Written by USCIRF
July 14, 2008
China: USCIRF Calls on President Bush to Make China Trip a Strong Public Statement in Defense of Religious Freedom and Human Rights
WASHINGTON—The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom urges President Bush to use his upcoming visit to China to seek visits with prominent human rights defenders and religious leaders and to make a strong public statement about the importance of religious freedom and human rights in U.S.-China relations.
a) announcing an end to all "patriotic education" programs for Tibetan monks and nuns;
b) permitting a visit by independent, impartial experts to Geoden Choekyi Nyima, the Dalai Lama's chosen Panchen Lama, and repealing new laws requiring government approval of all lamas;
c) affirming that minors should be able to engage in religious education at any age;
d) announcing that devotion to the Dalai Lama, including the display and veneration of his picture, is not a criminal act;
e) unconditionally releasing all detained monks and nuns and providing an accounting for all persons taken into custody, killed or otherwise harmed during the protests this past spring; and
f) continuing direct negotiations between the Dalai Lama and the Chinese government;
3) seeking the immediate release of members of Rebiya Kadeer's family and an end to harassment of peaceful Uighur Muslim adherents;
4) seeking the release of the estimated 33 "underground" Catholic Bishops and priests, including Bishop Su Zhimin;
5) meeting with leaders of an unregistered group or congregation and calling for an announcement that independent Protestants can legally register separately from government-approved Protestant organizations;
6) urging the Chinese government, as the Sudanese government's major oil partner and arms supplier, to use its considerable leverage to end genocide and protect religious freedom in Sudan; and
7) urging the protection of North Korean refugees and calling for an end to forced repatriation.
"We know President Bush has a strong, personal commitment to the issue of religious freedom in China. We hope he will convey his convictions in tangible ways, not only to China's leaders, but to its people," Gaer said.
The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom was created by the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998 to monitor the status of freedom of thought, conscience, and religion or belief abroad, as defined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and related international instruments, and to give independent policy recommendations to the President, Secretary of State, and Congress. Visit our Web site at www.uscirf.gov