is in uncertain health in a prison in Sichuan province, leading family members to fear he may not survive the remaining six years of his sentence, sources say.

Lobsang Choedar, a monk of Kirti monastery in the Ngaba (in Chinese, Aba) Tibetan and Qiang Autonomous Prefecture, was detained in 2009 after calling the previous year for the return of exiled spiritual leader the Dalai Lama, a source in the region told RFA’s Tibetan Service.

“He is now languishing in Mianyang prison in Sichuan, and his family members are very worried about his health, as he still has six years of his sentence left to serve,” RFA’s source said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Lobsang Choedar is shown in Mianyang prison in an undated
photo. Photo courtesy of an RFA listener
Choedar has received visits in prison three times this year, with family members speaking to him through a closed glass window, and relatives have formed changing impressions of his health, the source said.

“His family members are very worried, but at the same time they are very proud because he is serving his sentence for the sake of Tibet and the Tibetan people.”

“His mother, who is 72, is concerned that she may not see her son again before she passes away, though,” he said.

Hunger strike
At one point during his incarceration, Choedar had gone on a 12-day hunger strike in protest over the poor diet fed to the prison’s more than 1,000 prisoners, the source said.

“Later, he was physically forced to eat and was moved to another location within the prison complex,” he said.

“He is now reported to be in slightly better condition,” the source said, adding that Choedar has told relatives that changes in his appearance may be due to long periods of exercise while in prison.

Choedar’s Kirti monastery has been the scene of repeated self-immolations and other protests by monks, former monks, and nuns opposed to Chinese rule in Tibetan areas.

Authorities raided the institution in 2011, taking away hundreds of monks and sending them for “political re-education” while local Tibetans who sought to protect the monks were beaten and detained, sources said.

Sporadic demonstrations challenging Beijing’s rule and calling for the return of exiled spiritual leader the Dalai Lama have continued in Tibetan-populated areas of China since widespread protests swept the region in 2008.

A total of 145 Tibetans living in China have now set themselves ablaze in self-immolations since the wave of fiery protests began in 2009, with most protests featuring calls for Tibetan freedom and the Dalai Lama’s return from India, where he has lived since escaping Tibet during a failed national uprising in 1959.

Reported by Kunsang Tenzin for RFA’s Tibetan Service. Translated by Karma Dorjee. Written in English by Richard Finney.


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 Christian Times
By Chiqui Guyjoco
23 May, 2016

■ An annual report conducted by a persecution watchdog group and published on Wednesday, May 18 reveals that a total of 20,000 Chinese Christians suffered religious persecution at the hands of the Communist Chinese government in 2015 alone.

"In 2015, China Aid documented 634 cases of persecution in which 19,426 religious practitioners were persecuted, representing an 8.62 percent increase from 2014's 17,884 religious practitioners persecuted," read a statement in the "2015 Annual Report Chinese Government Persecution of Christians and Churches in China" conducted by ChinaAid.

China's "Three Rectification and One Demolition" beautification campaign targeted demolition of numerous Christian buildings and crosses on charges of violations with the country's building code. The demolitions have led to the death of a church pastor's wife in Henan province and the arrests of Christian leaders as well as human rights lawyers.

The report also pointed out that aside from Christians, Tibetan Buddhists and Muslims "likely experienced even more intense government persecution" by the atheistic Chinese government.

China's Premier Li Keqiang speaks at the opening ceremony
of Boao Forum in Boao, Hainan Province, China, March 24,
2016. (Reuters/China Daily)
However, Christianity in China continues to grow despite relentless persecution.

The document indicated that Christians fasted and prayed everywhere, tied themselves on the cross, protested on the streets carrying small wooden crosses, re-erected crosses that had been removed by the authorities, and held up a staunch fight against the government demolitions. Many Christians were also boosted by the court victories achieved in cases including civil law, administrative law, and property rights law.

"The top leadership is increasingly worried about the rapid growth of Christian faith and their public presence, and their social influence," Bob Fu, ChinaAid president, told The Christian Post in an interview. "It is a political fear for the Communist Party, as the number of Christians in the country far outnumber the members of the party."

ChristianAid is optimistic that the Christian faith "will eventually cover the vast expanse of this nation."


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
Radio Free Asia
2016-05-24

■ Jailed Chinese rights activist Guo Feixiong’s hunger strike to protest ill-treatment in his prison in Guangdong entered its third week as police in Beijing detained three of his supporters on Tuesday.

Guo’s sister, a physician named Yang Maoping who in a previous meeting two weeks ago urged her brother to break off his fast, told RFA she is worried about his condition.

“On May 11, when I met him, he was on hunger strike more than 30 hours, sweating a lot. After I left, he has been on passive eating. I am very worried. I hope a lawyer can visit him, but up to now he has not seen his lawyer,” she said.

