U.S. Congressmen Defend the Right to Religious Freedom in China

China Aid Association
Congressman Frank Wolf (L), and Congressman Chris Smith (R), express concern for religious freedom and human rights in China.

(WASHINGTON, DC – September 9, 2009) Early in August, CAA received a report that the Chinese central government had issued a secret directive calling for the dismantling of six house churches in Beijing. U.S. Congressmen Frank Wolf (VA-10), and U.S. Congressman Chris Smith (NJ-4) learned about the report, and were deeply concerned by the news.
Last July, prior to the 2008 Beijing Olympics, the two U.S. Congressmen traveled to Beijing on an investigative tour and personally met with members of the Shouwang House Church. View CAA’s Press Release on their visit. Their encounter with the Chinese Christians and human rights lawyers left a lasting impression. In learning about this new directive against the churches, they sought immediate action.
On September 8, 2009, Congressman Wolf and Congressman Smith addressed a letter to the newly appointed U.S. Ambassador to China, Jon Huntsman, congratulating him on his new position, and calling the issue of religious freedom in China to his attention. They urged the Ambassador to prioritize the U.S. position of supporting religious freedom and to publicly state the importance of religious freedom to a modern nation.
Click here to View the Signed Letter to Ambassador Huntsman, and read the full text below:
To: Ambassador Jon Huntsman
C/O Department of State
Washington, DC 20512

Dear Mr. Ambassador,
Congratulations on your new appointment as U.S. Ambassador to China. We look forward to working with you on areas of common interest.
We are deeply concerned over a recent report that a secret directive has been issued by the Chinese government to dismantle six leading house churches in Beijing. We visited one of these churches in June 2008, the Shouwang house church; the church has over 1,000 members, many of whom are intellectuals, and we were greeted warmly.
Some have raised concerns that this secret directive is the first step in a crackdown on house churches in Beijing in the lead-up to the observance of the 60th anniversary of the Communist Party rule in China on October 1, 2009. These churches pose no threat to social order, nor should a pending national event be cause or justification for violating  the constitutional right of Chinese citizens to  fundamental  religious freedom.
In this key time at the beginning of your appointment in Beijing and in the lead-up to a major national anniversary, we urge you to affirm the U.S. position prioritizing religious freedom, and to publicly state the vital importance of religious freedom to a modern nation, the role of religious freedom to holistic stability and development, and the imperative for people of faith to be allowed to freely worship outside of government establishments.
Thank you for your attention to this urgent matter. Best wishes.
Frank Wolf, Member of Congress [Signed]
Chris Smith, Member of Congress [Signed]
Congressman Wolf currently serves as the Co-Chair of the Tom Lantos Commission on Human Rights, while Congressman Smith serves as a member of the Congressional-Executive Commission on China, and is a member of the House Foreign Affairs committee.

ChinaAid is grateful for the actions taken by Congressman Wolf and Congressman Smith on behalf of the persecuted church. We ask for continued prayer for the churches in Beijing and other provinces in China, who are being pressured to disperse by the Chinese government, in preparation for the upcoming Communist-party celebration on October 1st.

To express thanks and support for the Congressmens’ work, please contact the following Congressional offices in Washington, DC:

Congressman Frank Wolf, VA-10th DistrictWashington Office
241 Cannon Building
Washington, DC 20515
Tel: (202) 225-5136
Fax: (202) 225-0437

Congressman Chris Smith, NJ-4th DistrictWashington, DC Office
2373 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515
Tel: (202) 225-3765
Fax: (202) 225-7768

China Aid Contacts
Rachel Ritchie, English Media Director
Cell: (432) 553-1080 | Office: 1+ (888) 889-7757 | Other: (432) 689-6985
Email: [email protected]
Website: www.chinaaid.org