Monday, December 25, 2006

State Department Report Signals Importance of Religious Freedom

Communist China makes the list again. The peaceful middle way hasn’t reached China’s shores yet contrary to what Beijing would like the free world to believe.

Excerpt: The act also requires the State Department to designate countries that have “engaged in or tolerated particularly severe violations of religious freedom” as a “country of particular concern” (CPC). In November, Burma, China, North Korea, Eritrea, Iran, Saudi Arabia and Sudan again were designated as CPCs, having also been on the 2005 list. Uzbekistan also was listed as a CPC. (more)
OLYMPIC WATCH: Human Rights in China and Beijing 2008

China's pipeline to genocide

This excerpt is from the Boston Globe Editorial. I totally agree that “Genocide Olympics” is an appropriate name for the 2008 Communist Olympics.

FUTURE generations will not understand why today's great powers chattered away at the United Nations over the genocidal annihilation of hundreds of thousands of African villagers in Darfur, but took no effective action to stop it. And now, in this holiday season, attacks on aid workers in that region of Sudan and the spillover of horrors into neighboring Chad raise the specter of millions of new victims perishing in the near future. For this is surely what will happen if the great powers go on lamenting the Darfur massacres while refusing to rescue the men, women, and children who are marked for death in the coming year.

….But if China persists in its complicity with the regime in Khartoum, grass-roots groups around the world ought to brand the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing as the genocide Olympics, as professor Eric Reeves of Smith College recently proposed on the Globe op-ed page. Future generations will understand the protesters' reason for disrupting the ceremonial serenity of the Olympics. (more)

OLYMPIC WATCH: Human Rights in China and Beijing 2008

Friday, December 22, 2006

New violence against Christians in home churches in Beijing

Christians face up to more trouble in Beijing. There's an old saying: "A courageous man is full of faith"... I hope they never give up their fight for religious freedom.

Beijing (AsiaNews) – A group of policemen and unidentified persons broke into the home of Xiu Ruibin, a house church missionary in Beijing, beat people in the house and destroyed the furniture. Before the attack two other church leaders were put under house arrest in Xiaoshan on the eve of the court trial of 8 Christian leaders “guilty” of having protested against the destruction of their church, this according to the China Aid Association (CAA), a US-based NGO fighting for religious freedom in China. (more)

OLYMPIC WATCH: Human Rights in China and Beijing 2008

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Faith in China's unseen Christianity

Lev Navrozov speaks about the influence of Christianity and underground religions in China as he reviews books from Alvin Schmidt and Dr. Aikman. Religious deterioration alone should be reason enough for the 2008 Beijing Olympics to be relocated in a more harmonious environment.

Excerpt: It has been asserted in the West in the past decade, that Christians in China are persecuted.

No, they are not if their churches are duly registered.

According to the U.S. Department of State, 8% of the Chinese are Buddhists, 1.4% are Muslims, and 1.6% are Christians, worshiping in officially registered churches.

….On the other hand, the dictators of China have been persecuting furiously Falun Gong members. Why? Because they are so numerous: hence the danger! In the Christian West, it has been assumed that a person’s behavior is determined at least to some extent by his or her “soul,” “psyche,” “the inner world.” In Hebrew Christ was called a rabbi, that is, a teacher—he taught how to be kind, compassionate—to have pity for the weak, sick, defenseless. In China, it has been assumed for millennia that a human being is motivated by the fear of death and even more of torture. Falun Gong followers are so numerous that they can organize themselves and become a dangerous force. This year 40,000 mutinies have been registered in China. But what is dangerous about Christians believing in pity for the weak, sick, defenseless? In one word, the teaching of Confucius, the best-known Chinese thinker, who died in 479 B.C., is GOVERNMENT, and this hardly has anything to do with the teaching of Christ or with Western constitutionalism. (more)

OLYMPIC WATCH: Human Rights in China and Beijing 2008

Sign an open letter to the IOC

The Legal Aid Group for Gao, Zhisheng and Guo, Feixiong, Beijing, China has prepared an open letter to the President of the IOC urging the Committee to care about human rights in China. According to the news reported the NY Times "The lawyer, Gao Zhisheng, 42, was sentenced to three years in prison but given a five-year reprieve, the official New China News Agency said." (more) Look here for HRW’s letter to the IOC on harassment of human rights lawyers in China.

