China Aid September 2012 Newsletter

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Truth and Freedom

The newly minted
Dr. Bob Fu
Ten years ago, five house church leaders were sentenced to death in one of the most severe persecution cases against house churches in China. This case birthed ChinaAid. We issued our first press release, about a high-level congressional delegation meeting with then-Chinese president Jiang Zemin and discussing the case with him—EXPOSE. We launched our first letter-writing campaign and received the first donations to our legal defense fund—ENCOURAGE. And we sent our first team of trained counselors to help the persecuted group —EQUIP.

Ten years later, a simple two-word summary of what we do would be: truth and freedom. We help the persecuted fight for freedom by telling the truth. On July 31, The People’s Daily, the leading Communist Party mouth-piece, listed five groups of people who are being used by the United States to challenge and interfere with China’s rise: human rights defense lawyers, house churches, dissidents, netizen leaders, and vulnerable groups (i.e., millions of petitioners). ChinaAid has been working with precisely these groups for the past ten years and we are proud of our association with them. Rather than being agents of the United States, these groups are united in a common goal: freedom. And they use the same weapon to fight for freedom: truth.

(House church leader Li Ying was sentenced to death ten years ago, but released after serving less than ten years due to the efforts of ChinaAid and Voice of the Martyrs.)

Just before our 10th anniversary celebration in Washington, D.C., I received a message from Li Ying, one of the five church leaders from that case ten years ago. All had their death sentences overturned as a result of our legal defense work, and due to a persistent letter-writing campaign by ChinaAid and our partner Voice of the Martyrs, Li was released five years before completing her 15-year sentence. She wrote: “Thanks to brothers and sisters overseas who wrote me more than 12,000 letters over the past ten years.”

ChinaAid Marks 10-Year Anniversary with Seminar, Awards Ceremony in Washington, D.C.

ChinaAid marked its 10th anniversary on July 24 with a half-day seminar and ceremonies recognizing Chinese lawyers and U.S. congressional leaders who have made great contributions to the cause of protecting human rights in China and bringing about the rule of law. The standing-room-only events on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., brought together past and present ChinaAid staff, board members, and supporters. The featured speakers at the seminar on “Human Rights, Religious Freedom and the Rule of Law in China: A 10-Year Review and Future Prospects” included Ms. Sharon Hom, executive director of Human Rights in China; Dr. David Aikman, former Time magazine bureau chief in Beijing and Jerusalem and author of the well-known book Jesus in Beijing; and prominent human rights lawyer Li Baiguang from Beijing.

At a luncheon award ceremony following the seminar, ChinaAid presented its first “Religious Freedom and Rule of Law Defenders Awards” and “Defenders of Freedom in China Awards.” The former were conferred in absentia upon prominent human rights lawyer Dr. Fan Yafeng, prominent legal scholar and lawyer Dr. Teng Biao, and Christian human rights lawyer Jiang Tianyong. The latter award was presented to three U.S. congressmen who have been faithful supporters of and partners with ChinaAid: Frank Wolf, Chris Smith and Jim McGovern.

CAA Co-Sponsors Seminar on China at Midwest University

David Aikman, author of Jesus in Beijing
and former Beijing-based
Time Magazine correspondent
Scott Flipse, deputy director of policy and research
 for the U.S. Commission International
Religious Freedom

ChinaAid and the Institute for Faith and Public Policy co-sponsored a seminar on “Christianity, Culture and the Future of China” at Midwest University in St. Louis, MO. The half-day seminar on June 22 brought together speakers from government and academia who introduced and analyzed various aspects of the growth of Christianity in China. Attendees included Midwest students, church leaders with Chinese backgrounds, human rights lawyers, and academics. The two keynote speakers were Scott Flipse, deputy director of policy and research for the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, on “A New Approach to Advance Religious Freedom in China,” and David Aikman, author of Jesus in Beijing and former Beijing-based Time Magazine correspondent, on “The Impact of Christianity on China’s Future.” 

In the afternoon, seminar participants attended Midwest University’s commencement ceremony, during which ChinaAid founder and president Bob Fu was given an honorary doctorate.

Congressional Update: House Holds Hearing on One-Child Policy, Meets with Chen Guangcheng

Chinese human rights activist Chen Guangcheng
and House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio)
after their meeting at the Capitol.
In the spring, world attention was fixed on the dramatic escape from extra-legal house arrest of blind lawyer and activist Chen Guangcheng, best known for exposing atrocities com-mitted by the Chinese government in enforcing its one-child policy. Shortly after he won permission to go to the United States, the world was shocked by the exposure in quick succession of several cases in which pregnant women desperately tried to escape having their unborn babies forcibly aborted.

The U.S. Congress was galvanized into action. On July 9, ChinaAid founder and president Bob Fu testified at a hearing of the House Com-mittee on Foreign Affairs’ Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health and Human Rights on “Continued Human Rights Attacks on Families in China.” He arranged to have Guo Yanling, a Christian woman who has been on therun from family planning authorities for 21 years, testify by phone about her horrific experience.

On Aug. 1, House Speaker John Boehner hosted a bipartisan meeting with Chen. Boehner said, “We cannot remain silent when fundamental human rights are being violated. We cannot remain silent when religious liberty is under attack. And we cannot remain silent regarding China’s repre-hensible ‘one-child’ policy.”

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China Aid Contacts
Rachel Ritchie, English Media Director
Cell: (432) 553-1080 | Office: 1+ (888) 889-7757 | Other: (432) 689-6985