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By Tenzin Monlam
[Wednesday, May 04, 2016 19:05]

■ Dharamshala, May 4: The Washington-based bipartisan US federal government commission on freedom of religion in their 2016 annual report stated that religious freedom has ‘been under serious and sustained assault’ last year.

“Over the past year, the Chinese government has stepped up its persecution of religious groups deemed a threat to the state’s supremacy and maintenance of a ‘socialist society’,” United State Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) stated in its latest report.

The report detailed the government’s forcibly removing crosses and bulldozing churches, violent crackdown on Uighur Muslims and Tibetan Buddhists and their rights and subjection to harassment, harsh policies and imprisonment.

In 2015, the Chinese Communist Party tightened its internal ideology, elevating the crusade against the three evils - separatism, terrorism and religious extremism - particularly with respect to religious freedom.

The report also accused Beijing of increasingly ‘targeting of human rights lawyers and dissidents who advocated for religious freedom.’

As far as crackdown on Tibetan Buddhist is concern, the year 2015 reflected China’s continued extreme surveillance and strictly monitoring over monasteries’ cultural and religious practices. The report also showed constant raids and officials trying to infiltrate monasteries with Communist Party propaganda. “Reports indicated increased government interference in the education and training of young Buddhist monks. In protest of these and other repressive policies, at least 143 Tibetans have self-immolated since February 2009,” it stated.

USCIRF also highlighted the death in detention of Tulku Tenzin Delek Rinpoche under suspicious circumstances in July 2015. It also mentioned notable anniversaries of the past year including the 50th anniversary of Beijing’s control over the TAR and the 20th anniversary of the disappearance of the 11th Panchen Lama Gendun Choekyi Nyima.

“China’s approach to religious freedom and related human rights does not comply with international standards. At the same time, China increasingly flouts these standards as it grows more assertive on the global stage and seeks to assume the mantle of world leadership,” the report said while recommending certain steps including high level bilateral dialogues and meetings and releasing of prisoners of conscience who have been detained for the peaceful exercise of their faith.


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
2016-05-03

■ As the world marks World Press Freedom day, President Xi Jinping has stepped up warnings to members of the ruling Chinese Communist Party to make their loyalties clear in public and not to allow "western" ideas to seep into their thinking.

Xi's ideological campaign, which intensified earlier this year with his tour of the country's leading state media outlets, is sending out a strong message that public debate must be shaped by the Communist Party and not by "hostile foreign forces" peddling values like democracy, human rights and the rule of law.

Chinese property tycoon and celebrity tweeter Ren Zhiqiang,
a critic of President Xi Jinping's campaign to tighten control
over state-run media, delivers a speech to university students
in Wuhan, central China's Hubei province, Dec. 17, 2015.
ImagineChina
The president warned in a recent speech of "careerists and conspirators," "cabals and cliques" in party ranks who should be eliminated, state media reported on Tuesday.

"There are careerists and conspirators existing in our party and undermining the party's governance," Xi was quoted as saying the state news agency Xinhua.

"We should not bury our heads in the sand and spare these members but must make a resolute response to eliminate the problem and deter further violations," the agency and party mouthpiece the People's Daily quoted Xi as saying in a January speech.

Loose ‘Cannon’

The speech was published a day after the party announced disciplinary action against freewheeling "big V" tweeter and property tycoon Ren Zhiqiang for his attacks on party propaganda.

Ren, whose tweets had earned him the nickname "Cannon," had hit out at the use of taxpayers' money to fund party campaigns on his now-deleted social media accounts, which had boasted some 37 million followers.

Xi was quoted in the party publication Qiushi on Tuesday, however, as saying that the huge volume of online content means that the party must exert stronger, not weaker, ideological control.

Echoing his recent warnings to the country's media, Xi said schools training party cadres should also "take the party's surname, or there is no reason for them to exist."

He accused some people of "promoting western capitalist values and world views," and called on party members to be vigilant for "hostile forces both in China and overseas," the magazine said.

Such forces are trying to get the Chinese Communist Party to change its spots, and fly another banner, Xi warned.

Hold that thought


Germany-based journalist Chang Ping said Xi's warnings come as the party continues a nationwide campaign to control all forms of public expression.

"The Chinese Communist Party is stepping up its political controls, and controls on freedom of expression are a very important part of that," Chang told RFA.

"They are using persecution and suppression, both within party ranks and outside the party, as well as every possible excuse to try and sentence rights activists and lawyers, as well as journalists and citizen journalists, just for expressing an opinion in public," he said.

"Either that, or they are subjected to police harassment and house arrest; all of this has become much worse during the past year," he said.

Meanwhile, Hebei-based veteran journalist Zhu Xinxin said Xi appears to be employing similar tactics to late supreme leader Mao Zedong, in rallying party members against "conspirators."

"We really should take a lesson from history now ... and recognize the harm that was done by the Communist Party," Zhu said.

"Those of us who live in China can see the gradual collapse of everything around us, but we have no way of stopping it; the whole system is sick to the core," he said.

U.S.-based rights activist Liu Nianchun agreed, saying that it was such conspiracy theories that prompted Mao to launch a decade of political violence and turmoil on the nation from 1966-1976.

"Xi Jinping's world view was formed in the Mao era," Liu said. "But nobody believes in such utopian ideas as communism anymore."

"It's all an illusion," he said.

Reported by Xin Lin and Yang Jiadai for RFA's Mandarin Service, and by Wong Lok-to 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
The New York Times
By Austin Ramzy
May 4, 2016

■ Hong Kong — A man believed to be the last person still in prison for participating in the 1989 Tiananmen protests is scheduled to be released later this year, a human rights group said.

The man, Miao Deshun, was given an 11-month reduction in his sentence this spring, which means he should be released in October, according to the Dui Hua Foundation, an organization based in San Francisco that has lobbied for Mr. Miao and other prisoners from that era.

Mr. Miao was convicted of arson for throwing a basket onto a burning tank and was sentenced to death with a two-year reprieve in August 1989. He was one of more than 1,500 people sentenced to prison after the crackdown in June 1989 on protesters in Beijing and other cities left hundreds, possibly thousands, of people dead.

