China’s One-Man Prison Project

China Creates Small Prison Specifically To Hold Chen Guangcheng

We have received grave news about Chen Guangcheng from our friends at Women’s Rights Without Frontiers. The Chinese government plans to transfer Chen to a small building, which they can guard easier. The illusion that Chen is only under ‘house arrest’ grows thin and Jubilee Campaign is very concerned for his well-being.

We earnestly solicit your prayers for Chen and his family. The Chinese government continues to deprive Chen of food and medical attention in an effort to break his spirit and send a message to all those who would dare oppose their murderous regime.

We urge you to read the press release below and watch some of the video’s links provided by our friend Reggie Littlejohn. We ask you consider adding your name to the petition seeking Chen Guangcheng’s release.

Personal Prison Prepared for Forced Abortion Opponent Chen

Blind forced abortion opponent Chen Guangcheng and his wife, Yuan Weijing, will be transferred to a small prison built specifically for them, according to a Radio Free Asia report.  Activist He Peirong stated that the couple will be forcibly removed from their home and transferred to a building “which basically amounts to a jail” so that authorities can “keep tighter controls on them.”  They will be separated from their five-year-old daughter in the move.  Their young son, living with relatives, was reportedly strip-searched leaving the family home.

Reggie Littlejohn, President of Women’s Rights Without Frontiers, decried this action.  “The Chinese Communist Party has already beaten and tortured Chen and his wife, denied them medical treatment, stolen their television, phone, computer and books, and appears to be slowly starving them to death.  The couple is constantly surrounded by 66 guards and multiple surveillance cameras tracking their every move inside and outside their home.  Why is the CCP so threatened by a blind, sick, penniless man that they have to build a personal prison for him?  They seek to make an example of Chen, to demonstrate how they will punish anyone who challenges their forced abortion policies.  But they are really making an example of their own, shameful brutality.”

Bob Fu, President of China Aid, said “The treatment of Chen Guangcheng and the torture and disappearance of human rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng, are unconscionable.  These are not the acts of a government that respects the rule of law.  Since the beginning of this year, the CCP has launched an offensive against human rights lawyers and activists, religious leaders, house church Christians and even dissident artists.  We urge the release of those unjustly imprisoned, tortured and disappeared.”

Chen was arrested in 2006 for exposing evidence that 130,000 forced abortions and involuntary sterilizations were performed on women in Linyi County, Shandong Province in a single year.  Time Magazine named him one of “2006’s Top 100 People Who Shape Our World.” Chen spent four years in prison. Since his release, he continues under house arrest.  He and his wife have been beaten repeatedly and denied medical treatment.

To watch “Free Chen Guangcheng!” (three minutes), click here

To sign a petition to free Chen, click here

Women’s Rights Without Frontiers and China Aid are spearheading a campaign to free Chen Guangcheng.  The Jubilee Campaign and World Youth Alliance are partners in this effort.

To see the Radio Free Asia report, click here

Support the Protection of Religious Minorities

Libyan Rebels Edge Toward Shari’a Law

You are all aware of the armed conflict occurring in the nation of Libya. Over the past months and weeks the West watched ‘freedom-loving’ revolutionaries push back the forces of the socialist dictator Moammar Gadhafi. However, as with the rest of the Arab Spring movements, the Libyan movement contains strongly Islamist elements.

While the total number of extremists among the Libyan revolutionaries cannot be verified, this article in the Wall Street Journal notes the presence of Islamic extremists in key military posts responsible for training and commanding the rebels.

No one, at least in the human rights community, denies the injustice and human rights violations committed by Gadhafi’s regime. However, Jubilee Campaign fears that any government set up along Islamic principles will prove to be no better than the dictatorship.

A potential draft for the Libyan Constitution released online explicitly affirms Shari’a as the “principle source of legislation.” The validity of this Constitutional draft cannot be confirmed, and it will be some time before Libya can conduct a vote to ratify this or any other Constitution. Nevertheless, this represents a dangerous way to begin the discussion on the future of Libyan governance.