“When I saw him on May 11, I persuaded him to do a colonoscopy, but he refused to do all the checks. This is because the prison authorities used insulting language against him while they forced him to undergo a medical examination on May 9,” Yang told RFA.

Guo Feixiong in a file photo. Photo courtesy of Guo Feixiong
Yang, who is only permitted to visit her brother once a month, said Guo’s lawyer’s application to see his client has not yet been approved by the prison authorities, who just say they need to study the application.

Guo's lawyer Zhang Lei told RFA on May 20 that he last saw his client on May 6, at a meeting that was cut short after two minutes by prison guards.

Meanwhile three activists in Beijing were detained for displaying banners in support of Guo and Lei Yang, a man whose unexplained death in police custody has raised suspicions of torture and caused an outcry on social media in China.

The detained activists are Ji Xinhua from Beijing, Zhu Chungxiao from Liaoning, and Wang Jinlan from Henan, activist Wang Fulu told RFA after visiting their detention center in Beijing.

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.

“Guo Feixiong has a tough character, refusing to compromise with the prison authorities, and causing them to avenge him,” said Guangdong-based dissident Jia Pin.

“He has been on hunger strike for two weeks. As friends we can only continue to extend our support to his hunger strike and send out appeal for him on the Internet."

Reported by Yang Fan for RFA’s Mandarin Service and by RFA’s Cantonese Service. Translated by Lam Lok-to and Ping Chen. Written in English by Paul Eckert.


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
Wen Xiaowu
(Photo: China Aid)
China Aid
Reported in Chinese by Qiao Nong. Translated by Carolyn Song. Written in English by Brynne Lawrence.

(Rui’an, Zhejiang—May 24, 2016) In an alleged attempt to prevent international reporting on the case of an incarcerated Christian family, government officials in China’s coastal Zhejiang province recently pressured their relatives to only hire local lawyers.

On the night of April 25, uniformed and plainclothes police officers broke into the home of Wen Xiaowu, a church pastor who provided legal aid to churches targeted by a cross demolition campaign and shared details about the movement with officials from the U.S. embassy in Shanghai, and detained Wen and his wife, Xiang Lihua, on suspicion of “gathering a crowd to disturb public order.” Their son, Wen “Eden” Yidian, attempted to prevent his parents’ detention, prompting authorities to return an hour later and detain him on the charge of “obstructing public service.” Officials released Xiang on May 13, but Wen Xiaowu and Wen Yidian remain in police custody.

According to local Christians, the Rui’an Municipal Public Security Bureau downplayed the possibility ofWen Xiaowu’s meetings with U.S. officials as a reason for the detention, hoping to deflect international media attention. Additionally, Wen Xiaowu contacted his relatives from detention and urged them not to hire lawyers for him outside of Zhejiang province.

“…I think this is definitely due to government pressure, because … [in a similar event] Pastor Bao Guohua’s wife said that she wanted to hire a lawyer, but called on family members to hire local lawyers,” a Christian from Zhejiang said, referencing a similar case in which police apprehended Bao, his wife, Xing Wenxiang and their son, Bao Chenxing, on July 26. “Afterwards, that couple was sentenced to 12 and 14 years in prison. Therefore, hiring local lawyers isn’t the least bit useful.”

China Aid exposes abuses, such as those experienced by Wen Xiaowu and his family, in order to promote religious freedom and rule of law in China.


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 Guardian
Tom Phillips in Beijing
Monday 23 May 2016 00.36 EDT
Last modified on Monday 23 May 2016 00.38 EDT

■ Guo Feixiong was sentenced to six years in prison in November 2015 for taking part in a protest against censorship of a liberal newspaper

A prominent Chinese democracy activist who was jailed in 2015 during a Communist party attack on dissent has entered the second week of a hunger strike, according to his sister.

Guo Feixiong, 49, was sentenced to six years behind bars in November 2015 for taking part in a protest against censorship outside the newsroom of a liberal newspaper in southern China.

Guo Feixiong, sits in a detention center in Guangzhou in
southern China's Guangdong province in 2014. Photograph: AP
Relatives and supporters of the activist, whose real name is Yang Maodong, say his health has deteriorated dramatically in recent months and accuse officials at Guangdong’s Yangchun prison of denying him adequate medical treatment.

Guo launched his hunger strike on 9 May, demanding better treatment as well as political change in China. On Monday morning Guo’s sister, Yang Maoping, confirmed he was still refusing to eat. “It makes my heart ache,” she said of his increasingly poor physical condition.

In an open letter to President Xi Jinping the veteran activist’s wife, Zhang Qing, wrote: “Guo Feixiong’s indefinite hunger strike in prison is in response to the deliberately degrading way he has been treated by the authorities.”

“No one has the right to persecute Guo Feixiong to death, and the perpetrators of these evils must be stopped,” Zhang wrote, according to a translation by the human rights group China Change.


