"Chinese dissidents and activists like Hu Jia don't pick their human rights issues like items from a salad bar." -- IRD Director of Religious Liberty Programs Faith J.H. McDonnell
Contact: Loralei Coyle, 202-682-4131, 202-905-6852 cell, lcoyle@TheIRD.org; Radio Interviews: Jeff Walton, jwalton@TheIRD.org; both with the Institute on Religion and Democracy
WASHINGTON, April 8 /Christian Newswire/ -- Human rights activists in London, Paris and San Francisco are aggressively protesting the human rights violations of host nation China as the Olympic torch progresses across the world towards the games in Beijing.
Political figures like Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi have echoed media coverage featuring the Tibetan cause, but there has been a de-emphasis or failure to cover Chinese oppression against Christians and the forced abortion and sterilization of thousands of women in eastern China. According to the testimonies recorded by the Chinese human rights activist Chen Guangcheng, forced abortion takes place up until the eighth month of pregnancy and frequently includes killing babies who are born during the process. Chen was arrested for exposing the forced abortions and sterilizations and has been serving a four year, three month sentence.
On April 3, 2008, Chinese activist Hu Jia was sentenced to prison for 3 ½ years. Mainstream media focused on his role as an AIDS and environmental activist, but photos of Hu provide a bigger picture of the young Buddhist blogger. A Washington Post photo of Hu Jia shows him wearing a t-shirt with a photo of Chen, whose oppression he chronicled as it was taking place.
IRD Director of Religious Liberty Programs Faith J.H. McDonnell commented,
"Chinese activists and dissidents realize that we must confront China's Communist government on behalf of all who are being repressed and persecuted, even when Western protestors only see China's injustice towards a few choice groups.
"The forced abortion and sterilization of Chinese women, many who are arrested and brutalized by China's family planning bureau, is not a popular topic for liberal human rights activists. Perhaps it hits too close to home.
"Chinese dissidents and activists like Hu Jia don't pick their human rights issues like items from a salad bar – they fight for the freedom of all. It does not do justice to the cause of freedom when Americans and other Westerners vocally and vigorously speak out only about China's human rights violations in Tibet, but not the persecution of Christians."