Please support this effort by signing the open letter to the IOC here:

Excerpt: In today’s China, not only the populace but also attorneys and law professionals are not able to protect their own constitutional rights. In March this year, Mr. Chen, Guangcheng, a blind man yet a well known human rights defender, lost his freedom. Then in August, Mr. Gao, Zhisheng, a famous attorney who had traveled to Shandong province to provide legal service to Mr. Chen for his trial, was arrested right there. In September, again, Mr. Guo, Feixiong, a famous nongovernmental law professional who organized legal aid to Mr. Gao, was unjustly arrested. These are just three typical examples of a series of deteriorating human rights cases in the recent half year.

OLYMPIC WATCH: Human Rights in China and Beijing 2008

Beijing to raze final 22 migrant villages before Olympics

How much suffering will the 2008 Olympics bring to the people of China for the sole purpose of boosting Beijing's profile in the free world thereby glorifying a brutal dictatorship. This is only the tip of the iceberg. Look here to see a video on land seizures. About 200 villages have been demolished so far to make room for Olympic venues.

dpa German Press Agency Excerpt: Beijing- Officials in Beijing plan to demolish 22 remaining "urban villages", which are home mainly to poor migrants, in a six-month clean-up before the 2008 Olympic Games, state media said on Wednesday. The 22 villages will be razed during a campaign to demolish 3.32 million square metres of "illegal constructions" by the end of June, the Beijing Daily said. (more)

Olympic Watch's letter to the National Olympic Committee

In a letter to the President of the National Olympic Committee, Olympic Watch Chairman, Jan Ruml, reminds the Committee to re-examine China’s poor human rights record and urges the IOC and BOCG officials to take action. Meanwhile look here for another long list of violations.

Olympic Watch Excerpt: As you probably know, the situation in China can hardly be described along these lines. According to all independent monitors, the People’s Republic of China continues to be among the grossest human rights violators in the world. To name just the most obvious violations:

• Executions in China are frequent, while international standards for fair trials are not observed. Until recently, executions were carried out in sports stadiums. While this practice seems to have changed, the Chinese government continues to execute more people than the rest of the world combined. Verified numbers for 2005 speak of 3,400 death sentences and 1,770 executions, while according to some Chinese sources the numbers may actually be as high as 10,000.

• Torture in China is “widespread”, according to the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, who had the opportunity to visit China in 2005 for the first time after years of obstruction from the government.

• The freedom of expression is violated. Despite promises of full press freedom by 2008, which the Beijing bidding committee made during the candidacy process, the Chinese government has in fact been tightening the control of the media and the internet in recent years. Dozens of journalists and internet activists are documented in prison.

• The government of the People’s Republic of China continues to deny talks about autonomy to the Tibetan people, as peacefully requested by the Tibetan government-in-exile and the Dalai Lama. The right to freedom of religion of Tibetan Buddhists, Uyghur Muslims, and Chinese Christians and Falun Gong practitioners is violated.

• The continuing militarization in China is a threat to peace and democratic processes in Taiwan and elsewhere in East and South-East Asia.

• Human rights violations have taken place even in direct relation to the organization of the Games. 300,000 Beijing residents have been evicted, typically without proper compensation, for the sake of Olympic re-development of the city. Ye Guozhu, one of the evictees, has been sentenced to four years in prison for lawfully applying to organize a peaceful rally of the evictees.

OLYMPIC WATCH: Human Rights in China and Beijing 2008

Sunday, December 03, 2006

RBW: Journos' freedom during the 2008 Olympics

Reporters Without Borders has called "China the world's leading jailer of journalists, with 32 in prison as of last January." There are a lot of mixed views and concerns about this new rule on press freedom for the 200,000 journalists expected to flood China during the 2008 Olympics. Although this rule is sure to please members of the IOC, Reporters without borders remain skeptical and so do I. Here is why.

RWB: Reporters Without Borders today hailed a foreign ministry decision, taken under international pressure, to loosen regulations for foreign journalist working in China. From the beginning of next month until October 2008, foreign journalists with accreditation for the Olympic and Paralympic Games will be able to travel freely throughout China, including Tibet and Xinjiang.

“The campaigns against the archaic restrictions on the work of the foreign press have not been in vain,” the press freedom organisation said. “The organisers of the Olympic Games, especially Liu Qi, have kept their promises. But this positive development is eclipsed by today’s appeal court decision to uphold a three-year prison sentence for New York Times researcher Zhao Yan.” (more)

Washington Post: Bob Ctvrtlik, a member of the IOC, said Friday that China's announcement debunked the notion that authorities would not adapt to welcome the Games.

"This is a very important step for us," Ctvrtlik said. "The IOC and the IOC membership received criticism for the decision six years ago" to award the Games to Beijing, "and I think many people at the time said significant changes could not occur. I think this action proves that not to be the case."

BBC: The rules expire after the Olympics and there are doubts about how effectively they will be applied.