Interestingly, back in February the Christian Newswire reported that there were five members of the U.S. congress and several religious leaders who joined forces to challenge Obama to take action in relation to China’s human rights abuses and oppression of Christians. The push came ahead of Obama’s closed door meetings with China’s Vice President, Xi Jinping. The members of Congress and religious leaders were pressing for the release of six imprisoned Chinese human rights and political activists. Xi is anticipated to become China’s president and Communist Party chief in 2013.Leaders of three of the nation's largest religious groups told the President that “a private, clear and determined pledge by you ... to achieve the release [of the six] ... could make clear to Vice President Xi that such action on his part would generate much goodwill with your administration and significantly advance his interests and those of his government.”
The seven-page letter was from Dr. Richard Land, president of The Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention; Leith Anderson, president of the National Association of Evangelicals; and Rabbi David Saperstein, director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism. It included detailed biographies of the six prisoners of conscience: human rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng; blind legal activist Chen Guangcheng; longtime political dissident Liu Xianbin; former judge Guo Quan; Uyghur house church leader Alimujiang, and woman pastor Yang Rongli.
The five leading members of Congress who sent the President a similar letter were: Frank Wolf (R-Va.); Joe Pitts (R-Pa.); John Carter (R-Tex.); Chris Smith (R-NJ) and Robert Aderholt (R-Ala.).The letter to Obama insisted that “'quiet diplomacy' ... has not yielded results. Arguably it has only emboldened the oppressors," the congressmen closed their three-page letter saying that "many in China ... long for America to champion their plight.”
As of this writing, there hasn’t been any new information of which Faith and Politics Voice has been made aware regarding the above mentioned six prisoners of conscience and Obama’s efforts to respond.
For more information about China Aid, please visit http://www.chinaaid.org/