Silenced Christmas Followed by Joyful Chinese New Year for Sister “Tina”
Recently, I was at the State Department for a meeting with the U.S. ambassador to China, Gary Locke, and we discussed the worsening human rights situation in China. I expressed my concern about this, but then I heard the good news of the early release of “Tina” Tian Hongxia, whose return to prison we wrote about in the previous newsletter.
Due to our Christmas campaign, Sister Tina was released on the eve of Chinese New Year―almost five months early―because the prison had received so many letters from the United States for her, which they refused to hand over to her. They curiously asked who these people were and why these letters were sent. With a big smile, Tina replied, “They are all my children’s Godparents.”
Praise the Lord that our Christmas campaign bore such great fruit. The Lord turned what we called “A Silenced Night” into a Joyous Day for Tina’s family.
ChinaAid Releases its 2011 Annual Persecution Report
In its annual report, ChinaAid showed that Chinese government persecution of Christians and churches had dramatically worsened in 2011. “This trend of worsening persecution has persisted for the past six years,” the group said, adding that in 2011 the number of Christians detained for their religious beliefs had soared 131.8% from 2010.
A new government practice last year was targeting churches and individuals who were significantly impacting society, like Beijing’s Shouwang Church and leading legal activists such as constitutional law expert Dr. Fan Yafeng, who has been under house arrest since December 2010, and award-winning human rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng, who disappeared into official custody for 20 months before being sent to a remote prison in far western China in December 2011 to serve a three-year sentence.
The report also highlighted the worrying increase in the use of torture against detainees, citing a 33.3% increase over 2010 in the number of cases of abuse of all kinds, including torture.
The full report is available on our website at www.chinaaid.org under “Publications” >> “Annual Persecution Report”.
On Feb. 1, the Dutch government gave its 2011 Human Rights Defenders Tulip Award to Chinese human rights lawyer Ni Yulan (left) in absentia because the woman lawyer is in a Chinese prison awaiting trial and her daughter was barred by the Chinese government from traveling to Holland to accept the award on her mother’s behalf. Ni, a Christian, was nominated for the award by ChinaAid and Christian Solidarity Worldwide.
On Feb. 10, the Hangzhou Intermediate Court sentenced long-time Christian political dissident Zhu Yufu (right) to seven years’ im- prisonment for “subversion of state power” for posting a poem on- line around the time of the Arab Jasmine Revolution in March 2010. Zhu’s political activism dates back to the Democracy Wall movement in the late 1970s, and he has already served two prison terms totaling nine years. Zhu is appealing the sentence.
Chinese VP Welcomed in DC While ChinaAid and Dissidents’ Wives Testify about Human Rights Abuse
|Geng He, left, and Li Jing, right,
in the hearing room where they testified to
members of Congress about their husbands’
years of imprisonment and torture
As President Obama and other senior U.S. officials rolled out the red carpet on Feb. 14 for China’s presumptive next leader, Vice President Xi Jinping, ChinaAid founder and president Bob Fu and the wives of two imprisoned dissidents were testifying before a Congressional hearing about China’s human rights abuses and trampling of religious freedoms.
Gao Zhisheng’s wife, Geng He, and Li Jing, the wife of human rights activist Guo Quan, spoke about their personal experiences of Chinese government persecution. Congressional and religious leaders submitted to President Obama a list of six Chinese prisoners of conscience—including Gao and Guo—urging the president to press Xi for their release. The full texts of Bob Fu’s and Li Jing’s statements, as well as the letters from Congressional and religious leaders are all available on the ChinaAid website at https://chinaaid.org/2012/02/imprisoned-chinese-dissident-guo-quans.html .
Shouwang Church Attempts to Move Indoors But is Blocked Again by Government
Beijing’s beleaguered Shouwang Church started the New Year prepared to end its 38 weeks of holding Sunday worship services outdoors and attempted to lease a new meeting site at three different places. But the landlords all came under government pressure and refused to let Shouwang meet on their premises. So the 1000-member church continues to be forced to hold its worship services outdoors. Anyone who shows up at the outdoor worship site is rounded up by police and held for up to 24-48 hours before being released. Meanwhile, the church’s clergy and lay leaders have been confined under house arrest since April 2011.
Photo shows two Shouwang Church members waiting for detainees to be released from a police station.
ECFA Membership for ChinaAid
In February, China Aid Association was granted accreditation by the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability and is now one of a growing number of churches and ministries across the country that has earned the right to display the ECFA seal. ECFA accreditation is based on financial accountability, transparency, sound board governance and ethical fundraising. An ECFA-accredited organization has demonstrated its willingness to follow the model of biblical accountability.
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