Thursday, June 18, 2009

Human rights lawyers experience Chinese government crackdown

For several years, The Voice of the Martyrs has been working with ChinaAid Association in providing legal funding through our Legal Defense Fund for Chinese Christians who are wrongfully arrested and charged with crimes because of their religious activities.  So it was with considerable concern that we learned that 21 human rights lawyers have had their licences cancelled or refused renewal because of their efforts in defending religious freedom cases.  According to ChinaAid:

“These human rights lawyers should be rewarded for their brave active efforts in promoting rule of law and advancing citizens' civil and human rights according to both the international standard and China's own Constitution, " said Bob Fu, president of ChinaAid. "Ironically, the rights of the rights attorneys are now in jeopardy."

Three leading lawyers have called ChinaAid expressing their concern and requesting ChinaAid to solicit the help of the international community. This is an unusual request from human rights attorneys who, in the past, have tried to walk a fine line within the framework of Chinese law. One lawyer told ChinaAid, ‘The Chinese government already broke the bottom line by forcing our lawyers to fight to survive to earn a living.”

ChinaAid has received reports of human rights attorneys who have been recently kidnapped, beaten, and tortured by officials for practicing normal legal defense work. 

We are asking that you please contact Chinese government authorities, protesting this action and urge that they immediately restore the licenses of the attorneys, and end their harassment and abuse.  Click here to view the names of the 21 attorneys whose licenses have been suspended or not renewed by the government. Write to:

Ambassador Lijun Lan 
Embassy of the People's Republic of China
515 St. Patrick Street, Ottawa, ON K1N 5H3
Tel: (613) 789-3434,3513,8422/762-3769 (24h)
Fax: (613) 789-1911


Ambassador Zhou Wenzhong
3505 International Place, NW, Washington, D.C. 20008
Tel: (202) 495-2000
Fax: (202) 588-9760

You can also support VOMC’s vital ministry to our imprisoned brothers and sisters through your donations to the Legal Defense Fund. To donate to this fund, designate your gift when you make a donation securely online, by mail or call us at 1.905.670.9721 (click here for contact information).

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