“The brazenly unlawful behaviour of the domestic security and prison authorities in Guangdong makes a mockery of the Chinese authorities’ claim to ‘govern the country according to the law,’” the activist’s wife added.

Speaking earlier this month, Human Rights Watch’s China director, Sophie Richardson, said China’s “cruel and inhuman treatment” of prisoners had become a worrying trend.

“Chinese officials are earning an ugly reputation over their willingness to let political prisoners get terribly sick – and even die – in detention,” Richardson said.

In 2014 human rights activist Cao Shunli died after allegedly being denied medical treatment by authorities.

Additional reporting by Christy Yao


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 Christian Post
By Stoyan Zaimov,
May 20, 2016|11:42 am

■ China Aid has reported in its 2015 Annual Report of Religious and Human Rights Persecution in China that as many as 20,000 people suffered religious persecution by the Communist Party throughout the year. Despite imcreasing persecution, however, the number of Christians in the country continues to grow.

"In 2015, China Aid documented 634 cases of persecution in which 19,426 religious practitioners were persecuted, representing an 8.62 percent increase from 2014's 17,884 religious practitioners persecuted," the report stated.

"A number of factors led to the increases, including a widespread, barbaric round up of China's human rights legal professionals, activists and family members in July 2015," it added.

Christians have particularly been targeted in the ongoing church and rooftop-cross demolition campaign, which has taken down hundreds of crosses and places of worship in the past couple of years. Hundreds of Christians, including pastors and lawyers, have been arrested for speaking out against the ongoing persecution, though the Chinese government has claimed it is only tackling "building code" violations.

The demolition campaign has continued throughout 2016, and has led to several casualties such as the killing of a church leader's wife in central Henan province who was buried alive for standing up to the government-ordered demolition of a church.

China Aid warned that it is not only Christians who are being persecuted, noting that followers of Tibetan Buddhism and Islam "likely experienced even more intense government persecution" at the hands of the atheistic Communist Party.

Despite the hardships that Christians faced throughout the year, the report states that Christianity continues to grow.

Believers take part in a weekend mass at an underground
Catholic church in Tianjin November 10, 2013.
"Christians fasted, prayed and organized protests, and the steadfast response of these churches spread to other places, producing widespread public opposition to the government's brutal cross demolitions," it explained.

"These included large-scale fasting and praying by Christians everywhere, believers tying themselves to crosses, street protests of Christians holding small wooden crosses, church members re-erecting downed crosses, and even Christians physically fighting the government's cross demolition efforts."

The persecution watchdog group noted that there was an increase in human rights lawyers taking to court Christian cases in the form of civil law, administrative law, property rights law, achieving victories which "strengthened the faith of many church members." A number of these lawyers would later be arrested by the government for their actions, however.

"China Aid has been closely monitoring the development of religious freedom in China since 2002," the report noted.

"Despite the worsening situation of religious freedom in China in the last decade, China Aid sees great hope in the fast growth of the house church movement across China and firmly believes that God's love and justice will eventually cover the vast expanse of this nation."


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 New York Times
By Ian Johnson
May 21, 2016

■ Shuitou, China — Along the valleys and mountains hugging the East China Sea, a Chinese government campaign to remove crosses from church spires has left the countryside looking as if a typhoon had raged down the coast, decapitating buildings at random.

In the town of Shuitou, workers used blowtorches to cut a 10-foot-high cross off the 120-foot steeple of the Salvation Church. It now lies in the churchyard, wrapped in a red shroud.

About 10 miles to the east, in Mabu township, riot police officers blocked parishioners from entering the grounds of the Dachang Church while workers erected scaffolding and sawed off the cross. In the nearby villages of Ximei, Aojiang, Shanmen and Tengqiao, crosses now lie toppled on rooftops or in yards, or buried like corpses.

A cross that had been torn down by Chinese government
workers at a Protestant church in the village of Taitou in
Zhejiang Province last year.
Mark Schiefelbein/Associated Press
On a four-day journey through this lush swath of China’s Zhejiang Province, I spoke with residents who described in new detail the breathtaking scale of an effort to remove Christianity’s most potent symbol from public view. Over the past two years, officials and residents said, the authorities have torn down crosses from 1,200 to 1,700 churches, sometimes after violent clashes with worshipers trying to stop them.

“It’s been very difficult to deal with,” said one church elder in Shuitou, who like others asked for anonymity in fear of retaliation by the authorities. “We can only get on our knees and pray.”

The campaign has been limited to Zhejiang Province, home to one of China’s largest and most vibrant Christian populations. But people familiar with the government’s deliberations say the removal of crosses here has set the stage for a new, nationwide effort to more strictly regulate spiritual life in China, reflecting the tighter control of society favored by President Xi Jinping.

