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ChinaAid Tells U.S. House Committee on Foreign Affairs That Religious Freedom in China at its Worst in Nearly 30 Years

by Staff
November 7, 2011
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WASHINGTON, ( -- ChinaAid told a congressional foreign affairs committee on Thursday that religious freedom in China has deteriorated to the lowest point in nearly three decades, and it is not likely to get better any time soon.

ChinaAid founder and president Bob Fu was one of five panelists invited to testify at a first-ever hearing of the House Foreign Affairs Committee on the annual report submitted to Congress by the Congressional-Executive Committee on China.

The CECC was created 10 years ago to monitor China's human rights and the rule of law as a compromise measure in the debate over whether to allow China to join the World Trade Organization and to make it a normal trading partner with the United States. The hearing topic was the CECC's 10th annual report released on Oct. 15.

Committee Chairwoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) opened the hearing by saying, "Over a decade later, we can see that economic engagement with and trade liberalization for China did not produce political liberalization and thus granting [normal trading status] was a mistake."

The CECC report presents "a clear picture of a China where human rights lawyers disappear, 'black jails' illegally imprison those who seek to voice dissent, Falun Gong practitioners are mercilessly persecuted, and the internet is censored by thought police," she said.

In Fu's five-minute oral statement, he not only confirmed that the past 10 years have seen no improvement in human rights in China, but noted that "religious freedom conditions are at their lowest point since 1982, the year Deng Xiaoping officially ended the policy of eradicating religion."

"As China's influence and power grows, this pattern is unlikely to change, and certainly not before the 2012 transfer of power to a new generation of senior leadership," he added.

Fu called for the United States and other government to continue to bring pressure to bear on China, saying "international attention matters and can make a difference. That's because it constrains what the Chinese government does and how it uses its force against rights advocates."

Fu broke from his prepared remarks to introduce Feng Xia who was in the hearing room. Her husband, Ding Mao, was arrested in February for forwarding twitter messages about the Jasmine Revolution. Feng was in the United States to try to draw international attention to her husband's case so as to win his release.

Fu also referred to a Chinese-government exhibition of Chinese Bibles currently touring the United States, which he said is part of "the increasing propaganda campaign by the Chinese government in the United States." Fu and two other former Chinese house church leaders visited the exhibition in Dallas on Wednesday.

"It's nothing but political manipulation. Lies!" Fu said, adding that Americans need to "be wo ken up" to the truth.

Other panelists at the hearing were: Chai Ling, founder of All Girls Allowed and a student leader of the 1989 Tiananmen Square democracy movement; John Kamm, chairman of The Dui Hua Foundation; Sophie Richardson, China Director of Human Rights Watch; and Bhuchung K. Tsering, Vice President for Special Programs of the International Campaign for Tibet.

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