Financial Times: Bush wijst Wen (Jiabao) op vrijheid van godsdienst

9 December, 2003. President Bush zal vermoedelijk het punt van religieuze vrijheid bespreken met de premier van China Wen Jiabao in het witte Huis. Dit na de beslissing van een VS commissie om een reis naar China te annuleren toen deze opgedragen kreeg door de Chinese autoriteiten met niemand uit Hong Kong te spreken.

Hier volgen delen uit het artikel in de Financial Times.

De Verenigde Staten zijn met name bezorgd over de behandeling van Tibetaanse Boeddhisten, Christenen die andere dan door de Chinese Staat als erkende Christelijke stromingen volgen, Moslims in de Xinjiang regio en volgelingen van de spirituele beweging Falun Gong.

Dhr. Young zei dat Dhr. Bush dit punt zou opperen en dat de President dit zich persoonlijk aantrekt. Woordvoerder van het Witte Huis zei dat het zeer waarschijnlijk is dat Bush Wen zou wijzen op mensenrechten en religieus verwante zaken.

Vooralsnog blijft het onduidelijk waarom de Verenigde Staten door China belemmert werden in hun communicatie met Tibet en Xinxiang nadat er besloten was tot het houden van vergaderingen met Tibet en Xinjiang.

 Extra: Orginele brief van US Congressman Christopher Smith aan President Bush naar aaleding van het bezoek van premier Wen Jiabao

US Congressman Christopher Smith Requests President Bush to Call for the Release of Charles Lee during Meeting with Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao

December 8, 2003

 The Honorable George W. Bush

 President of the United States

 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW

 Washington, D.C. 20500


 Dear Mr. President:

 I am writing to request that you call for the release of Dr. Charles Lee during your meeting this week with Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao. I also request that you raise the plight of thousands other Falun Gong practitioners like him who have suffered unjust persecution at the hands of the Peoples Republic of China (PRC) during your meetings this week.

 Dr. Lee, a US citizen, has been detained in China since January 22, 2003 when he arrived at Guangzhou Airport. Reports from the U.S. consulate in Shanghai, China show that he has been mistreated, suffering mental and physical abuse during his incarceration. Dr. Lee has conducted several hunger strikes, which resulted in authorities force feeding him, to protest his imprisonment and mistreatment. There are also reports that Dr. Lee has been forced to wear hand-cuffs that cut into his flesh for excess periods of time.

 In addition, Dr. Lees Falun Gong materials have been confiscated, his hand-written documents have been destroyed, and he has been denied contact with his fiancée in the U.S. Like other Falun Gong practitioners in the PRC, he is forced to undergo so-called "re-education" (i.e., brainwashing sessions) to coerce him to abandon his Falun Gong beliefs.

 Unfortunately, Dr. Charles Lee is only one of the tens of thousands of Falun Gong practitioners being held in Chinese labor camps, prisons, and mental hospitals for practicing their spiritual beliefs (Falun Gong). The abuses suffered by Falun Gong at the hands of Chinese authorities is well documented in multiple State Department Country Reports on Human Rights Practices. These abuses include harassment, brainwashing, and torture that according to State Department estimates, have collectively resulted in the deaths of hundreds of Falun Gong practitioners.

 In addition to Dr. Lee, dozens of Falun Gong who have family in the U.S. are in detention at this very moment. One particularly disturbing case is that of Xuefei Zhou, the wife of an Atlanta resident, who remains detained in the Guangdong Womens Forced Labor Camp in Sanshui despite the fact that her three-year sentence ended in November 14, 2003. She reportedly continues to be held because of her refusal to renounce Falun Gong beliefs.

 I also wanted to voice my concerns about reports of PRCs attempt to export its policies of harassment and violence against Falun Gong practitioners here in the United States. For the past several years, a substantial number of Falun Gong living in the United States have reportedly been harassed by Chinese-ancestry persons, some or all of which may be acting as paid agents of the PRC. The FBI has investigated a possible link between the beatings of Falun Gong practitioners in Atlanta and Chicago and the Chinese consulate. Last year when Jiang Zemin met with you at your ranch in Crawford, Texas, numerous Falun Gong practitioners who had gathered to speak out in defense of the Falun Gong had their hotel reservations abruptly canceled, apparently at the request of the PRC. This summer, a group of Falun Gong practitioners were attacked while peacefully demonstrating in New York. Other Falun Gong practitioners have reported break-ins of their homes.

 Finally, we know that the Chinese authorities attempted to pressure Mary Kay, Inc., a Dallas based cosmetics firm that has approximately 200,000 employees in China, to include languages in employee professional conduct contracts discriminating against the hiring of persons who practice Falun Gong beliefs. Thankfully, when made aware of these efforts by myself and similarly minded Members of Congress, Mary Kay officials pledged to change their policy. This incident represents yet another example of the Chinese governments attempts to expand its persecution of Falun Gong.

 Thank you for considering this request. I hope that you will raise the case of Dr. Lee, Xuefei Zhou, and the plight of the Falun Gong this week in addition to your pleas for other human rights activists. I also encourage you to urge Justice Department officials to continue to investigate possible links between the harassment of Falun Gong in the U.S. and the Chinese government. Our nation must not tolerate the export of the PRCs brutal repression against freedom.


 Sincerely,

 Christopher H. Smith

 Member of Congress

 Cc: The Honorable Colin Powell

 The honorable John Ashcroft

 The Honorable Lorne Craner

 The Honorable Robert Mueller

 

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