Mr. Miao, 51, was a worker from Hebei Province, and his harsh sentence may have been connected to his lowly status. Workers involved in the protests generally received longer jail terms than students.

Tiananmen Square on June 2, 1989. More than 1,500 people were sentenced to
prison after the crackdown that began a day later.
Catherine Henriette/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
Former prisoners who knew Mr. Miao recalled him as extremely thin, and one said that guards would not shackle him, probably because he did not have the strength to move with chains around his feet, the BBC reported in 2014.

Dui Hua said that Mr. Miao has had no contact with the outside world in many years, and that he has hepatitis B and schizophrenia.

The group had raised Mr. Miao’s case in 17 prisoner lists submitted to the Chinese authorities since 2005. He was given a one-year sentence reduction in 2012, and his sentence was reduced again in March for good behavior, making him eligible for release in October.

“We welcome this news, and express the hope that he will receive the care he needs to resume a normal life after spending more than half of it behind bars,” John Kamm, executive director of the Dui Hua Foundation, said in a written statement.


China Aid Contacts
Rachel Ritchie, English Media Director
Cell: (432) 553-1080 | Office: 1+ (888) 889-7757 | Other: (432) 689-6985
Email: r.ritchie@chinaaid.org
Website: www.chinaaid.org
Church members peer through the
sealed gates of a place used for
prayer meetings, which government
personnel demolished.
(Photo: China Aid)
China Aid
Reported in Chinese by Qiao Nong. Translated by Carolyn Song. Written in English by Brynne Lawrence.

(Baoding, Hebei—May 4, 2016) A Catholic priest from China’s northern Hebei province disappeared on April 15 during a driving test.

Yang Jianwei, a priest from a rural, predominately Catholic village in the city of Baoding, lost contact with his family and friends at 12:00 p.m. on April 15, shortly after he entered an examination room to take a driving test.

His relatives repeatedly called him, but his cell phone had been turned off. Members of his church, who accompanied him to the driving test, searched the facility but could not find him. When they asked to view surveillance footage, the staff refused to produce it, claiming they would only do so if they received the consent of the local public security bureau.

That afternoon, Yang’s family arrived and called the police; however, the local police station said they lacked sufficient manpower to investigate the case and promised to review the security footage with the family members once they had enough men.

The government began persecuting Catholics in the village on May 22, 2015, when authorities dispatched 500 officials to destroy part of a venue used for prayer meetings. During the demolition, two church members were detained, and one woman suffered injuries. Officially, government personnel claimed that the church members “gathered illegally” when they met to perform mass.

China Aid exposes abuses, such as those experienced by Yang Jianwei and the congregation of his church, 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
Christianity Daily
May 02, 2016 06:25 pm EDT

■ In a first conference on religious freedom in 15 years, Chinese president Xi Jinping provided his views on how to rein in religion.

The president directed the authorities to unite religious and non-religious people, and "guide those religious to love their country, protect the unification of their motherland and serve the overall interests of the Chinese nation," the Xinhua news agency reported.

Chinese President Xi Jinping saind in a press conference on
religious freedom, that he seeks to provide support to religious
groups, and form a leadership that is controlled by CPC.
(Photo : Global Panorama/Flickr/CC)
His vision of unification included providing support to religious groups, and form a leadership which conforms to standards of Communist Party of China, and carries out its functions democratically and efficiently.

Xi said that Christians should "merge religious doctrines with Chinese culture, abide by Chinese laws and regulations, and devote themselves to China's reform and opening up drive and socialist modernization in order to contribute to the realization of the Chinese dream of national rejuvenation."

"We should guide and educate the religious circle and their followers with the socialist core values, and guide the religious people with ideas of unity, progress, peace and tolerance," he continued.

He said, the groups shall "dig deep into doctrines and canons that are in line with social harmony and progress, and favorable for the building of a healthy and civilized society, and interpret religious doctrines in a way that is conducive to modern China's progress and in line with our excellent traditional culture."

Xi maintained that foreign influence in the country through religion and extremism must be guarded against.

"We must resolutely guard against overseas infiltrations via religious means and prevent ideological infringement by extremists," he said.

The other six Politburo Standing Committee members, who attended the meeting and are regarded as high-serving officials in CPC, also spoke about the importance of religious freedom and rule of law.

The speech had many references to regulating religion through law. Since this was the first conference on "religious freedom" under President Xi, a new law on religion may be in the offing, experts say.

"China's constitution has long guaranteed freedom of religion, but that is something that has been difficult to realize, true religious freedom," Su Tianfu, pastor and leader of the Huoshi Church, was quoted as saying by VOA. "While [officials] talked about religious freedom at the meeting, it is something that we still find hard to be optimistic about."

China had always thought that religion should serve socialism, but under President Xi, calls for "sinification" of Christians have again taken precedence.

"They want to make sure that they have retained the reins of power," said Lauren Pfister, a professor of religion at Hong Kong Baptist University. China is "slowly tightening the grips" on religion, he said. "The question is how far will this go?"


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
Quartz
By Pablo WangEcho Hui
May 02, 2016

■ Chen Wenying, the 70-year old mother of detained labor activist Zeng Feiyang, knew that suing Xinhua for defamation of her son could lead to problems. She worried about pressure on her whole family, including her grandsons, but filed the suit because she felt Zeng was being smeared in state media without a trial, or even a visit from a lawyer.

““I know my son, he’s a good man,” Chen said in a phone interview in April soon after the suit was filed, in which she mentioned her fears. “Something doesn’t seem right. After four months only my son hasn’t been granted access to his defense attorney. If he broke the law, he will have to face the consequences, but I have to see my son so I can have some peace of mind.”

But the pressure from authorities has apparently been greater than she anticipated. Just a few weeks after filing the lawsuit, she’s dropping it, a relative tells Quartz, because of the relentless harassment of Zeng’s family by local authorities. Chen refused a follow-up interview, and family members say she has been warned by the authorities not to speak to foreign media. Her lawyer said Monday (May 2) that he didn’t even know she was dropping the case.