In a major speech on religious policy last month, Mr. Xi urged the ruling Communist Party to “resolutely guard against overseas infiltrations via religious means,” and he warned that religions in China must “Sinicize,” or become Chinese. The instructions reflect the government’s longstanding fear that Christianity could undermine the party’s authority. Many human rights lawyers in China are Christians, and many dissidents have said they are influenced by the idea that rights are God-given.

In recent decades, the party had tolerated a religious renaissance in China, allowing most Chinese to worship as they chose and even encouraging the construction of churches, mosques and temples, despite regular crackdowns on unregistered congregations and banned spiritual groups such as Falun Gong.

In an image from video, a Catholic church's
cross was toppled by a government worker in
Zhejiang Province last year. Over the past
two years, officials and residents said, the
authorities have had crosses from 1,200 to
1,700 churches torn down.
Didi Tang/Associated Press
Hundreds of millions of people have embraced the nation’s major faiths: Buddhism, Taoism, Islam and Christianity. There are now about 60 million Christians in China. Many attend churches registered with the government, but at least half worship in unregistered churches, often with local authorities looking the other way.

But Mr. Xi’s decision to convene a “religious affairs work conference” last month — the first such leadership meeting in 15 years — suggested that he was unhappy with some of these policies. People familiar with the party’s discussions say it intends to apply some lessons from the campaign in Zhejiang to rein in religious groups across the country.

While the government is unlikely to begin tearing down crosses across China, the sources say, local authorities are expected to begin scrutinizing the finances and foreign ties of churches and other spiritual institutions as part of an effort to limit the influence of religions the party considers a threat, especially Christianity.

“What has been happening in Zhejiang is a test,” said Fan Yafeng, an independent legal scholar in Beijing. “If the government views it as a success, it will be expanded.”

Broadening the campaign to regulate religion could backfire on Mr. Xi, with worshipers abandoning government-run churches in favor of underground congregations, which typically meet unobtrusively in office buildings or homes. It could also antagonize many of the urban, white-collar professionals who have embraced Christianity.Photo

“Treating it as a foreign religion could alienate these people,” said Fredrik Fallman, a scholar who studies Chinese Christianity at the University of Goteborg in Sweden. “But this might also be the purpose — to be a warning.”

Set in a valley 10 miles from the coast, Shuitou is a small market town of streaked-concrete housing blocks and pell-mell streets. Most of its traditional places of worship — Buddhist, Taoist and ancestral shrines for deceased relatives — are small structures, sometimes built on the side of a mountain and usually hidden from view.

But since the 1980s, 14 churches in Shuitou have been financed with donations from local entrepreneurs eager to show off their newfound prosperity and hard-won faith. The naves are several stories tall, and the spires rise more than 100 feet.

Until recently, most were topped with bright red crosses. But crosses have been removed from half the churches in Shuitou, with orders coming every month for more to come down. Many worshipers interviewed said they feared an era was coming to end.

In 2014, a church blocked a gate to protect its cross.
Didi Tang/Associated Press
“For years, we had no problems with the authorities,” a local worshiper said. “Our churches were welcomed by the government.”

The campaign began in 2014, when the government abruptly announced plans to demolish a church in the neighboring city of Wenzhou, saying it had not received the proper building permits. Then the government began issuing orders for churches across the province to remove their crosses.

The Salvation Church, a complex with three spires atop a three-story congregation hall, offices and a parking lot, quickly became a center of resistance. Hundreds of parishioners encircled the church to protect the cross, facing off against hundreds of riot police officers.

In one confrontation, about 50 church members were injured. Pictures of bruised and beaten Christians flooded social media and the websites of overseas Christian advocacy groups.

According to parishioners, the government put pressure on the most active members of the congregation. Some businessmen say their partners were pressured into canceling contracts with them. Others were told by their employers that they would lose their jobs if they continued to participate in protests.

After the church in Wenzhou was demolished, the Salvation Church gave in and agreed to take down its cross.

The government said that it was enforcing building codes and that all structures had been affected, not just churches. But documents reviewed by The New York Times show that provincial officials were worried that churches had begun to dominate the region’s skyline.

The crosses have come down in waves, with at least 1,200 removed as of last summer, according to people working for government-run churches. Many local residents estimate the figure is now close to 1,700.

“It was quiet late last year,” one local Christian said, “but the government is now making it clear that all of the crosses will go.”

As the authorities pressed the campaign, prominent Protestant and Catholic leaders across China, including senior figures in the government’s religious affairs bureaucracy, spoke out against it in sermons and on social media.

By The New York Times
One of them was Gu Yuese, the pastor of one of the biggest churches in the Chinese-speaking world, the Chongyi Church in the provincial capital of Hangzhou. As one of the best-known Protestant leaders in China, Mr. Gu was influential, and his criticism resonated beyond the region.

