While U.S. talks tough on human rights, China continues to raid churches & detain Christians

China Aid Association
(Zhengzhou, China – May 10, 2011) While U.S. leaders talked tough on human rights in Washington during an annual bilateral dialogue on economics and security, back in China, authorities continued to crack down on the mainland’s house churches, detaining 49 senior house church leaders Tuesday who were attending a Bible training seminar.
The house church leaders were all part of the Chinese House Church Alliance and were attending a seminar in Zhengzhou, capital of Henan province, when all 49 attendees were detained in the three-story church where the training was being held. Three Koreans also were detained, including the Korean Bible instructor, whose name in Chinese pinyin is Jin Yongzhe, according to ChinaAid sources.
The local Weishi county police searched all three floors of the church and confiscated the detainees’ personal belongings with a total value in the tens of thousands of Chinese yuan (thousands of U.S. dollars).
Among those detained were Zhang Jili, Zhang Qing’an and Zhang Guangxia.
When U.S. officials opened two days of the high-level U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue in Washington on Monday, Vice President Joe Biden said bluntly, “We have vigorous disagreement in the area of human rights. No relationship that’s real can be built on a false foundation. Where we disagree, it’s important to state it.”
With top Chinese officials standing at his side, Biden continued, “Protecting fundamental rights and freedoms, such as those enshrined in China’s international commitments as well as in China’s own constitution, is the best way to promote long-term stability and prosperity of any society.”
Biden’s comments were particularly noteworthy because human rights issues have not been among the top priorities of the Obama administration’s China policy and because the two sides had just concluded talks focused solely on human rights late last month. Those closed-door talks yielded little fruit, and earned the U.S. a reprimand from the Chinese Foreign Ministry, which said, “We … are opposed to the United States using human rights as a pretext for interfering in China’s internal affairs.”
China is in the midst of what observers describe as the harshest crackdown in a decade on dissent and all social forces that it views as a potential threat to its power or to social stability. These have included not just political dissidents, but artists and writers, human rights lawyers, bloggers and netizens, and house church Christians.

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