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ICC Note:

Chinese Christians in the US did not make a big stir when President Hu Jintao of China visited a few weeks ago, but they are meeting today with President Bush to encourage his growing impatience with the Communist regime’s restrictions on religion.

AsiaNews/Agencies (05/11/06) – A group of Christian dissidents are set to meet US President George W. Bush today at the White House to discuss freedom of religion in China .

One member of the group, which is very critical about Beijing ’s control over religions, is Yu Jie, a Beijing-based writer and evangelical Christian, Li Baiguang and Wang Yi: the three said they wanted to return home after visiting the United States .

Bob Fu, a former unofficial Protestant pastor of Beijing , will also take part in the meeting. Fu now leads the China Aid Association, an organization based in California that monitors the plight of Christians in China .

Fu said the meeting “reflected Bush’s growing impatience with the Communist regime’s restrictions on religion, including its attempt to exclude the Vatican from control of Catholic bishops’ appointments”. He said: “This meeting sends a strong signal to Beijing that President Bush is very determined on this issue.”

Yu, who forms part of an unofficial Christian congregation, said: “ China ‘s small but growing band of politically engaged Christians might have attracted Bush’s interest. This is a new phenomenon – young supporters of democracy and human rights who have also embraced Christ.”