Zeng Feiyang in Guangzhou. (Retuers/Alexandra Harney)
Zeng’s entire extended family has been under great pressure from the authorities since Chen presented the case against Xinhua, according to a family member who wish to remain anonymous. Last Sunday, Chen’s ID was taken by the police, who told her they were confiscating it to provide a “helpful service” and drop the case on her behalf.

Zeng’s wife, a school teacher, has been not only been visited regularly by police, but her job has been threatened by the management at the school where she works, which demanded she keep a low profile since Zeng’s detention if she wanted to remain employed.

Cousins and nephews of Zeng have received phone calls from blocked numbers telling them that “those who are inside cannot come out, and those outside will bear the consequences for generations to come,” one family member said, an apparent reference to Zeng, who is being detained “inside,” and his family on the “outside.” “Those who are inside cannot come out, and those outside will bear the consequences for generations to come,” the anonymous caller said.

“They know where I work and they’ve come to visit me several times,” the relative added.

Chen’s lawyer Chang Weiping said in a telephone interview it was news to him that the family was dropping the case. “I cannot immediately confirm if they’ve finally succumbed and dropped out,” he said May 2. “I haven’t been informed, (but) she can drop the case without my intervention,” Chang added.

Zeng was the director of Panyu Workers Association, a Guangzhou-based organization mediating labor disputes and offering migrant workers legal assistance. He was detained last December, amid a massive crackdown on labor NGO’s in southern China. Xinhua and other state-run news outlets ran articles accusing Zeng of fraud, disturbing social order, and having extramarital affairs.

The articles follow an increasingly familiar pattern for activists, journalists, publishers, and others who are detained in China. Long before any trial, reports alleging misdeeds from adultery to fraud appear in state media, sometimes accompanied by teary, televised confessions that many believe are coerced. The situation threatens detainees’ chance at a fair trial and undermines the rule of law, legal experts say.

“Feiyang is also a good son,” his mother said in the April phone interview. “Before he was detained he came very often to take care of his father, give him massages, and keep him company in the hospital,” where his father is undergoing cancer treatment. “I only hope he can come back soon and help me take care of his dad,” she said, before breaking into tears.


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 Wall Street Journal
May 3, 2016 4:07 pm HKT

■ Even as China’s government amplifies efforts to silence a new generation of dissidents, its fight against an older generation may soon come to a symbolic end.

Miao Deshun, the last known person still in prison for crimes related to the 1989 Tiananmen Square democracy protests, is due to be released in October after being granted a sentence reduction, according to a San Francisco-based human-rights group that advocates on behalf of Chinese prisoners.

The Dui Hua Foundation learned about Mr. Miao’s impending release after it submitted a request to the Chinese government for an update on his situation earlier this year, the group said in a statement released on Tuesday.

People attend an annual candlelight vigil at Victoria Park in
Hong Kong, China June 4, 2015 to mark Beijing's Tiananmen
Square crackdown in 1989. Photo: Reuters
More than 1,600 Chinese citizens were sentenced to prison in the wake of the bloody June 4 crackdown on pro-democracy protesters and their supporters that was beamed onto television sets around the world. Mr. Miao’s punishment came two months after the soldiers crushed the protest movement; a Beijing court found him guilty of arson for throwing a basket on a burning tank.

He was sentenced to death with a two-year reprieve, which was later commuted to life in prison. He has cut off contact with his family, according to human rights groups, but former fellow prisoners have said he stood out for refusing to do prison labor or express regret over his participation in the protests. For a while, rumors circulated that he might have died.

Mr. Miao, now 51 years old, suffers from hepatitis B and schizophrenia and was transferred in 2003 to Beijing’s Yanqing Prison, known for housing sick and disabled prisoners, according to Dui Hua.

“We welcome this news, and express the hope that he will receive the care he needs to resume a normal life after spending more than half of it behind bars,” Dui Hua founder John Kamm said in the statement.

A statue of the Goddess of Democracy is displayed outside
the China Liaison Office during a pro-democracy protest in
Hong Kong, China May 31, 2015, four days before the 26th
anniversary of the military crackdown on the pro-democracy
movement at Beijing's Tiananmen Square. Photo: Reuters
Mr. Miao’s sentence had been reduced twice previously, once in 1998 and again in 2012, according to Dui Hua. The most recent reduction came after he was cited for good behavior, the group said.

Mr. Miao’s family could not be reached. A person answering the phone at Yanqing Prison declined to comment, telling China Real Time, “Your identity is a little unusual. I can’t confirm this news for you.”

Fellow Tiananmen prisoners released before Mr. Miao have walked varying paths, some harder than others. A number of protest leaders, including Wang Juntao and Wang Dan, made their way overseas after relatively brief prison stays. Another leader, Chen Ziming, lived under close watch in Beijing until his death in 2014.

Yet another Tiananmen activist, Li Wangyang, died under suspicious circumstances in a hospital a year after his 2011 release. His death touched off protests in Hong Kong in which thousands of peoplemarched silently through the city’s downtown area, some wearing white mourning clothes.

Although the fight is now largely being fought through social media, the Tiananmen protests and their brutal suppression continue to exert an influence on members of China’s dissident community and on the government’s efforts to silence them.

Determined not to let another protest movement gather steam, Chinese President Xi Jinping has been aggressive in preemptively crushing activist networks — even relatively moderate ones — that threaten to coalesce into any form of organized opposition. Many younger activists, meanwhile, describe getting interested in activism after being exposed to the people and ideals that drove the protests, even if their own goals are more modest than the full-scale political change students sought then.

China Real Time encountered one such activist outside a funeral service for Chen Ziming a year and a half ago. She had come to pay her respects, she said, because “the beliefs he wrote about in his essays are the same as my beliefs.”

– Josh Chin. Follow him on Twitter @joshchin.


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
Christian Today
By Carey Lodge 
29 April 2016

■ A Chinese pastor who has defended churches facing demolition has been arrested along with his wife and son, campaigners say.

Wen Xiaowu, who leads a house church in Wenzhou, Zhejiang province, on China's eastern coast, and his family were criminally detained on April 26. They are accused of "gathering a crowd to disturb social order" and "obstruction of public service", China Aid said.

The human rights organisation said relatives believe these are trumped up charges.

