By BosNewsLife Asia Service
WASHINGTON/BEIJING (BosNewsLife)– Christian leaders and rights advocates have expressed concerns over the situation of Christian prisoners and other reported human rights violations in China, and urged Washington increase pressure on Beijing, 20 years after the Tiananmen Square “massacre”.
Hundreds, and perhaps thousands of people were killed, when Chinese troops ended pro-democracy protests on June 4, 1989.
Britain-based advocacy group Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) said it remains “deeply concerned about the state of human rights in China.”
It mentioned especially two cases involving Christian Alimujiang Yimiti, who it said may be sentenced to three years re-education through labour, and human rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng, who disappeared this year after being taken into police custody.
“Mr. Yimiti has been detained since February 12, 2008,” CSW said. Local Christians say the Kashi Public Security Bureau (PSB) is planning to sentence him to three years of re-education through labour.
“Sources say that the PSB originally arrested Yimiti in error and are now attempting to
cover up their mistake with the three year sentence,” CSW explained.
Yimiti is a Uyghur Christian from Xinjiang province who has been held on charges that include
instigating separatism and spying for “overseas organizations and individuals.”
The United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention has said that Yimiti is a victim of
arbitrary detention. The second case involves Gao, a prominent human rights lawyer and Nobel Peace Prize nominee who has been missing since February 4 this year, CSW said. “He was forcibly taken away from his home in Shaanxi province by Chinese officials. His whereabouts are currently unknown.”
Since 2005, Gao, a Christian, has been regularly arrested, and allegedly beaten, imprisoned and tortured by Chinese authorities because of his work defending human rights and freedom of religion. “There is particular concern for his welfare and the [religious rights group] China Aid Association have reported that sources inside China suggest he is being tortured,” CSW added.
It came as in Washington, in front of the Chinese embassy, wellknown Reverend Patrick J. Mahoney left roses honoring those killed during the “Tiananmen Square massacre” and also to pray for those “who are being brutalized under the current Chinese regime today.”
During the 2008 Summer Olympics Mahoney was among Christian leaders who held the first ever public faith service in Tiananmen Square “to honor the victims of the massacre.”
They were dragged out of Tiananmen Square twice, arrested and finally deported. Mahoney said he was disappointed with the administration of President Barack Obama and Democrats. “Sadly, President Obama, Secretary of State Clinton and House Speaker Pelosi have chosen to ignore the cries of not only these students, but all those who are still being brutalized in China.”
He said, “In trips in China,Secretary Clinton and Speaker Pelosi have failed to speak out against the human rights abuses by the Chinese government. President Obama and these congressional leaders we say shame on you for putting economic interests above social justice and human rights.”
WHITE HOUSE DENIES
President Obama has denied he closed his eyes for human rights issues. Last month President Obama announced his choice for U.S. ambassador to China is moderate Republican Utah Governor Jon Huntsman, who expressed some surprise at the appointment.
A White House statement said Huntsman’s “long service to the country also prepares him
well to be frank with our Chinese friends when we disagree on human rights, democracy,
and other matters.”
Mahoney acknowledged that Obama “promised an administration dedicated to progressive social justice,” but he said the president “has failed to deliver on those” promises.
“We can only hope and pray that President Obama will lay aside economic concerns and embrace the passion and courage of these students who gave their lives for the cause of freedom and justice.”