(en) PRESS RELEASE: APEC Inter-faith Protest for Human Rights at UBC

Jim & Janice Love (jlove@direct.ca)
Sat, 22 Nov 1997 01:01:46 -0800

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PRESS RELEASE: For Immediate Release 8:00-9:30 AM, November 25, 1997 APEC Inter-faith Protest for Human Rights at UBC

Students from St. Marks, Vancouver School of Theology, Regent College, other faith groups, and interested individuals will be gathering to peacefully encourage the arriving APEC leaders to discuss human rights issues along with their economic concerns. We will be raising our concerns about the terrible human rights records and the active persecution of religious minorities in many APEC countries.

As the leaders arrive we will be on the road side with banners that say, "People Before Profits", "Stop Religious Persecution" and "People Count in an Economy".

WHEN: 8:00- 9:30 AM, Tuesday November 25th, 1997

WHERE: Corner of Chancellor Blvd & Westbrook Mall (N.E. end of UBC). On St. Mark's property just north of the college.

WHY: To seek justice for the economically and religiously oppressed in APEC countries.

WHO: All people willing to peacefully stand up for the oppressed people of the world are welcome to join this protest.

This protest is being organized by a group of students from the Vancouver School of Theology. For More Information call Jim Love (822-0019) or email jlove@direct.ca

Religious Persecution Background:

"The shocking, untold story of our time is that more Christians have died this century simply for being Christians than in the first nineteen centuries after the birth of Christ. They have been persecuted and martyred before an unknowing, indifferent world and a largely silent Christian community." - Nina Shea, In the Lion's Den, (Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1997), p. 1

_The victims were Protestants. Their crime was communicating with foreigners_

"China, Shaanxi Province: "The officers stripped three brethren naked from the waist and forced the women to stand with them. . . . The three men were beaten until they were totally covered with blood and had gaping wounds and injuries all over their bodies. As if such violent beating wasn't enough, the officers then hung them up and began to hit them rods on their backs. They did this until the three men were unconscious and barely breathing. The victims were Protestants. Their crime was communicating with foreigners." - Jeff Jacoby, "Christian Suffering is on the Rise," Boston Globe, December 4, 1996, p. A15

_Chinese House Church Leader Given Ten-Year Jail Sentence_

"Chinese Christian, Xu Yongze, was sentenced to ten years in a labor camp on September 25 in Zhengzhou, Henan province. It is reported that this is believed to be the harshest sentence given to a Christian believer since 1982. However, confirmation of the length of the sentence has yet to be officially confirmed by the Chinese government. Xu is the leader of the Born Again house church movement, which is also known as the "New Birth" movement. This movement may have more than three million members in China's central provinces. Also arrested were Xu's wife and three fellow leaders. Evangelical observers believe his sentencing to be a "clear case of religious persecution from a Chinese government increasingly intolerant of unregistered house churches in recent years". " - "Voice of the Martyrs Magazine"

_Widespread persecuction of Christians, Buddhists, and Muslims_

Widespread persecution of Christians, Tibetan Buddhists, and Muslims, exist in China and other Asian countries. Little is being done by western countries to bring these abuses to light. There are thousands of stories of religious persecution in Asia, and without efforts by countries with a free press, these atrocities will continue to happen.

We take our religious freedom for granted. We are free to choose to go to church, temple or mosque, or to choose not to go. For many religious people in Asian countries, choice of public worship is restricted or prohibited. Those who defy the law are imprisoned, tortured or killed. Churches are burned by mob's in Indonesian, while government officials turn a blind eye. Religious freedom, like free speech, is one of the foundations of a free society. We must stand up to all forms of religious oppression in Asia.

For More Information call Jim Love (822-0019) or email jlove@direct.ca

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