Beijing protestor’s name and plans revealed; Pastor arrested as Bush condemns religious violations 07/08/2008
The details of the activist who transformed Beijing hotel rooms into protest venues have been released. At a press conference in Los Angeles yesterday, representatives revealed the identity of the protestor as Pastor Eddie Perez Romero, a well respected church leader and professor, and revealed that he will surrender himself to the Chinese authorities after the Olympic Games.
As President Bush issued his strong condemnation of abuse of religious freedom and human rights, the organisers explained that the event was aimed: “To call attention to the covert state-sanctioned persecution of Christians, specifically, and all other persecuted religious faiths inclusively. Furthermore the goal of this event is to bring about dramatic and verifiable changes in state policy and attitude toward Christians and all other people of faith.”
The news comes as prominent Chinese Pastor Zhang Mingxuan, interviewed from detention by BBC's John Simpson three days ago, has been re-arrested, together with his wife and his colleague Pastor Wu. Pastor Zhang, the President of the Chinese House Church Alliance, was on his way to deliver medicine to his sick wife when he was arrested. The three are being held in a PSB office in Zhengzhou City in Henan Province.
Pastor Romero is Pastor of Hacienda Christian Fellowship in La Puente and Adjunct Professor of Philosophy at Mt. San Antonio Community College in Walnut, California. He is married with three children. Representatives described how the idea had come to Pastor Romero in July 2001 after sensing outrage as the Olympic Games were awarded to China despite its appalling human rights record. The timing of the event and his appearance for arrest are designed to avoid disruption during the Games themselves. The goals of the campaign are given as ‘Ratify and Release': the ratification of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the release of five key prisoners.
Mervyn Thomas, Chief Executive of Christian Solidarity Worldwide said: “Pastor Eddie Romero is a man driven by his passion for those suffering in China. He is an affable much loved church leader and family man as well as a respected professor. He is willing to risk all in order to provide a voice for those who have no voice in China. While CSW does not condone civil disobedience, we do share his deep concern over the serious violation of religious and other freedoms in China. China should indeed ratify the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and release those held for their religious and political beliefs.”
Notes to editors:
For CSW's original press release describing the events, providing links to the organisers' websites and additional information on religious freedom, please visit http://dynamic.csw.org.uk/article.asp?t=press&id=753
The five named prisoners are:
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