Radio Free Asia Reports on Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's Visit to China; Many Christians and Pro-Democracy Activists Placed under Surveillance

China Aid Association

(BEIJING — February 26, 2009) Radio Free Asia (RFA) released the following report on Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s visit to China, indicating that, during her visit, many Christians and Pro-Democracy Activists were placed under surveillance and are still being held by authorities.
RFA reported that Secretary Clinton met with 20 representatives of women’s’ groups and congratulated a woman who had worked on behalf of AIDS victims for her work and for exposing the government.  However, in a press conference in South Korea, prior to her visit to China, she indicated that human rights would not be the focus of her visit, rather she would emphasize the economy and trade.
A Chinese news source (http://www.newcenturynews.com/Article/china/200902/20090225003240.html) which had a separate interview with the AIDs activist Dr. Gao Yaojie reported that she said among the women invited to the embassy to meet with Secretary Clinton, she found that “many were organized by the Chinese government,” although she said she did not believe Secretary Clinton knew that was the case.
“While we commend the Secretary’s willingness to meet with a few women leaders including AIDs activist Dr. Gao Yaojie in the US Embassy in Beijing, it’s rather inconsistent and even contradictory to her previous remarks that human rights issues will be a ‘non-interference’ factor to other so-called crisis issues — the economy, environment and security,” said Bob Fu. “It’s even more disheartening to hear from the Secretary of the leader of the free world that somehow universal human rights or human lives are irrelevant or have nothing to do with the ‘three big items.’ On the contrary, a country disrespecting and disregarding its own citizens’ basic rights will make the U.S. and the world less safe, less prosperous and more polluted.”
The following is the Radio Free Asia report originally issued in Chinese:
During Secretary of State Hillary’s China Visit, Many Christians and Pro-democracy Activists are Placed Under Surveillance of the Authorities.
February 23, 2009
During U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s visit to China, many Christians and pro-democracy activists were stalked by people sent by the authorities. They lodged a strong protest against it and indicated that these actions by authorities are violations of people’s freedom of movement endowed by the Constitution.  This is a report from Xinyu, special reporter from Radio Free Asia stationed in Hong Kong.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton completed her visit to China and left Beijing on Sunday. Before she departed, she went to a Sunday service in a Christian church in Haidian district of Beijing, a church controlled by the government. A large police force stood ready at the site. On Sunday, this station reported that more than 20 petitioners held banners on Xiushui Street near the U.S. Embassy and shouted slogans of welcoming Hillary. They also tried to distribute some flyers and got into a conflict with the police.
Yu Jie, a Christian author from Beijing, told a reporter from this station on Monday that the petitioners were able to go near the church while many Christians and pro-democracy activists had been placed under strict surveillance and were told not to go out at will before Hillary arrived in Beijing.

“I’m very angry that many Christians and human rights activists were placed under surveillance and were harassed to various extents just because Hillary went to a Sunday service in a government-sanctioned church. I was one of the victims. In the three days before this, these plain-clothed agents from Beijing Domestic Security Protection Squad not only stayed downstairs from my house, they also came to talk to me and required me to report to them if I wanted to go out in the next few days.”
Yu Jie does not agree with Hillary’s attendance of a Sunday service at a government-sanctioned Three-Self Protection Movement (TSPM) church.  He said: “From our point of view, the Haidian church is a place controlled by the government. Just like eight democratic political parties controlled by the Communist Party, it is a decoration, a vase and such an establishment does not meet the principles in the Bible which regard Jesus as the supreme being for worship. Yet, the supreme being for worship in the TSPM system is the Communist Party.”
Another person is Qi Zhiyong, a Christian disabled during the June 4 Incident [Tiananmen Square student protest in 1989]. He was taken to a suburb of Beijing by the police where he was held for three days. He said: “This is totally absurd.  They have been doing this all these years.  When Secretary of State Rice came here last time, they also took me away.  Whenever a U.S. president or a high-ranking official comes to Beijing, the authorities always get nervous and do not want me to be in Beijing.”
Besides Christians whose movements were restricted, many pro-democracy activists were also placed under surveillance or in the custody of the people sent by the authorities before Hillary’s visit to China. Zha Jianguo, one of the founding members of China Democracy Party, told the reporter: “I think the authorities sent people over to stand guard at our place during Hillary’s visit because they were afraid the foreign reporters might interview us. They were also afraid that we might stage a protest or demand that we see Hillary. However, we think what they are afraid of is actually the rights the Chinese citizens deserve to have. They used the police force to restrict the citizens’ rights, which itself is a violation of the citizens’ rights. It also shows the government is weak.”
Jiang Qisheng, deputy director of the independent Chinese Pen Center, Zhang Zuhua, a Constitutional scholar of Beijing, and Gao Hongming, member of the China Democracy Party, and others were also under surveillance during Hillary’s visit to China. Before Hillary left  Beijing, she met 22 representatives from women related organizations, including Gao Yaojie, a retired doctor from Henan who is concerned about AIDS.  Hillary praised Gao Yaojie for her bravery in expressing her opinions and exposing the authorities.
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National CCC/TSPM,” in Jinling Theological Notes, (June 1989), p. 2.


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