In a statement, China Aid said: "Family members believe... the real reason for the arrests is most probably because of their contacts/meetings with US Consulate officials in Shanghai.

"Pastor Wen has been very active in legal defence work for the churches in Zhejiang during the forced cross demolition campaign in the last three years."

The Communist Party is believed to be becoming
progressively more suspicious of the influence of Christianity,
which is experiencing significant growth in China. Reuters
The organisation branded Wen's arrest "a very disturbing chilling development", and likened it to the case of Christian human rights lawyer Zhang Kai, who was released after seven months detention in 'black jail' in March.

Zhang had represented more than 100 churches fighting orders to remove their crosses.

Wen, his wife and their son have not been allowed to see any relatives, and have had their computers and other items confiscated.

They had apparently briefed foreign journalists about the forced cross demolition campaign in Zhejiang.

The Communist Party is believed to be becoming progressively more suspicious of the influence of Christianity, which is experiencing significant growth in China. Up to 1,700 churches have been demolished or had their crosses removed in Zhejiang in the past two years.

Wenzhou is dubbed the "Jerusalem of the East" for reportedly having the largest Christian community in China.

"To arrest Pastor Wen and his family members (for normal meetings) is a direct slap of face to the US government and American people. He is a man with integrity and passion who is always ready to help others," said Bob Fu, founder and president of China Aid.

"Despite of constant threat against him and his family in the past few years by state security agents, for the sake of rule of law and religious freedom in China, he and his wife have been boldly providing legal counsel for churches and persecuted rights defenders in Zhejiang.

"I urge the US government to work with the Chinese authorities for the immediate release of the Wen's family and other arrested innocent church leaders."

On April 14, a pastor's wife was killed in Henan province after stepping in front of a bulldozer to protest her church's demolition.


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
CB Condez
30 April, 2016

■ China's campaign to remove “illegal structures" in the country had cost a woman her life as she tried to stop the demolition of a church. Less than two weeks later, the land in dispute where the incident happened was declared as her husband's and the church's.

According to international human rights organization China Aid, a village administrative committee along with the township government and the local ministry of land and resources ruled on April 25 that the land -- the site in Zhumadian, Henan province where Ding Cuimei died while the Betou Church was being demolished -- is owned by her husband Pastor Li Jiangong and the Church, and it can be used for religious purposes.

Jiangong and the group are appreciative of the ruling, although they are also hoping that the perpetrators would be made to pay for their crime.

A catholic prays ahead of a mass at the Liuhe Catholic
Church in Liuhe village on the outskirts of Qingxu county,
northern China's Shanxi province, September 10, 2011.
(Reuters/Jason Lee)
"While we are glad to see that the local authorities acted swiftly and fairly under international pressure to resolve the church's right to their land, we are concerned that justice for the family of the martyr is still not done," said China Aid president Bob Fu.

Cuimei was buried alive in mid-April when she and her husband stood in the way of a bulldozing team, which, according to China Aid's earlier report, was dispatched by a government-backed company to destroy the church. The couple was reportedly pushed down a pit, which was then covered with dirt. Lo managed to dig himself out, but his wife suffocated and did not make it. Two of the demolition crew were detained although no information about the possible charges have been announced.

"Pastor Li's wife, Sister Ding Cuimei, was brutally killed on April 14," Fu said. "We appeal to the Chinese authorities to hold those criminal perpetrators accountable with a fair investigation and standard judicial process with full justice and unhindered legal representation by Beijing based human rights lawyer Li Dunyong."

The demolition of the church is part of the Communist Party's campaign to "beautify" China, under which thousands of crosses have been removed from structures and some churches have been destroyed.


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
Forbes
By Michael Auslin
Apr 28, 2016 @ 05:36 pm

■ For those wondering if regular reports of a crackdown on civil society in China are real, the news that Beijing has announced a new law further controlling foreign non-governmental organizations (NGOs) operating in China should lay to rest any doubts. Worse, it should also convince even whatever skeptics are left that China is increasingly turning away from global norms and by extension is heading down a path of more insularity.

The new law was announced last year, and immediately came under heavy criticism. Foreign NGOs, estimated at more than 7,000 in China, as well as foreign governments and academics all decried the oppressive law, urging it to be amended before being passed by the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress.

Chinese President Xi Jinping
(Photographer: Dennis Brack/Pool via Bloomberg)
Instead, the law was finalized in essentially its original form, and the most intrusive elements of the law remained in the text. As the New York Timesreports, the law “requires that foreign nongovernmental organizations register with the Ministry of Public Security and allow the police to scrutinize all aspects of their operations, including finances, at any time.” Nor will foreign NGOs any longer be allowed to operate alone, but must find an officially approved Chinese partner. The law casts a wide net, snaring think tanks, research organizations, hospitals, academic centers and social organizations.

There is much to say on how this will curtail, limit and intimidate foreign NGOs in China. The hopes such organizations have long had, that their activities will help develop Chinese civil society, is precisely the fear that Chinese authorities have.

Chinese President Xi Jinping has focused as much on clamping down on grassroots groups and movements as he has on consolidating his personal power and building a proto-cult of personality. His anti-corruption campaign has served to clean up some graft in the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and government as much as it has allowed him to neutralize potential threats to his power and cast a pall over Chinese society. While China remains far from the dark days of Mao Zedong, Xi is moving the country down a path that is more illiberal, more capricious and more repressive than at any time since at least the Tiananmen Square massacre, in 1989. The fear the CCP has that effective grassroots groups could somehow pose a challenge to its control or authority is laid bare by the sweep of the law. That it is passed in a time of increasing economic uncertainty should further illuminate the mindset of China’s authoritarian leaders.

Now, the pressure is reaching foreigners in China. Some are expat Chinese, working with groups focused on religious freedom or ethnic issues. Others are global behemoths like the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. All will now find their work much harder to carry out, and some may see it become all but impossible. Xi and his colleagues apparently see little downside in angering the West. Perhaps they believe that their actions will have no consequences for trade or investment. Most certainly they are willing to risk bad PR and strained political relations in order to reduce, control or eliminate Western influence in China.

