Liu Xiaobo: Chinese Prisoner of Conscience is awarded the NOBEL PEACE PRIZE

Today we want to highlight another individual who needs our attention and prayers. Liu Xiaobo is a longtime Chinese human rights advocate and democracy activist. During the late 80s when the Tiananmen Square protests cost China so many young lives, Liu Xiaobo negotiated a peaceful withdrawal of many of the students. This man’s efforts for reform culminated in the writing of ‘Charter 08′ a document calling for democracy and basic human rights in China. Because of his pivotal role in writing the document, the authoritarian government of China gave Liu Xiaobo an 11-year prison sentence.

This was par for the course in Communist China, and no one outside the human rights community paid much attention. But then the Nobel Peace Prize Committee announced that it had selected Liu Xiaobo as the 2010 winner of the Nobel Peace Prize. All eyes turned to China and the world remembered that in practice Chinese citizens have no human rights.

Despite a government ban on the news, many throughout China are celebrating. Unfortunately this has spawned a new wave of arrests as the Chinese government tries to stamp out what it sees as insurrection. China Aid reports that several leaders have been detained and dozens of others have been interrogated or put under surveillance.

This brings home a sobering point. The totalitarian government of China is still in power. They are still oppressing people. Liu Xiaobo is still in prison and may not even know that he has won the Nobel Peace Prize. But now more than ever the people of China need our prayers. We need to pray that someday China will be a place where the gospel is freely preached and our brothers and sisters in Christ can live in peace. If such a day occurs it will come because of the efforts of Liu Xiaobo and others like him.

Free Gao Zisheng: Human Rights Advocate is briefly released by the Chinese government and then ‘disappeared’ a second time.

Greetings,

Some of you may remember our last post on Gao Zhisheng back in February. This Chinese lawyer made a career defending those oppressed by China’s atheistic government. From members of the underground Christian Church to Falun Gong adherents, Gao Zhisheng was a defender of the persecuted and was persecuted as well. But after two stays in prison failed to daunt this courageous activist, the Chinese government disappeared him in early 2009. At that time we had no way of knowing if this valiant advocate for human rights was alive or dead. Instead of arresting him on trumped up–but public–charges the Chinese government simply held him incommunicado for over a year.

Then he was released on April 6 and allowed two weeks of meager freedom before being ‘disappeared’ once again by Chinese security forces. This man was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize. He won the 2010 Lawyer of the Year Award conferred by the American Bar Association. The Award had to be accepted by Grace Geng, Gao Zhisheng’s 17-year old daughter, because her father was being held incommunicado and without cause. For the Chinese government to flaunt the victim of their imprisonment and torture before the world stage and then again violate his rights is an act of overwhelming arrogance.

This outrageous violation of international and even Chinese domestic law is drawing a response from governments, human rights organization, and media outlets all over the world. Our own Congress sent a letter protesting these human rights abuses and asking President Obama to call China to account for their actions. The agonizing human drama has also drawn high level media attention. The Wall Street Journal ran an editorial written by Grace Geng which contained this quote:

“If the Chinese government has murdered my father, I beg President Obama to ask President Hu to let us bury him. I am 17 now. I’m old enough to understand that it might be better for my father to be dead than for him to undergo more unspeakable torture. But for my brother, Peter, who is only seven, not knowing whether our father is alive or dead is an unfathomable cruelty. I can hardly stand to hope that Peter and I will see our father again.”

The courage of those words does further credit to this young lady’s father, but it is heartbreaking to hear such words from a 17-year old girl. We must pray for this family and for this man who is guilty of nothing but the inability to see injustice and do nothing. And perhaps by God’s grace we will be able to see this family receive back their father.

U.S. Congressmen celebrating 20 years of opposition to sex slavery, India declines visa

Ladies and Gentlemen!

It is time to celebrate and let me tell you why. Our dear friends at the Bombay Teen Challenge have just celebrated 20 years of rescuing women and girls from sexual slavery in India.Since, 1990 when K.K. Deveraj first began rescuing young girls who would otherwise have been sold into sexual slavery, Bombay Teen Challenge has saved hundreds of lives from bondage to the sex industry. That bondage takes many forms whether the literal chains and cages in Kamathipura, the hellish red-light district in Mumbai, India, chemical bondage to drugs, or the invisible cage of an unjust and undeserved social stigma.

In the beginning, Deveraj placed the girls that he had rescued into Jubilee Homes, and there are now four Jubilee Homes caring for rescued daughters of prostitutes including those with HIV. There is even a shelter within the Kamathipura district itself. The extensive work of our partner also operates a small “village” known as Ashagram, which means village of hope. But the extremely lucrative nature of the sex slave trade in India means that they can never hope to rescue more than a fraction of slaves from a lifetime of horror into a new life living in the mercy and grace of God.

Praying Child (india)
Child from shelter home in Kamathipura praying during a Jubilee Campaign visit

Bombay Teen Challenge has declared that enslavement of women and girls cannot continue, and they have used the attention garnered by their 20th anniversary to launch a new campaign, Stop Sexual Slavery. It is simple and to the point and absolutely necessary to save the countless thousands for whom suffering daily brutality is their lives.