“These actions are a flagrant violation of the policy of religious freedom that the party and the government have been implementing and continuously perfecting for more than 60 years,” he wrote in a statement released on official government letterhead.

Then he was silenced. In January, the police detained Mr. Gu and charged him with misusing church funds. A few days later, another pastor in Zhejiang who had also spoken out was detained on similar charges.

“It’s a method to make us pay attention,” said the pastor of a government-run church in Wenzhou. “None of us have financial training, so if you send in an accountant, they will probably find something wrong.”

Several clergy members in the region said they were under pressure to demonstrate their loyalty to the Communist Party. Some churches, for example, have begun extolling Mr. Xi’s campaign to promote “core socialist values” — a slogan meant to offer a secular belief system that bolsters the party’s legitimacy.

Other churches have begun displaying their building permits, implicitly endorsing the government’s authority to approve or reject church construction, including crosses.

“We have to show that we are loyal Christians,” said an employee of the historic Chengxi Church in Wenzhou, “or else we could face trouble.”

In February, a prominent lawyer was shown on state television confessing to having colluded with foreign forces, especially American organizations, to stir up local Christians. The lawyer, Zhang Kai, had been in Zhejiang providing legal advice to churches that opposed the removal of their crosses.

A Sunday service at a state-sanctioned church in Wenzhou in
2014. There are an estimated 60 million Christians in China.
Sim Chi Yin for The New York Times
Unregistered churches appear vulnerable, too. In December, the police detained several members of the unregistered Living Stone church in southern China’s Guizhou Province after they refused to join a government-run Protestant church. The pastor was later arrested on charges of “divulging state secrets.”

“It’s easy for them to fabricate a crime and accuse you,” said the pastor of a large unregistered church in Wenzhou. “We have to be very careful.”

Many worshipers in Shuitou are eager to keep their heads low, in hopes that the storm will blow over.

One Sunday last month, about 300 people attended services at the Salvation Church, women sitting on the left side and men on the right — a reflection of traditional views toward worship. In the front of the church, above a big red cross, were six big characters that read: “Holiness to the Lord.”

Most of the people there were in their 50s or 60s, in part because many of the younger worshipers were boycotting Sunday services to protest the church’s decision to comply with the government’s order to remove the cross.

They have begun attending services on Thursdays instead, to mark the day of the week the cross came down. They used to participate in the church’s Bible study groups, but now study independently. Some wonder if they and others may stop worshiping in registered churches entirely and go underground.

A senior church leader, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said he and others had agreed to take down the cross because they feared the church would be demolished if they did not. People were on the verge of losing their jobs, he added, and church elders felt they had no choice but to call on parishioners to give in.

“More than three decades ago, we didn’t even have a church,” he said. “Persecution in church history has never stopped. All we can do is pray.”


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
Radio Free Asia
2016-04-25

■ A Chinese activist who helped the son of two detained human rights lawyers leave the country to attend college in the United States is being held under criminal detention, police have confirmed after holding him incommunicado for seven months.

Tang Zhishun and Xing Qingxian escorted Bao Zhuoxuan, 16, across the border from the southwestern Chinese province of Yunnan into northern Myanmar posing as tourists after the boy was slapped with a travel ban in the wake of his parents' arrest.

Bao, who is also known by his nickname Bao Mengmeng, is the son of rights lawyers Wang Yu and Bao Longjun, who were detained on the night of July 9, 2015 at the start of a nationwide police operation targeting the legal profession.

Tang Zhishun in an undated photo from lawyer Tan
Chenshou's social media account.
But Bao and his minders were taken away from the Huadu Guesthouse in the border town of Mongla by local police on Oct. 6, and handed over to the Chinese authorities, sources told RFA at the time.

Seven months later, Xing's family received official notification of his criminal detention on suspicion of "organizing the smuggling of persons across a national boundary."

While Xing and Tang had entered Myanmar legally, Bao's passport had been confiscated after his parents' detention.

Xing is currently being held in the Tianjin No. 2 Detention Center. It now looks likely that Tang is also being held in the city, which is coordinating the prosecutions of Wang, Bao Longjun and more than a dozen other rights attorneys on subversion and other charges.

226 days

"Two-hundred-and-twenty-six days after Tang Zhishun and Xing Qingxian were detained by Chinese police in Myanmar, I have finally received notification of Xing's criminal detention," Xing's wife He Juan said via Twitter on Thursday.

"This notification arrived as a registered letter," He told RFA . He is living in the U.S. where she fled after her husband's detention.

"It was originally addressed to the [ruling] Chinese Communist Party village committee [in my hometown]," she said. "My mother has just gotten home, so they just handed it to her."

He Juan hit out at the length of her husband's detention, and at the lack of information given to the family in the interim. The detention notice was signed and sealed by Tianjin police on May 7.

