American Human Rights Activist Arrested Outside White House for Protesting Obama Meeting with Chinese Leader Xi Jinping

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

China Aid Association

(Washington, D.C.—Feb. 14, 2012) An American human rights activist and director of a rights advocacy group at a leading Washington, D.C. think tank was arrested Tuesday morning for protesting outside the White House where President Obama and his administration were meeting with Chinese leader Xi Jinping.

(Photo: Human rights activist Michael Horowitz protesting outside the White House for release of Chinese prisoners of conscience. Click on photo to enlarge.)

Michael J. Horowitz, senior fellow at the Hudson Institute, was outside the White House at 8:45 a.m. with a sign calling for the release of six Chinese prisoners of conscience. Less than a half-hour later, he was arrested, handcuffed and taken to a local police station, where he was briefly held and fingerprinted before being released.

(Photo: Former Reagan official Michael Horowitz arrested at White House protesting oppression in China. Click on photo to enlarge [Photo/Jillian Hughes/CBS]

“I have taken a personal step today as an act of kinship with heroes of faith and conscience now languishing in Chinese prisons,” Horowitz said in a statement prepared before his protest.

Horowitz is also director of Hudson Institute's Project for Civil Justice Reform and Project for International Religious Liberty and a former official of the Reagan administration. The full text of his statement is below.

Horowitz was calling for the release of human rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng; blind legal activist Chen Guangcheng, longtime political dissident Liu Xianbin, former judge Guo Quan, Uyghur house church leader Alimujiang, and woman pastor Yang Rongli.

U.S. congressional and religious leaders have also urged President Obama to raise the six cases with Vice President Xi Jinping at their first-ever meeting on Tuesday. Xi is slated to be China’s next president and Communist Party chief.

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After his arrest, Horowitz wrote in an e-mail, “I hope that all of us will work for the release of prisoners of conscience in China, and will work to make this a necessary condition for improved relations between the U.S. and China.

Horowitz went on to say, “This is what President Reagan did in his dealings with former Soviet Union and what leaders like the late [Democratic congressmen from California and human rights champion] Tom Lantos always worked to make happen. Their conduct paid off for the United States and for the people of the former Soviet Union, and will pay off no less for President Obama once he raises human rights issues to a priority level of concern.”

Below is the full text of his statement:


I have taken a personal step today as an act of kinship with heroes of faith and conscience now languishing in Chinese prisons.

In particular, I hope to help bring to public attention and the attention of the President to the cases of towering world figures known as the “China Six.” With many others, I believe that their release from jail should be a priority concern in today’s meeting – and, until they are released, in all other high level US-China meetings.

When I worked at the White House I saw what a concerned President Reagan was able to do on behalf of Jewish Refuseniks, Pentecostals and other prisoners of conscience of the former Soviet Union. I hope and believe that President Obama will do the same for the China Six and others held in Chinese prisons and know that he can be powerfully effective on their behalves.

I hope that the President will make clear to Vice President Xi what the President of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, the President of the National Association of Evangelicals and the Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism on behalf of the China Six: “Stable relations between China and the United States rest upon agreement to shared commitments to fundamental human rights, including the right to religious freedom…” Most of all, I hope that Vice President Xi’s visit to the United States will help him understand that escalating mistrust between the United States and China – a development in the interest of neither country or the world at large – will be the consequence of persecuting such prisoners of faith and conscience as the China Six.

I and others have great hope for progress in US-China relations as Vice President Xi Jinping assumes leadership in China. The sixteen-year persecution of his father for acts of conscience not dissimilar from those of the China Six – a persecution which Vice President Xi acutely shared – offer hope that he will understand the importance of rule of law reform as a means of protecting and enhancing his country’s security, success and respect.

The treatment of the China Six will send a clear signal about Vice President Xi’s vision for China’s future and his interest in improved relations with the United States.

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