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Americans Held by Beijing Authorities Since Second Arrests -- Not Heard From

Contact: Katie Mahoney, 540-538-4747

 

BEIJING, August 7 /Christian Newswire/ -- On August 7, at approximately 11 AM Beijing time, three American Christians were arrested in Tiananmen Square as they attempted to speak to the press.  The three arrested are Rev. Patrick J. Mahoney, Director of the Washington DC based Christian Defense Coalition; Brandi Swindell of Boise Idaho, National Director of Generation Life; and Michael McMonagle, of Philadelphia, national Catholic pro-life activist and founder of Generation Life.

 

These three Americans were removed and detained for over an hour on August 6 after holding a banner in Tiananmen Square and speaking out against China's religious persecution, policy of forced abortion, and civil rights abuses.

 

Support staff in the US spoke with Patrick Mahoney and Brandi Swindell via cell phone as they were being arrested for the second time at Tiananmen Square.  There have been no communications between US support staff and support staff and protestors in Beijing since the second arrests.

 

Spouse of Rev. Patrick Mahoney, Katie Mahoney from Virginia said, "Since their 11 AM (Beijing time) arrests on August 7 we have been unable to contact any of the group, including my husband, or support persons for over 14 hours now; this is a bit disconcerting that no one can reach them. We assume their phones have been confiscated and all are being held until their scheduled departure from Beijing at 3 PM local time, August 8, but until we hear from them we are concerned for their safety.  The group knows no one in China so there is no one we can contact there, and given the history of the Chinese government's suppression of free speech and their civil rights abuses, we ask for everyone's prayers for their safe return. 

 

"Even more so, we pray that this oppressive government will perhaps recognize through this incident that their own citizens deserve to have the basic human rights of free speech, freedom to worship according to the dictates of their own conscience, as well as the protection of the weakest members of society -- their precious unborn children.  That is the message that my husband and the others were simply trying to send.  They are not criminals.  I say, China, the eyes of the world are upon you; if you want the respect and acceptance of other nations at this critical time during the Olympics, afford your own wonderful people the human rights they have been yearning for."

 

The American protestors are scheduled to depart Beijing's Capitol Airport (PEK) on Friday, August 8 at 3:45 PM on Continental Airlines flight 88 and arrive in Newark, New Jersey at Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) at gate C121, terminal C, at 5:30 PM Eastern time, also on Friday, August 8.

 

 

Background:

 

CNN footage of second arrests 11 AM Beijing time, Thursday, August 7

 

YouTube copy of CNN footage of second arrests

 

Reuters and private footage of first arrests 3 PM Beijing time, Wednesday, August 6

 

Previous press release from detained Americans regarding second arrest:

 

Three Americans Dragged by Police from Tiananmen Square -- Public Prayer Deemed Illegal Demonstration

 

Previous press releases from detained Americans regarding first arrest:

 

Three American Christians Released from Custody After Arrests in Beijing

 

Three American Christian Leaders to Hold a News Conference and Prayer Vigil in Tiananmen Square After Being Released from Police Custody

 

Three American Christian and Pro-life Leaders Lead Demonstration in Tiananmen Square on August 6

 

For more information or interviews contact: Katie Mahoney, 540-538-4747

 

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Update as of 7 PM Eastern Time, August 7, 2008

 

Family members have not been able to contact the protestors or their in-Beijing support staff since their last arrests, about 20 hours ago.  The US State Department tells family members the group has been deported and will arrive in Los Angeles at 6 PM Pacific Time this evening, August 7.  We believe they are on China Air flight 983.