"I think that we had to wait far too long," she said. "The rule is that the family should be notified within 24 hours, and we didn't get this for 226 days."

"In that time, I have experienced terror, fear and despair, but at least my husband is still alive," she said.

Xing's birthday falls on June 4, the politically sensitive anniversary of the 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown, and He Juan called on supporters and fellow activists to send cards to the detention center to support him.

Meanwhile, Tang's lawyer Tan Chenshou told RFA that his client's family has yet to receive a similar notification.

"We haven't received anything here yet," Tan said. "But common sense says that they are probably being held in the same place."

Tough sentences

He said he expected both men to receive harsh jail terms for helping Bao Mengmeng.

"I think they'll give them tough sentences, because they use the word 'arranging'," Tan said, adding that the smuggling charge is usually used against human traffickers, not against those arranging for a single person's departure.

"As his lawyer, I don't think that what they did amounts to 'organizing the smuggling of persons across a national boundary," he said.

In an interview with RFA last October, Tang's wife Gao Shen, who also fled to the U.S. with the couple's daughter after his detention, said she feared the two men were at risk of torture.

"Secret detention is a terrifying thing," Gao said. "We are terribly afraid that the Chinese police may be torturing Tang Zhishun and Xing Qingxian, destroying them in order to get a forced confession."

China has detained, questioned or otherwise placed restrictions on at least 319 lawyers, law firm staff, human right activists and family members since the July 9 crackdown began, a Hong Kong-based rights group reported on its website.

Some have been criminally detained or formally arrested on subversion, state security or public order charges, while others have been banned from leaving the country or placed under house arrest or other forms of surveillance, the Chinese Human Rights Lawyers Concern Group said.

Rights lawyer Ran Tong said the practice of holding people incommunicado for long periods was "wrong."

"These enforced disappearances are all just plain wrong," Ran said."They are all illegal."

"Both Chinese law and international law is very clear about this, and this practice amounts to a criminal offense," he explained. "The families must be notified."

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


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
Reported in Chinese by Qiao Nong. Translated by Carolyn Song. Written in English by Rachel Ritchie.

Updated at 9:32 a.m. on May 20, 2016.

(Guiyang, Guizhou—May 17, 2016) The lawyers for an incarcerated house church pastor in Guiyang, the largest city in China’s inland Guizhou province, expressed their belief that their client was tortured in prison. This revelation comes on the heels of the announcement that the pastor’s case has been transferred to the court for trial and that a small group from pastor’s church was evicted.

Yang Hua, the pastor of the recently persecuted Huoshi Church, was first administratively detained on Dec. 9, 2015, then criminally detained for “illegally holding state secrets,” and arrested for “divulging state secrets” on Jan. 22.

One of Yang’s lawyers, Chen Jiangang, told China Aid that when he and his co-counsel, Zhao Yonglin, visited the pastor on April 22, they saw the prison official threaten Yang. Chen said they suspect that Yang has been subjected to inhumane treatment during his detention and reported that Yang was in low spirits. The lawyers are currently attempting to determine to what extent Yang has been mistreated.

The person from the Procuratorate office who is in charge of this case had coerced Pastor Yang Hua [to confess to his crimes],” Chen said on April 24 after meeting with Yang. “Now, Yang Hua is somewhat afraid. Since Yang Hua has not made any oral confessions, he has not done anything criminal. He neither understands the affairs of other people nor will speak irresponsibly about them. When the time for the decision came, the authorities extended his detention another three months.”

Yang Hua preaches to a crowd on Jan. 8, 2011.
(Photo: China Aid)
“We’ve gotten the files. ... He has been persecuted and made notes,” Chen said following the lawyers’ May visit.

Yang’s wife, Wang Hongwu, told China Aid that Yang’s lawyers also visited the pastor at the detention center on May 11. Wang said that shortly after, it was announced that her husband’s case had been transferred to the Nanming District Court in Guiyang after three months of review and that no trial date had been announced.

Authorities also summoned Yang’s wife in April. “The Nanming District Procuratorate summoned me to make a report. They asked some questions about my family situation and my activities dating from my time in elementary school to now,” Wang said. “Then, they raised questions about Yang Hua, asking me if I have seen the national secrets he posted on WeChat. They had a document clearly marked with the word ‘secrets’ … I said I don’t know anything about this matter. They mainly asked about these things. Besides that, they also asked if I ever let someone else use my cell phone.”

Additionally, China Aid learned that a small group from Huoshi Church was forced to relocate last week after the landlord renting apartment space to them evicted the group.

“Congregations are still held as small group gatherings. At least seven to eight people would attend, although not a large number of attendees,” Wang said after one such group was forced to move. “Many people joined different groups at different locations. Even so, the Jinyang group had to change locations several times because the police pressured the landlords, forcing them to revoke the lease.”