The fundamental wrongness of the brutal suffering many girls and young women endure reaches out and grips us all, and that is the desperate importance of this campaign, and why we at Jubilee Campaign are fully behind this campaign launched by Bombay Teen Challenge.
We encourage you all to go to their new site SupportSSS.com. We encourage you to donate or buy the beautiful worked leather goods, that these valiant survivors have made. Similar leather goods as well as some beautiful jewelry also made by these women can be purchased at our site Jubileecampaign.com.

But above all we urge you to pray for India, for their lawmakers and politicians who tolerate this practice, for those like Deveraj who are rescuing the weak, and for the sex slaves themselves who most desperately need the love and power of our God. In an effort to quash outside attention during the 20 year anniversary celebrations, India declined to issue a visit visa to U.S. Congressman Todd Akin, a personal supporter of the Jubilee Homes and Devaraj since he visited them in 2005. Their press release on the subject is below.

in HIS grace,

Ann Buwalda
Executive Director
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DeverajPhoto shows K.K. Deveraj and Congressman Todd Akin


For Immediate Release Contact: Bethany Haley or Ben Carnes at 202-225-4576

 

Franks and Akin Commemorate 20th Anniversary of Bombay Teen Challenge

November 8, 2010 – Congressman Trent Franks (AZ-02) and Todd Akin (MO-02) today issued the following statement in recognition of the 20th anniversary of the Bombay Teen Challenge (BTC), a human rights organization dedicated to rescuing and rehabilitating vulnerable children in danger of being abused, exploited, or enslaved in sex trafficking; abandoned, orphaned, or HIV-positive children; and women trapped in prostitution or addicted to drugs and alcohol. The Congressmen were joined by Reps. Joe Pitts (PA-16), Chris Smith (NJ-04), and Frank Wolf (VA-10) in sending the attached letter congratulating BTC on its 20 years of invaluable service.

“After visiting Bombay Teen Challenge myself and witnessing their amazing program firsthand, I have been deeply touched to meet several of the innumerable precious souls whose lives have been transformed and made whole again by the work of this remarkable organization.” Franks stated. “K.K. Devaraj’s commitment to rescue, love, and rehabilitate those whom the world might otherwise ignore or forget has made an eternal difference in the lives of countless children who were given healing and a deep, unwavering hope that was previously absent in their lives. Bombay Teen Challenge should serve as an inspiration to all of us and a model to those who might doubt how great a difference a single life can make, when it is lived in service to others.”

Akin stated, “Bombay Teen Challenge is one of the most outstanding ministries that has ever come to our attention. They are people who have by their good work shown tremendous love and concern. They have shown tremendous courage in defending the rights of children and women to be free from those who would exploit them. Bombay Teen Challenge is a very bright spot in this region of India and deserves the full support of the true friends of freedom.”

Estimates place the number of children in India who suffer from commercial sexual abuse between 300,000 and 500,000. Approximately 20,000, or 20%, of women in prostitution in Mumbai are under the age of 18. The Centre for Development and Population Activities (CEDPA) states that approximately 200 girls and women in India enter prostitution every day, with about 80% doing so against their will, and with girls between the ages of 10-12 receiving the highest price. In Mumbai, India, it is estimated that 90% of the 100,000 women in prostitution are indentured slaves. At the current rate of growth, it is estimated that one out of every five Indian girls will be a victim of sexual slavery by the year 2025.

Bombay Teen Challenge (BTC) was established in 1990 in Mumbai, (Bombay) India by K.K. Devaraj to reach the poorest of the poor who roamed the streets of Bombay. It has evolved into an organization that rescues sex slaves in the brothels of Mumbai, caring for the victims and their children, and provides a safe house for the children of sex slaves, juveniles roaming the streets, addicts and runaways.  The BTC is furthermore committed to holistically meeting the needs of victims by satisfying their physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual needs: the organization establishes  medical clinics within the red light district, distributes food to the hungry on the streets of Mumbai, and provides day schools to the street children and homes outside of Mumbai for the men, women, and children who are rescued.

 

 

Congressman Franks is serving his fourth term in the U.S. House of Representatives, and is a member of the Committee on Armed Services, Strategic Forces Subcommittee, Oversight & Investigations Subcommittee, Military Readiness Subcommittee, Committee on the Judiciary, Constitution Subcommittee, and is Ranking Member on the Subcommittee on Commercial and Administrative Law.

Chen Guangcheng Still under House Arrest

We thank all of you for your support over the last several years as we have advocated for the release of Chen Guangcheng and we thank God that he was finally released from prison, and reunited with his family in early September.

However, he remains under house arrest in terrible conditions. According to the China Aid Association, State Security has prevented anyone in his family from leaving their house even to get groceries. It is harvest time in China and they refuse to let anyone go out into the fields except Chen’s mother, who is in her late seventies. Most seriously, Chen is in very poor health and should be in the hospital, but the Chinese government was refusing to grant him basic medical care as of September 23rd.

Since September 23rd when a family friend was able to contact them, there has been a complete information blackout on Chen Guangcheng’s situation. We have no reason to believe that he has been moved from his house but with his worsening health and inability to communicate with the outside world we simply do not know.

Late in October, a dozen members of the US Congress sent a letter to the US Ambassador to China asking him to send a Embassy official to check on the conditions under which Chen Guangchen is being held. It is reassuring to know that official attention is being given to the case of this valiant defender of human rights. We hope to have more news soon and will keep you informed.

The latest press releases can be found on the China Aid Association’s website here
The Congressional letter can be found here