Bold stunt underlines dire lack of freedoms in China before the Olympics  06/08/2008

In a bid to draw attention to the dire state of human rights in China, an activist has transformed two hotel rooms in Beijing, painting slogans about human rights and depicting the torture that continues to take place in China.

Video footage of the redecoration of the rooms, with an explanation of the process and the reasons has been released and can be seen at http://exodus8one.org/blog/.

The action is designed to highlight the severe suffering that Chinese people still endure at the hands of the Chinese authorities. While China prepares to host the world at the Olympic Games she continues to flout the most basic human rights laws she is bound by within the international community. 

The two calls for action accompanying the activism are the ratification of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the release of five prisoners representing five key areas of concern: 

Pastor Zhang Rongliang – house church Christian
Xu Na -Falun Gong practitioner
Hu Jia - internet activist (Buddhist)
Shi Tao - journalist
Guo Feixiong - self trained ‘barefoot' lawyer

Mervyn Thomas, Chief Executive of CSW, said: “The twin message of ratifying the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and releasing prisoners is right on track and a message China can ill-afford to ignore. Human rights and religious freedom have deteriorated in the run-up to the Olympics. China has chosen to deliberately flout international law while hosting such a prestigious international event. Despite promises to improve its human rights record, the opposite has happened. This event occurs as US President George Bush prepares to deliver an address tomorrow, the same day that he arrives in Beijing, expressing deep concerns about human rights and religious freedom. The world is watching. China must understand that if she wants to be an international player she must play by international rules.”

Notes to editors:

Information released by the organizers can be seen at
http://cts.vresp.com/c/?Exodus8One/2dc5f6a5fd/8ed156d185/257a6a9ee9
http://cts.vresp.com/c/?Exodus8One/2dc5f6a5fd/8ed156d185/7a0d675caf

The progress of the project can be followed at
http://cts.vresp.com/c/?Exodus8One/2dc5f6a5fd/8ed156d185/0aff397e4d

Information about the five prisoners is provided at
http://www.persecutionandtheolympics.com/secureblog/?p=50#more-50

A press conference will be held providing details of the events, explaining their significance, and taking questions at 10:00 a.m. Los Angeles time at Hacienda Christian Fellowship, 1358 N. Hacienda Blvd, La Puente, California, 91744 - Further details can be obtained via e-mail: Cervantesteam@aol.com.

Amongst the concerns, Pastor Zhang Rongliang's seven and a half year sentence highlights the issue of the repression of China's unregistered Protestant church (house church). Further information on the situation of the Church in China and the crackdown on the church in the run up to the Olympics can be found at in CSW's report ‘China: Persecution of Protestant Christians in the approach to the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games' at http://dynamic.csw.org.uk/article.asp?t=report&id=95&rnd=0.5403711  

China still refuses to allow freedom to choose one's own religion, forcing all Protestant Christians to belong to the official Three Self Patriotic Movement, thus making the vast majority of Christians in China illegal. Amongst the forms of mistreatment meted out to Christians are detention, torture, humiliating treatment, re-education through labour, as well as confiscation and destruction of property, fines and other forms of punishment. The run up to the Olympics has been accompanied by a disturbing increase in persecution of unregistered Christians, including the largest mass sentencing of house church leaders in 25 years; a level of expulsion of foreign Christians not seen since the 1950s; targeted repression of the Chinese House Church Alliance: restrictions on religious believers renting properties and attending the Games; and persecution and church raids in Beijing.

Details of Pastor Zhang's case can be found in CSW's report above at page 9. 

Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) is a human rights organisation which specialises in religious freedom, works on behalf of those persecuted for their Christian beliefs and promotes religious liberty for all.

For more information, please call 0845 456 5464, email admin@csw.org.uk or visit www.csw.org.uk