Since July 2015, four individuals—including two non-Christians who helped the church—have been arrested on varying charges. Authorities later banned the church from meeting and froze the church’s bank account, which contained 640,000 Yuan (U.S. $98,100). A fine of 20 Yuan (U.S. $3) per day per square foot was imposed on the church on Nov. 22, resulting in a total daily fine of 12,960 Yuan (U.S. $1,980) for the 648 square meter (6,975 square foot) space. Three church meeting places have been sealed, believers have been followed or surveilled, and some Christians have been interrogated and warned not to rejoin small worship groups.

Wang said that after Yang’s arrest, the burden of raising the family fell on her. “Just myself and two children—God’s grace is sufficient for us to live. God is gracious. God is watching over us.”

China Aid reports on human rights violations such as the incarceration of Yang Hua and the persecution of Huoshi Church in order to expose abuses committed by the Chinese government and promote rule of law and religious freedom in China.




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 Christian Times
Chiqui Guyjoco
18 May, 2016

A Christian Chinese woman has written a letter recounting the persecution she and her family suffered from the injustices of Chinese officials who demolished their home. She narrated her fight against what she referred to as China's evil power and the Chinese officials who she believed were tempted by the devil.

"The officials who afflicted us were tempted by the devil, and either are not limited to enslaving people or, out of fear, more openly resisting God by starting a movement to demolish crosses, arresting servants of the eternal God, and franticly seizing and injuring righteous people," wrote Wang Chunyan on April 5, in her letter which she entitled "From a petitioner against forced demolitions to Christ's soldier—God led me to the United States to fight." Her letter was translated by Carolyn Song, written in English by Brynne Lawrence, and published on China Aid.

A visitor takes a picture of a display bearing hand prints of war 
heroes from the War of Resistance against Japan, at Jianchuan 
Museum Cluster in Anren, Sichuan Province, China, May 13, 
2016. (Reuters/Kim Kyung Hoon)
"They are fiddling with the law to convict righteous people, intending to eliminate the voice of justice. [They] challenge God's people; what else can they do?" Chunyan asked. Chunyan also hinted that there might be a number of people who experienced or are going through the same pain she and her family suffered.

"However, every major holiday, the large streets and small alleys in Beijing brim with the persistent silhouettes of petitioners, even if they are unscrupulously suppressed or stopped," she added.

According to China Aid, the Wang's family home in Dalian, Liaoning, China was demolished by the Chinese authorities on June 4, 2008. This led them to seek a legal petition to the higher authorities in Beijing. Unfortunately, her mother passed away while they were on their way to the city.

Chunyan'solder sister, Wang Chunmei, was detained for a year and is still plagued by illness and injuries suffered at the hands of the officials. Her mentally disabled brother, Wang Yaxin, died next to the express railroad in Dalian while she was held for a month-long detention after attending a Bible study at Beijing Holy Love Fellowship Church. Chunyan lamented that she still doesn't know the real details concerning Yaxin's death and added that her mother and brother's dead bodies are still in the morgues in Beijing and Dalian.

Chunyan is now residing in the United States and accredits God's love and guidance for her exile. She encouraged the enslaved Chinese citizens and struggling petitioners to turn to God for their suffering.


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
Time
Nash Jenkins

■ "We want to demand self-determination in Hong Kong and an end to one-party rule in China," said defiant activist Joshua Wong

A small group of prominent Hong Kong democracy activists attempted Thursday to halt the motorcade of top official Zhang Dejiang — the most senior Chinese official to have visited the territory since 2014’s Umbrella Revolution — as it approached a major thoroughfare, but were foiled by police.

The activists spilled into the road at the northern egress of the Eastern Harbour Crossing tunnel, which connects Hong Kong Island to the rest of the territory, as Zhang and his security detail were about to pass through it. Police officers, who outnumbered the activists twofold, were quick to intervene.

Student activist Joshua Wong holds up a pro-democracy placard
after being detained by Hong Kong police on May 19, 2016
The protesters included Nathan Law and Joshua Wong, two students who came to political prominence here during the 2014 democracy demonstrations and now lead the a political party, Demosistō, which calls for self-determination for Hong Kong, bore the brunt of the conflict. Law was slammed by an officer into a fence; Wong was dragged along the pavement when he resisted. He and others were later charged with disorderly conduct and resisting or obstructing public officers

“I’m a bit injured,” Wong told TIME later, “but we showed Zhang our message — we want to demand self-determination in Hong Kong and an end to one-party rule in China.”

The clash was the first serious conflict during Zhang’s three-day visit, in large part because Hong Kong authorities had worked diligently to project an illusion of political peace. It was a massive orchestration: thousands of police officers were stationed around the city, including on boats in Victoria Harbour and at vantage points on the upper levels of skyscrapers.

