Tuesday, February 19, 2008

McCotter Asks U.S. Ambassador to Urge China's Chief Religious Persecutor to Implement Reforms

U. S. Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom scheduled to meet today with China’s Director for the State Administration for Religious Affairs (SARA)

Washington, D.C. – In a letter to U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom, John V. Hanford III, Rep. Thaddeus G. McCotter (R-MI), Chairman of the House Republican Policy Committee, and Rep. Walter B. Jones (R-NC) joined additional House colleagues to express their concerns over the Ambassador’s meeting scheduled today with Ye Xiaowen, communist China’s Director for the State Administrations for Religious Affairs (SARA). The letter urges Ambassador Hanford to insist that communist China implement reforms to end the religious persecution of its citizens, and immediately release its prisoners of conscience.

"As Director of SARA, Ye has implemented, overseen, and assisted authorities in carrying out communist China’s systematic policy for discrimination, harassment, imprisonment, torture, and execution of Chinese citizens practicing their faith outside the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) dictates," the letter states. "Recently, under Ye’s leadership, communist China has increased its persecution of Chinese religious believers."

For "the best interest of the United States and religious freedom around the world," the letter encourages Ambassador Hanford to insist that SARA and communist China end their practice of:

**requiring all house churches to register with the government;

**prohibiting the public expression and practice of religious beliefs (as established in Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, to which China is an original party);

**restricting the printing and distribution of the Bible and other religious literature;

**restricting religious education for children under the age of 18 years; and

**designating religious groups as cults and thus causing them to become targets for government-sponsored violence, torture, and execution.

"While these reforms are urgently needed, simple promises from Ye and the communist Chinese Government will likely do little to stop communist China’s state-sponsored discrimination, harassment, imprisonment, torture, and execution of the Chinese people for practicing their religious faith," the letter states. "To hold communist China accountable for their persecution, please request that they allow impartial international or United States’ observers to verify the steps taken or not taken by their government."

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