While a successful revolution in Libya may ease the repression of the general populace, basing the laws of a nation on Shari’a tilts the playing field in favor of Islamic extremists. The best case scenario looks something like Iraq or Afghanistan. Unfortunately, despite heavy American involvement in those countries, discrimination and violence against Christians continues and extremism is on the rise.

The situation in Libya highlights the need for a Special Envoy to the Middle East. The powerful forces unleashed by the Arab Spring represent the best hope for genuine freedom and democracy that we have seen in the Middle East for decades. Unfortunately, the trend appears to be moving away from that noble end.

Libya is only one example of the critical need for focus on this issue in this region at this time. The House version of this Bill HR 440 passed 402 to 20. Now we desperately need action on the Senate side.

Once again we ask you to contact your Senator and ask them to support S. 1245 Full Text Here.
Mail in the sample letter below or use it as a script when you call. Feel free to personalize the letter.

As the Congressional recess draws to a close we ask you to contact the the staffers responsible for this issue both in the office your senators and in the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations. We need this issue to be place on the Committee soon after the recess so that it can be sent to the Senate floor with enough time to vote on the bill.

Here is the contact information for the Committee
U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations
446 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510-6225

Majority Phone: (202) 224-4651
Minority Phone: (202) 224-6797

We encourage you to reach out and discuss how the situation in Libya specifically requires this bill.

In HIS Grace
Ann Buwalda
Executive Director, Jubilee Campaign
Sample Letter to Senators

Senator ____________

I am greatly concerned about the future of human rights and religious freedom in Libya. No one denies the injustice and human rights violations committed by Gadhafi’s regime. However, I fear that any government set up along Islamic principles will prove to be no better than the dictatorship. The presence of Islamic extremists in key military posts within the Libyan rebel forces and the proposed Libyan Constitution citing Shari’a as the source of all legislation represent dangerous trends for freedom and genuine democracy.

The failure of the US government to meaningfully advocate for religious minorities prompted the the “Near East and South Central Asia Religious Freedom Act of 2011.” Senators Roy Blunt and Carl Levin introduced introduced this bill in the Senate as S. 1245. It has already passed the House 402 to 20 in a massive showing of bipartisan support.

As my Senator, I would like to ask to you to support this Bill. If the governments of the Middle East become controlled by Islamists, it will harm both the religious minorities in these countries and the ability of the United States to combat terrorism both abroad and at home. I ask that you do everything in your power to support freedom and genuine democracy including religious freedom.

Sincerely
Your Name

Rule of Law in the Wake of Violence

By Gregory Treat – Jubilee Campaign Staffer, Government Relations Coordinator, Special Projects, Manager of Jubilee Facebook Page and This Blog

During the first week of August, the death of Londoner Mark Duggan and the resulting public backlash spiraled into a riot. The initial failure of the British police to contain the violence compounded the problem and public unrest spread both in London and several other British cities. The police substantially increased their numbers and the mob was gradually contained. After the violence subsided, the media frenzy began in earnest. Politicians and pundits have barely begun the struggle over root causes and proper blame.

From the perspective of a human rights advocate, I am more interested in how England’s legal system responded to widespread violence. Like the incidents of violence in many countries where Jubilee Campaign works, the London riots began as a response to a specific perceived injustice. I do not use the word perceived to deny the serious allegations of police brutality in shooting of Mark Duggan. However, whether the injustice involves a police shooting in London or potentially fraudulent election results in Nigeria, it is perception not reality that sparks the violence.

Mass violence feeds on itself, especially if the initial government response fails to restore order. Addressing the House of Lords on August 9, our friend Lord David Alton noted that while the 1981 Liverpool riots began in the black community, community leaders worked to restrain their young people. However after days without rule of law the white majority began rioting and looting for pleasure or financial gain.

Similarly the recent London riots began among the poor and disadvantaged then spread to what can only be considered members of the dominant class. Olympic ambassadors, ballerinas, and straight-A collegians, do not fit the profile of an oppressed underclass who hate and fear the police. Instead, these people joined the mob for their own personal reasons.

Many of the British officials involved in the crisis made poor or hasty decisions. Some of the public statements, particular those of Theresa May, were extremely ill considered. Nevertheless, the overall response of the British nation, in particular the ongoing work of the police force and the courts, showcases a genuine commitment to rule of law.