The real news about the law is what it says about China’s future. The West has long held hopes that China would eventually, though slowly liberalize as it become ever more integrated with the global community. This internationalization now seems unlikely to take place anytime soon, if ever. Instead, a more repressive and insular regime is focusing increasingly on staving off any threats–real or imagined–to its power. That means a China more difficult to deal with, and one potentially more dangerous, should the CCP believe that even stronger methods are needed to preserve its control.

The West’s assumption that it constantly must try for deeper engagement with Chinese society and leaders needs to be rethought. Further efforts may wind up being counterproductive, leading to more repression, and hurting the very people NGOs hope to help. After two decades of globalization, a regime whose trust in the world remains so low will not be a willing partner in most of the efforts about which the liberal world cares. Sometimes, the only thing to do is watch and wait.

Michael Auslin, a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, is the author of The End of the Asian Century (forthcoming, Yale). Follow him on Twitter @michaelauslin


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
Christian Daily
By Lorraine Caballero
29 April, 2016 12:25 pm

■ China's Communist Party is still not done demolishing Christian Churches in the country as it reportedly ordered the destruction of another Church building claiming the placement of its cross was too high.

On April 13, authorities demolished the Island Head Christian Church in Wenzhou, Zhejiang, saying the structure violated China's policy on buildings. Church members initially fought against the demolition team, but later relented after they received threats from the officials, according to China Aid.

Believers take part in a weekend mass at an underground
Catholic Church in Tianjin. November 10, 2013.
(Reuters/Kim Kyung-Hoon)
The damage done to the three-storey Church building reportedly amounts to around CNY3 million (US$460,000).

Chinese authorities have destroyed more than 2,000 Churches in the Zhejiang province in the last two years. In March 2016 alone, they have taken down at least 50 crosses in Wenzhou.

Authorities say the cross removal is part of the government's "Three Rectifications and One Demolition" campaign. To justify the demolitions, they say the buildings and crosses were constructed illegally.

In a February interview with The Christian Post, China Aid President Bob Fu said the cross-removal campaign is among the Communist Party's strategies to address its concerns about the growing population of Christians in China.

"The top leadership is increasingly worried about the rapid growth of Christian faith and their public presence, and their social influence," said Fu in the 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."

Some of the Christians who protested the Church demolitions and cross-removal campaigns were arrested. There was also the case of the pastor's wife, Ding Cuimei, whose opposition to the forced demolition of the Beitou Church had her ending up dead. A demolition crew buried her alive after she and her husband tried to fight off the team tasked to destroy their Church in Zhumadian, Henan province.

Fu blasted Chinese authorities and those responsible for Ding's death. He said the case involved a grave violation of the rights of life, rule of law, and religious freedom. He also called on the authorities to step up and protect the Church members' religious liberty and make sure that those who killed Ding will be held accountable for their crime.



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
Associated Press
By Didi Tang
Apr. 28, 2016 7:11 pm EDT

■ Beijing (AP) — China passed a law Thursday tightening controls over foreign non-governmental organizations by subjecting them to close police supervision, a move officials say will help the groups but critics charge is the latest attempt by authorities to clamp down on perceived threats to the ruling Communist Party's control.
Han Yuhong, an official from the Public Security Bureau
listens to questions during a press conference about a law
regulating overseas non-governmental organizations held at the
Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, Thursday, April 28,
2016. China passed a much-debated law on foreign
non-governmental organizations on Thursday in a move in
which Beijing says would better serve the groups but critics
are concerned would further restrict them by subjecting them to
close police supervision. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)

The law, adopted by the national legislature, states that foreign NGOs must not endanger China's national security and ethnic unity. It grants police the power to question NGO administrators, search residences and facilities and seize files and equipment.

The move to pass such a law has drawn criticism from U.S. and European officials and business and academic organizations. They are concerned it will severely restrict the operations of a wide range of groups, further limiting the growth of civil society in China and hindering exchanges between China and the rest of the world.


The law includes a clause that allows police to blacklist "unwelcome" groups and prevent them from operating in the country. Groups can be blacklisted if they commit violations ranging from illegally obtaining unspecified state secrets to "spreading rumors, slandering or otherwise expressing or disseminating harmful information that endangers state security."

The Network of Chinese Human Rights Defenders denounced the law as "draconian," saying it allows police to exercise "daily supervision and monitoring" of foreign NGOs. The law will have "a profoundly detrimental impact on civil society in China," it said.

Chinese officials pat each other on the back after a press
conference about a law regulating overseas non-governmental
organizations held at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing,
China, Thursday, April 28, 2016. China passed a much-debated
law on foreign non-governmental organizations on Thursday in
a move in which Beijing says would better serve the groups but
critics are concerned would further restrict them by subjecting
them to close police supervision. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)
The group said the most alarming aspects include the ability of police to end foreign NGO-organized activities that they deem to "endanger national security," a term that is not clearly defined. Police will also be able to more closely monitor foreign organizations' funding sources and expenses, "which has the chilling effect of intimidation," the group said.

The law appears to be an effort to utilize of the resources and expertise of foreign NGOs as China struggles with problems including environmental pollution and mental health, while preventing them from competing with the Communist Party for hearts and minds.

Still, the final version of the law eased many of the restrictions included in an earlier draft, including

exempting foreign schools, medical facilities, and academic and research groups in natural sciences and engineering technology.

It also allows foreign NGOs to set up multiple representative offices in China, removes restrictions on hiring volunteers and staff, and eliminates a requirement that they reapply for permission to operate in China every five years.

Chinese officials answer questions about a law regulating
overseas non-governmental organizations during a press
conference at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China,
Thursday, April 28, 2016. China passed a law Thursday
tightening controls over foreign non-governmental
organizations by subjecting them to close police supervision, a
move officials say will help the groups but critics charge is
the latest attempt by authorities to clamp down on perceived
threats tot he ruling Communist Party's control.
(AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)
However, in an apparent attempt to limit their influence, the law bans foreign groups from setting up regional chapters, recruiting members from among the public at large or raising funds within China. It also subjects them to closer financial scrutiny, requiring that they submit annual reports detailing their sources of financing, spending activities and changes in personnel.