Wan Chai, the commercial district where Zhang was staying and attending meetings, was effectively on lockdown. Inconspicuous “protest zones” had been established in the area, but demonstrators mostly ignored them, saying they had been purposely placed outside Zhang’s sight.

“If there are 6,000 officers and secret agents, and five activists can still make themselves seen, it shows they can’t suppress us,” Wong told TIME. “If you want to clear the roads from Wan Chai across the city, we are still going to block you at the midpoint.”

Zhang was in town to attend a forum on the Chinese trade initiative known as One Belt, One Road, but many saw a greater political significance to his visit. It comes at a time when some Hong Kongers — especially young intellectuals — are calling for the territory’s complete independence from China.

For those who support self-determination, the logic is simple: Hong Kong’s freedoms have gradually been eroded since Britain returned the former colony to China in 1997; to preserve them, Hong Kong must do away with the constitutional dynamic known as “one country, two systems” and divorce itself from the mainland altogether.

It is an idea that Zhang firmly condemned at a banquet given in his honor on Wednesday night. He assured his audience that Hong Kong would not lose its distinct sociopolitical identity, but then called on the local judiciary to crack down on political dissenters — “fulfill the solemn duty to safeguard the rule of law,” as he put it, according to a report in the South China Morning Post.

“This is not the ‘rule of law’ as we understand it in Hong Kong,” Michael Davis, an expert on Chinese and Hong Kong law at the University of Hong Kong, told TIME on Thursday. “He basically spoke to the mainland version of ‘rule of law’ — that is, the party makes the law and is above the law, and the obligation of the people is to follow this law.”

In this case, Davis says, the law concerns “national security,” a sweeping term used by Chinese authorities to forbid and punish acts of speech that threaten the hegemony of one-party rule. A sweeping piece of legislation ratified by China’s rubber-stamp legislature last July — on the anniversary, incidentally, of Hong Kong’s return to China — signified an unprecedented crackdown.

“Zhang was saying that [Hong Kong authorities] should take matters of ‘national security’ more seriously, and give less attention to the legal guarantees of free speech,” Davis 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
South China Morning Post
By Surya Deva
Published: Thursday, 19 May, 2016, 11:13am

■ Surya Deva says if unjustified, the extensive security measures aimed at protecting the NPC chairman in Hong Kong will only further alienate government critics

Zhang Dejiang (張德江), chairman of the National People’s Congress, said he is in Hong Kong to “see, listen and speak”. In addition to addressing a forum on “One Belt, One Road”, Zhang said he would listen to “all sectors of society” on “what recommendations and requirements they have” regarding the implementation of “one country, two systems”.
Zhang offers olive branch, but stands solidly versus notion of Hong Kong independence

Pro-democracy protesters scuffle with police outside Central 
Plaza in Wan Chai on Wednesday. Photo: Felix Wong 
Given the unprecedented security by Hong Kong police for Zhang’s visit and his itinerary, it doesn’t seem he will get to see, listen or speak to a representative section of society. One may think that the security arrangements are counterproductive to the very purpose of Zhang’s visit.

A more plausible explanation might be that Zhang’s “seeing, listening and speaking” was meant to be seen through the “one country” lens. Except for a meeting with a select few pan-democrat lawmakers, anyone espousing the cause of “two systems” would have be screened out.

Zhang’s remark reminded me of the three wise monkeys who “see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil”. The Hong Kong government has gone to great lengths to ensure Zhang sees or hears no “evil” talk of universal suffrage, the missing booksellers’ saga or human rights generally.
Of course, there’s no question of interacting with people arguing for “self-determination”.

While noble goals such as human rights feature in the constitutional documents of both mainland China and Hong Kong, the actual practice is quite different in the two jurisdictions. In the case of a visit by a Chinese leader to Hong Kong, the actual practice of human rights here should guide what should or should not be kept out of his sight.

Pro-democracy protesters hold a yellow umbrella and a banner 
near the venue of the Belt and Road Summit where NPC 
chairman Zhang Dejiang gave a keynote speech. Photo: EPA
Hongkongers also deserve an explanation from the government about the nature of the terrorist threats which triggered the deployment of some 8,000 officers for Zhang’s security. Terrorism poses a threat globally. But frivolous threats should not be used as an excuse to curtail human rights. Nor should taxpayers’ money be wasted on unwarranted security arrangements.

Excessive security measures often bring violent or radical reactions from aggrieved people. The post-Umbrella Movement strengthening of radicalism and localism is a case in point. In fact, something must be fundamentally wrong with the current state of affairs when top Chinese leaders cannot visit Hong Kong without so much security.

Rather than being dismissive of Hongkongers who feel alienated or disillusioned by “one country, two systems”, both mainland Chinese and Hong Kong political leaders must have an open dialogue with such people and, in turn, build trust. History shows that force alone cannot control social discontent for long.

Surya Deva is an associate professor at City University’s School 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