The British police took a firm stance for rule of law promising the rioters, many of whom were filmed committing violent crimes, “we are coming for you…” and promising to investigate allegations of police brutality. As of August 12, the number of arrested rioters rose to 1,700 across the country, and courts stayed open around the clock to process the charges. In one incident a car drove into a crowd of locals who were protecting their homes and shops and killed three members of the Muslim minority. The police responded by treating the case as a murder investigation, arresting suspects and collecting evidence for a murder trial.

I see a different response in Egypt, Indonesia, and Nigeria. In Egypt in a number of incidents since Christmas, mobs attacked the Coptic Christian community and perpetrators went unpunished. Instead of making arrests, police held reconciliation meetings, which prevented prosecutions from taking place. Egyptian Police failed to prosecute violent criminals even when the rioters were caught on film and the videos posted on Youtube.

In Indonesia Muslim mobs killed three Ahmidiyya, a minority sect of Islam. Police arrested less than fifty of 1,500 rioters. Despite film of the attackers committing murder, the police refused to charge them with felony level crimes. Most of those arrested were sentenced to time served and released after the trial. Meanwhile one of the victims of the attack received a sentence of six months on trumped up charges.

In Nigeria’s 2009-2010 massacres and violence in northern states including the Plateau State, the federal government arrested some of those who committed violent crimes but refused to turn the suspects over to state officials who could charge them with serious crimes. Suspects were freed after mock trials far away from the communities harmed by violence or simply released without the attempt to determine guilt. The closest thing to justice accomplished by the Nigerian police involved the extra-judicial killing of Mohammed Yusuf the leader of the Boko Haram terrorist group. Yet murder, even of a terrorist, only served to further weaken the rule of law in Nigeria.

As a human rights advocate, I do not believe that any people or nation is superior to another. No group possesses greater tendencies to violence than another. Instead, I believe that presence or absence of a commitment to rule of law creates an expectation of justice or injustice on the part of the people living under a government. That expectation of justice keeps a people from or propels a people toward violence. The level of commitment to rule of law in Britain’s government makes the riots temporary aberrations from which Britain can recover. Perhaps those nations haunted by the constant threat of widespread sectarian violence should take note.

A Message From Suzanne Scholte and the North Korean Freedom Coalition

Dear Friends,

Because of the great people and great organizations listed below, I am pleased to report that we now have 11 countries and 17 cities that will participate in support of the International Protest to Save North Korean Refugees scheduled for 12:00 noon on September 22, 2011 at the Chinese Embassies and consulates around the world.  Thank you to members of the North Korea Freedom Coalition and to International Christian Concern for their outreach to members, friends, and colleagues to help recruit coordinators and thank you to South Korean Assemblyman Hwang Woo-Yea and the International Parliamentarians Coalition for North Korean Refugees for joining in support and solidarity.  And, of course, a special thanks to our coordinators: the individuals and organizations listed below:

AUSTRALIA: Sydney: Sarah Judd

BELGIUM: Brussels: Willy Fautre and Human Rights Without Frontiers

CANADA: Toronto: Kyung B. Lee and The Council for Human Rights in North Korea

ESTONIA: Tallinn: Maarja Merivoo-Parro

JAPAN:Tokyo: The Honorable Kushibuchi Mari, Secretary-General of the Democratic Party of Japan and the Congressional League regarding North Korean Refugees and Issue of Humanity & Kan Ando who will be organizing an event at the Chinese embassy in Tokyo.