"You are here to do deeds, not to build up your troops," Guo Linmao, a legal inspector for the legislature, said at a news conference following the law's passage.

Guo sought to offer words of assurance, saying the law aims primarily to welcome foreign non-governmental groups, help promote their activities and protect their lawful interests while filtering out those few organizations that may hurt China's national security and interests in the name of NGO work.

And, despite a relentless crackdown on domestic legal aid and civic society groups, Guo said international organizations working on human rights issues are welcome in China, as long as they comply with Chinese laws.

Guo Linmao, a legal inspector for the Chinese legislature
leaves after a press conference about a law regulating
overseas non-governmental organizations held at the Great
Hall of the People in Beijing, China, Thursday, April 28, 2016.
China passed a much-debated law on foreign
non-govermental organizations on Thursday in a move in which
Beijing says would better serve the groups but critics are
concerned would further restrict them by subjecting them to
close police supervision. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)
He said the law shifted the authority to register and supervise foreign groups from civil affairs bureaus to the police under the Ministry of Public Security in part because Chinese police already have responsibility for managing and overseeing foreign nationals.

U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken told a congressional hearing Thursday that sent a "terrible signal" to NGOs which are acting for the benefit of China and its people. Secretary of State John Kerry said in a statement he was deeply concerned that the law would hurt people-to-people ties between the U.S. and China by creating a "highly uncertain and potentially hostile environment" for such groups.

Many overseas organizations have partnered with Chinese academic and social groups, but still operate in a legal gray area that leaves them vulnerable to crackdowns by security forces.

In one recent example, China in January deported a Swedish man it accused of training and funding unlicensed lawyers in the country.
___

Associated Press writer Matthew Pennington in Washington, D.C., contributed to this report.


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's criminal detention notice. A
translation of this document is forthcoming.
(Photo: China Aid)
China Aid
By Brynne Lawrence

(Wenzhou, Zhejiang—April 29, 2016) Authorities in China’s coastal Zhejiang province incarcerated a pastor, his wife and son on Tuesday for contacting U.S. Consulate officials in Shanghai and foreign journalists.

Wen Xiaowu, a pastor, and his wife, both of whom provided legal defense counsel for churches affected by an ongoing cross demolition campaign, were criminally detained on April 26 and charged with “gathering a crowd to disturb social order.” His son, Wen “Eden” Yidian was taken into police custody on the same day for “obstructing public service.”

Family members, however, believe that the detentions are in response to the couple’s meetings with officials from the U.S. Consulate in Shanghai and a number of foreign journalists, during which they released developments on the cross demolitions. Zhang Kai, a prominent human rights lawyer, experienced a similarly sudden detention in August 2015 just a few days before he was scheduled to meet with U.S. Ambassador for International Religious Freedom, David Saperstein.

Wen Xiaowu and his wife are currently being held in the Rui’an Detention Center in Zhejiang. They have not been allowed to meet with family members. Authorities also confiscated various personal items, including computers, from their home in Wenzhou.

“Arresting Pastor Wen and his family members for these meetings is a direct slap in the face to the U.S. government and the American people,” said China Aid president Bob Fu, who is a friend of the Wen family. “He is a man with integrity and passion who is always ready to help others. Despite the constant threats state security agents posed to him and his family in the past few years, he and his wife have been boldly providing legal counsel for churches and persecuted human rights defenders in Zhejiang. I urge the U.S. government to work with the Chinese authorities for the immediate release of the Wen family and other innocent church leaders who are under arrest.”

China Aid will update this story as more information becomes available.

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 Epoch Times
By Leo Timm
April 22, 2016
Last Updated: April 26, 2016 8:48 pm

■ When Chen Jing, a woman living in Jiamusi, northeastern China, left her apartment to pay an electricity bill, she was arrested, detained, and tortured by officers of the local Internal Security Division, a secret police force tasked with neutralizing individuals that the Communist Party deems to be political threats.

Chen Jing was tortured by police in her
native Jiamusi, northeastern China. 
(Minghui)
During the arrest, which occurred on Jan. 21. Officers body-searched Chen, confiscating her apartment key and 350 yuan (about $50) before taking her to the Youyilu police station. In the meantime, ten more officers had arrived at the scene to ransack Chen’s apartment.

Chen, a practitioner of the banned Falun Gong spiritual practice, had recently returned from a trip to Hong Kong. Last October, she was also involved in the latest episode of a protracted legal and human rights battle, the infamous Jiansanjiang case.

Jiansanjiang is a small region in remote northeast China that is the site of an infamous brainwashing facility. The regime agency that runs the center has been subject to litigation and protest for several years, for its detention and abuse of Falun Gong practitioners. The lawyers who sought to defend the internees were later themselves detained and tortured by police.
A group of Chinese lawyers in front of the Jiansanjiang
Detention Center in March 2014, urging the authorities to
release four lawyers illegally detained for defending Falun
Gong practitioners. (Screenshot/Weibo.com)

Details about the abuse of Chen come from Minghui, a Falun Gong website that collects and publishes reports about the persecution from mainland China.

Detention, Interrogation, and Torture

Handcuffed to an iron chair for her interrogation, Chen Jing was grilled by several officers, including three “experts” from the Heilongjiang provincial police department about her trip to Hong Kong.

The next day, Jan. 22, she was transferred to the Jiamusi Detention Center.

In the meantime, officers ransacking Chen’s home confiscated many of her belongings, including multiple computers, two printers, cameras, and materials about the Jiansanjiang case.

They also seized her cash, a bank card containing 15,000 yuan (about $2,300), and multiple identification documents including her driver’s license, passport, and her housing contract.

Depiction of a hanging punishment used against Falun Gong
practitioners. (Minghui)
Present at the interrogation were an Internal Security Division head and officers from multiple police branches in Jiamusi, a municipality-level territory that borders Russia.

On Jan. 27 or 28, Chen was tortured by being suspended from the ceiling using ropes tied in tight knots about her body, which formed a U shape. After repeating this excruciating routine for multiple half-hour intervals, officers smashed her against a wall. One of the tormentors broke all of her fingers, Minghui said.

