An essay worth 3.5 years in prison

China just sentenced human rights activist Hu Jia to 3 1/2 years in prison for writing this article. Here are some excerpts:

China has consistently persecuted human rights activists, political dissidents and freelance writers and journalists. The blind activist Chen Guangcheng, recipient of the 2007 Ramon Magsaysay Award and named in 2006 by Time Magazine as one of the most influential 100 people shaping our world, is still serving his sentence of four years and three months for exposing the truth of forced abortion and sterilization. . . .

China still practices literary inquisition and holds the world record for detaining journalists and writers, as many as several hundred since 1989, according to incomplete statistics. As of this writing, 35 Chinese journalists and 51 writers are still in prison. Over 90 percent were arrested or tried after Beijing’s successful bid for the Olympics in July 2001. For example, Shi Tao, a journalist and a poet, was sentenced to ten years in prison because of an e-mail sent to an overseas website. . . .

Religious freedom is still under repression. In 2005, a Beijing pastor, Cai Zhuohua, was sentenced to three years for printing Bibles. Zhou Heng, a house church pastor in Xinjiang, was charged with running an “illegal operation” for receiving dozens of boxes of Bibles. From April to June 2007, China expelled over 100 suspected U.S., South Korean, Canadian, Australian, and other missionaries. Among them were humanitarian workers and language educators who had been teaching English in China for 15 years. During this so-called Typhoon 5 campaign, authorities took aim at missionary activities so as to prevent their recurrence during the Olympics.. . .

China has the world’s largest secret police system, the Ministry of National Security (guo an) and the Internal Security Bureau (guo bao) of the Ministry of Public Security, which exercise power beyond the law. They can easily tap telephones, follow citizens, place them under house arrest, detain them and impose torture. . . .

Chinese citizens have no right to elect state leaders, local government officials or representatives. In fact, there has never been free exercise of election rights in township-level elections. . . .

Please be aware that the Olympic Games will be held in a country where there are no elections, no freedom of religion, no independent courts, no independent trade unions; where demonstrations and strikes are prohibited; where torture and discrimination are supported by a sophisticated system of secret police; where the government encourages the violation of human rights and dignity, and is not willing to undertake any of its international obligations.

Please consider whether the Olympic Games should coexist with religious persecution[,] labor camps, modern slavery, identity discrimination, secret police and crimes against humanity.

Meanwhile, the Olympic torch has made it, after going out several times due to protests along the way, to the United States.

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • Susan aka organshoes

    Talk about shedding light into dark places: if only the presence of the Olympic Show–I mean Games–would shed light to the world about the truth of China.
    But I imagine most media will honor the constraints put upon it in covering the Games, etc., while continuing to accuse America of being repressive, etc.
    Anyways, let’s thank the Post for printing the open letter.

  • Susan aka organshoes

    Talk about shedding light into dark places: if only the presence of the Olympic Show–I mean Games–would shed light to the world about the truth of China.
    But I imagine most media will honor the constraints put upon it in covering the Games, etc., while continuing to accuse America of being repressive, etc.
    Anyways, let’s thank the Post for printing the open letter.

  • Bryan Lindemood

    Too bad more people did not protest the China bid to the olympics in 2001. Some hope that the olympics will bring the world to china and therefore some sanity. I don’t know about that. I am glad for this letter, too, but the protests today seem too late and ring so hollow.

  • Bryan Lindemood

    Too bad more people did not protest the China bid to the olympics in 2001. Some hope that the olympics will bring the world to china and therefore some sanity. I don’t know about that. I am glad for this letter, too, but the protests today seem too late and ring so hollow.

  • Susan aka organshoes

    So far, coverage of the protests make like it’s the torch being protested.
    At best, it looks like it’s all about Tibet.
    Geesh! So, now I have to boycott KFUO AND Coca-Cola?

  • Susan aka organshoes

    So far, coverage of the protests make like it’s the torch being protested.
    At best, it looks like it’s all about Tibet.
    Geesh! So, now I have to boycott KFUO AND Coca-Cola?

  • http://takingthoughtscaptive.wordpress.com T.C.

    I’m with Susan, so far it’s all about Free Tibet and other orgs that are left enough to not be credible to most of us (or at least not on our radars). This was a terribly interesting read, and I guess if we had half the principle (as a nation) we had in 1980 we’d boycott…but there’s way too much money involved, I’m sure.

  • http://takingthoughtscaptive.wordpress.com T.C.

    I’m with Susan, so far it’s all about Free Tibet and other orgs that are left enough to not be credible to most of us (or at least not on our radars). This was a terribly interesting read, and I guess if we had half the principle (as a nation) we had in 1980 we’d boycott…but there’s way too much money involved, I’m sure.

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  • http://www.hempelstudios.com Sarah in Maryland

    it seems that the US treats China differently than other countries that commit the same human rights atrocities. We get loads of cheap crap from them and to boycott stuff from China until they clean up their act would probably cause our economy to come to a complete halt. Nonetheless, we try to not buy things from China if we can. It seems near impossible, but if regular citizens keep at it more and more companys who aren’t in China will thrive.

  • http://www.hempelstudios.com Sarah in Maryland

    it seems that the US treats China differently than other countries that commit the same human rights atrocities. We get loads of cheap crap from them and to boycott stuff from China until they clean up their act would probably cause our economy to come to a complete halt. Nonetheless, we try to not buy things from China if we can. It seems near impossible, but if regular citizens keep at it more and more companys who aren’t in China will thrive.

  • http://www.jkjonesthinks.blogspot.com J. K. Jones

    Thanks for the post. I linked to it.

  • http://www.jkjonesthinks.blogspot.com J. K. Jones

    Thanks for the post. I linked to it.


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