MEXICO: Mexico City: Teresa Ost

POLAND:  Warsaw: Marcin Nowak and Together Action Foundation

also supporting: Agnieszka Gratkiewicz, Lech Walesa Institute

REPUBLIC OF KOREA:  Seoul: Kim Seung Min and Free North Korea Radio

Busan: Pastor Changho Lim and Jandaehyun Church

UKRAINE: Kiev: Kim and Zenya Walder

UNITED KINGDOM: London: Joo il KIM and the EU North Korean Resident Society

Ireland: Dublin: Michael O’Rourke

USA:  Washington, D.C. North Korean Freedom Coalition

Houston: Mr. Hairyong Suh, President of the Korean Americans for Liberty and Human Rights

New York: Michelle Kim and PSALT

Chicago: Linda Dye

Los Angeles: Sam Kim and the Korean American Church Coalition for North Korea Freedom

also helping: Colonel Kim Bong Keon of Korean War Veterans Association and Young Lee

What you can do to help:

1) If your city is not listed below but is listed at the Chinese Embassy Website it means we need YOU to be a coordinator in that city.  Coordinators are welcome to plan any type of action, including a protest, a prayer vigil, a rally, or simply deliver a petition or send a fax at 12:00 noon that day calling upon the Chinese to end their brutal policy of repatriating North Korean refugees.  We want to show the Chinese government that people all around the world are aware and concerned about their ongoing brutality against the North Korean refugees.  For example, some cities are simply delivering petitions while other city coordinators are planning protests and demonstrations.  These embassies must report back to Beijing what happens in their cities, and we must show the Chinese government that people around the world care and know about what is happening because of their policy.  We are simply asking them to honor their international treaty obligations and not subject these refugees to certain torture, certain imprisonment, and sometimes even execution as punishment for fleeing their homeland.

2) If you want to help in one of these cities, let us know and we will forward your request directly to that city’s coordinators.

3) If it is impossible for you to participate at one of these cities, you can still take action by faxing or emailing an appeal to the Chinese embassy or consulate closest to where you live at 12:00 noon on that day in solidarity with the international protest.  In addition, we are recruiting Sister Cities in Solidarity who will plan an event such as a film screening, concert, prayer vigil on that day specifically to focus attention on the North Korean refugee crisis in China.

Please join us in our efforts to save the lives of the North Korean refugees in China and email us if you can help.

Acta Non Verba,

Suzanne Scholte

Nepal Moves To Restrict Religious Freedom

We ask for your prayers. While Jubilee Campaign has been working hard to promote religious freedom in Nepal, the tools available to us work slowly. Unfortunately, the political landscape of a nation in transition changes very rapidly, and we may have run out of time.

On Monday, the Prime Minister of Nepal promised to negotiate an agreement on the constitution before August 13th. He vowed to step down if no agreement materialized. The Prime Minister appears to be gambling his career on the idea that he can make a deal happen in the next nine days.

Current drafts of the constitution contain language that bans any activities leading or contributing to conversions. Anti-minority sentiment in the police force and courts could easily use this language to criminalize all public expression of minority religions.

Nepal’s proposed criminal code goes further and bans conduct which insults or undermines a religion. The religious provisions in the proposed constitution and criminal code reinforce one another. Together they create a comprehensive legal framework that will virtually eliminate religious freedom of conscience and choice for all Nepali.

Friends of Jubilee Campaign in Nepal and India contacted us about this dangerous language. We reached out to contacts in the U.S. Government hoping to resolve this through quiet diplomatic channels. While not flashy, quiet diplomacy can be extremely effective with enough time. The Prime Minister’s announcement does not give us that time.

If Nepal adopts this constitution, religious liberty will retrogress to pre-1990 monarchy imposed restrictions on religious choice, and it will seriously harm the rights of religious minorities. The damage might take a generation or more to undo.

Yet Nepal desperately needs a constitution. The Maoist party, formerly the Maoist resistance, has camps of armed men capable of further destabilizing the country. On the other side of the spectrum the Hindu nationalists call for the return of the old Hindu Monarchy. The common people are beginning to lose faith that a new constitution will ever be passed threatening the legitimacy of the government. The resignation of the Prime Minister will only increase these polarizing trends.

Although the solution appears allusive, we must seek and pray for peace.  Failure to pass any constitution may send Nepal spiraling down the path back to civil war.

Pray That:

-God will touch the leaders of Nepal and give them the wisdom to see the negative consequences of this discriminatory and restrictive language

-Those in the US embassy who are advocating for religious freedom with the Nepalese Government would be heard

-The Lord would give His church wisdom and gentleness to respond to accusations that they force conversions and that they would continue to preach the Word peacefully and faithfully

Thank you for standing with us and with the church in Nepal.