Chen’s right arm and hand swelled to several times their normal size following this torture. Over the next few days, she was transferred between several police stations and detention centers, before being returned to the Jiamusi Detention Center for further interrogation on Feb. 8.

An officer surnamed Li questioned Chen about her Hong Kong trip and threatened her when she refused to answer.
A map showing the eastern extreme of Heilongjiang Province and the location
of police facilities in northeastern China. (Minghui)

While Hong Kong is part of the People’s Republic of China, Falun Gong can be freely and openly practiced there. Transit between the mainland and the former British colony allows Falun Gong practitioners to communicate with their counterparts in Hong Kong and the rest of the world.

The Jiansanjiang Case

On March 5 and 6, police tried pressuring Chen to cooperate by bringing in her family members. Aside from asking her details about her Hong Kong trip, they also tried to extract information about the court actions and activism planned by Falun Gong practitioners and human rights lawyers concerning a brainwashing center located in Qinglongshan, part of the Jiansanjiang agricultural settlement.

Later, police forced Chen to sign the interrogation record without reading it. She has been since placed in criminal detention, implying that she will be made to stand trial.

Following an attempt last October by Falun Gong practitioners in Northeast China to raise legal action against Sui Tingfu, a police official who plays a key role in the spiritual practice’s repression locally, police began a small campaign to arrest practitioners who had taken part in the latest bout of activism. The campaign also targeted rights lawyers supporting the practitioners.


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
Gospel Herald
By Leah Marieann Klett
Apr 27, 2016 01:24 pm EDT

■ Retired Cardinal Joseph Zen Ze-kiun of Hong Kong has 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," Cardinal Zen told a group of about 100 people who attended a service in front of China's Hong Kong liaison office over the weekend, according to UCA News.

The Cardinal's message coincided with the conclusion of a petition campaigning for Pope Francis to pray for religious freedom and an end to religious persecution in China.

The campaign, headed by Hong Kong's diocesan Justice and Peace Commission (JPC), asked Francis to urge the Chinese government to stop removing crosses and to "inquire about the situation of... two bishops in your communications with the Chinese authorities".

Christians in China's Zhejiang province, where authorities
have carried out a devastating cross-removal campaign, say
they will remain vigilant amid signs that elements of the hard-
line strategy could spread to other jurisdictions.
Photo Credit: China Aid
"We hope the Pope can include the cross-removal campaign and the two missing bishops in his prayers on the prayer day," Or Yan-yan, project officer at JPC, told ucanews.com.

The two bishops are thought to be Bishop James Su Zhimin, 84, and Bishop Cosmas Shi Enxiang, 95.

"These two bishops... have been imprisoned for over half of their lives. They have been forcibly disappeared for 18 and 15 years," the petition, signed by over 800, states.

While China claims to grant freedom of religion, the Communist government has expressed concern over the rapid growth of Christianity in the region, causing Open Doors USA to place it 33rd on its World Watch List of countries where believers face the most persecution. The Pew Research Center puts the number of Christians in China at 67 million, 58 million of whom are Protestant and 9 million Catholic.

In an effort to stunt such growth, since 2014, government officials in the In Zhejiang province have removed more than 1,200 crosses from churches and other buildings, citing regulations on illegal structures. China Aid notes that the removal of crosses is part of an ongoing "beautification" campaign known as "Three Rectifications and One Demolition." In addition, 500 activists and lawyers who opposed the cross demolition campaign have been detained in the last year, with many still imprisoned.

Earlier this month, China's President Xi Jinping warned that the Communist country must be on guard against foreign infiltration through religion and stop "extremists" from spreading their ideology.

"We must resolutely guard against overseas infiltrations via religious means and prevent ideological infringement by extremists," President Xi said at a Beijing conference on religions attended by top leaders, according to the South China Morning Post.

He added that all religious groups must submit to the leadership of the ruling Communist Party, and charged that the internet was a key propaganda front to promote the Party's stand on religion.

"In no way should religions interfere with government administration, judiciary and education," he said. "[Religious groups] should merge religious doctrines with Chinese culture, abide by Chinese laws and regulations, and devote themselves to China's reform and opening-up drive and socialist modernization to contribute to the realization of the Chinese dream of national rejuvenation."


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
2016-04-27

■ Calls are growing for the Chinese authorities to grant medical parole to jailed rights activist Guo Feixiong following a recent visit by a relative to the prison where he is serving a six-year sentence for public order offenses.

Guo, also known by his birth name Yang Maodong, received a visit from his sister Yang Maoping in Yangchun Prison in southern China’s Guangdong Province on Tuesday.

Guangdong rights activist Guo Feixiong in an undated photo.
Photo courtesy of activists
He 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's sister Yang Maoping told RFA her brother was "not looking normal" when she visited him on Tuesday, and that he had recently suffered a hemorrhage.

"Since his arrival at the prison, he has also had occasional bleeding from the mouth and throat," Yang said.

"He hemorrhaged on April 19, and he has been unsteady on his feet," she said, adding that Guo was pale, thin, and had bloody diarrhea on and off for the past year.

Yang said she had pleaded with prison authorities to transfer him to hospital, as the prison is only able to offer primary care facilities, but to no avail.

Guo himself had also requested further medical checks, but prison guards had said "there is nothing we can do," Yang said.

"They kept stalling when I tried to talk to them, saying that [Guo] hadn't said anything to them, and then they kept talking about him, saying he was uncooperative," she said.

Calls to the Guangdong provincial government's prison management bureau rang unanswered during office hours on Tuesday.

‘Serious abuses’


The New York-based group Human Rights in China (HRIC) issued an urgent call for action in Guo's case on Tuesday, calling on volunteers to call the prison directly and enquire about his medical treatment.

"Guo has suffered serious abuses while in detention," HRIC said in a statement on its website. "HRIC calls on the international community to press for immediate medical attention for Guo."

"Guo’s supporters urge those concerned to send their support to Guo Feixiong, and to contact the prison authorities to request ... medical parole," it said.

Guo, who turns 50 this year, shouted in protest at his treatment while in police custody, where he was held in solitary confinement in a dark cell and denied permission to exercise outdoors since August 2013, a situation his wife has said is a form of torture.

Guo stood trial alongside fellow activist Sun Desheng at Guangzhou's Intermediate People's Court on Nov. 28, 2014, at which he was accused of taking part in anti-censorship demonstrations outside the cutting-edge Southern Weekend newspaper offices in Guangzhou in early 2013, where he held up a placard and made a speech in favor of press freedom.

Face-off with authorities


In January 2013, activists, journalists and academics faced off with the authorities after the Southern Weekendnewspaper was forced to change a New Year’s editorial calling for political reform into a tribute praising Communist Party rule.

Guo's placards called on officials to publicly disclose their assets and for the Chinese government to ratify the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which it signed in 1998.

New York-based Human Rights Watch has accused the Chinese authorities of showing "cruel disregard" for the health of prisoners of conscience, citing the deaths in custody of rights activist Cao Shunli and popular Tibetan monk Tenzin Delek Rinpoche.

Beijing-based rights activist Xiang Li said she is concerned that Guo could turn into "a second Cao Shunli."

"Guo Feixiong, regardless of whether he has committed a crime, should be treated humanely, because he is a human being," Xiang said. "We don't want to see another Cao Shunli."

"The authorities dragged their feet for more than six months after her lawyer Wang Yu requested she be sent to seek medical treatment outside, and Cao died in the detention center," Xiang said. "We don't want Guo Feixiong to become another example of such treatment."

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
By Ava Collins

(Zhumadian, Henan—April 27, 2016) On April 25, less than two weeks after a Christian woman died from being buried alive at a forced church demolition, local authorities ruled that the disputed land where the incident took place belongs to the church and its pastor for use as a religious site.

Li Jiangong
Following international outcry condemning the April 14 killing of Ding Cuimei, wife of Beitou Church’s pastor Li Jiangong, a special task force consisting of the township government, the local ministry of land and resources and a village administrative committee declared that the land where the incident took place is the property of Li Jiangong and Beitou Church. A report issued by the task force declares that no individual or other organization should claim land from the church, and designates the site for religious use.

Despite the victory for his church, Li Jiangong is concerned about the lack of action regarding his wife’s death. Though two members of the demolition crew were criminally detained at the time of the incident, authorities have released no information regarding their possible charges. The investigative bureau has reportedly taken no further action on the case.

Li Dunyong, a lawyer from Beijing, will represent the family in the case of Ding’s murder. After an autopsy, Ding’s body was placed in a preservative case under a temporary tent near the site where she was killed.

Ding Cuimei's body has been preserved at the site where she
was killed. (Photo: China Aid)
“While we are glad to see that the local authorities acted swiftly and fairly under international pressure to resolve the church’s right to their land, we are concerned that justice for the family of the martyr is still not done,” said Bob Fu, president of China Aid. “Pastor Li’s wife, Sister Ding Cuimei, was brutally killed on April 14. We appeal to the Chinese authorities to hold those criminal perpetrators accountable with a fair investigation and standard judicial process with full justice and unhindered legal representation by Beijing based human rights lawyer Li Dunyong.”

China Aid reports on cases such as the murder of Ding Cuimei and the persecution of Beitou Church in order to expose abuses by the Chinese government and encourage the families of those affected. If you would like to help China Aid support legal cases such as the murder of Ding, please consider donating to our legal defense fund.


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
Congressional-Executive Commission on China

■ Freedom of Religion

CECC Chairs’ Statement on President Xi’s Speech on Religion


Call on Xi to End Destruction of Religious Property and Cease Unlawful Detention of Religious Leaders and Lawyers Seeking to Represent Them

(Washington DC)— Following Chinese President Xi Jinping’s address before senior Communist Party leaders at a conference on religion this past weekend, the chair and cochair of the Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC) today issued the following statements:

“China continues to close itself off to foreign influence at the very time it is seeking a greater role on the global stage, said Representative Chris Smith, CECC Chair. “President Xi’s speech last weekend was not a bold new policy direction, but a sadly counterproductive restatement of old themes and the tacit endorsement of more restrictions, detentions, and property destruction.” Smith continued, “The Chinese Communist Party will not be able to mold religion in its image; such efforts failed in the past and ‘sinicization’ efforts will fail spectacularly now, ostracizing, needlessly, hundreds of millions of peaceful and productive Chinese citizens. Contemporary scholarship shows clearly that the protection of religious freedom brings more economic freedom, more women’s empowerment, more political stability, and less religion-related violence and terrorism. These things all seem to be consistent with the Chinese government interests; so it is unclear why, other than stubborn ideological orthodoxy, new approaches are not being considered—particularly given the persistent growth of religious belief in China.”

“Religious freedom is constantly under assault in China. The Chinese government routinely restricts the ability of the Chinese people, through counterproductive and sometimes brutal methods, to worship and peacefully live out their faith according to the dictates of their conscience,” said Senator Marco Rubio, CECC Cochair, “and President Xi’s speech this past weekend is more evidence of the same failed approach.” Rubio continued, “The explosive growth of religious belief in China cannot be thwarted by threats, detentions, or an emphasis on the outdated, authoritarian ideology of Communism. If President Xi was serious about domestic stability, serious about curtailing terrorism, serious about economic development and fighting corruption, he would be embracing religious freedom, instead of advising additional restrictions and unnecessary confrontations with the hundreds of millions of Chinese citizens whose religious faith is central to their daily lives.”

Specifically the chairs called on President Xi to immediately do the following:
End the destruction of religious property that has led to confrontations between religious groups
Cease unlawful detentions of religious leaders and the lawyers seeking to represent them
Allow for the robust participation of Chinese civil society, including religious groups, in the upcoming G-20 summit

Additional Background: Last week reports emerged of the tragic death of Ding Cuimei who, with her husband, stood in front of bulldozers ordered to destroy their small Protestant church in Henan province in an attempt to prevent the demolition from proceeding. Multiple news accounts indicate that she suffocated to death beneath the rubble. In addition, over 2,000 crosses have been forcibly removed from Christian churches, and dozens of churches demolished, in the province of Zheijaing—which will host the annual meeting of G-20 leaders in September 2016.


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