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2/18/11 China (ChinaAid) – On February 16, 2011, Congressman Joe Pitts from Pennsylvania gave a one-minute speech on the House Floor, calling for action to free Dr. Fan Yafeng (Beijing legal scholar and house church leader) from house arrest.

Congressman Pitts stated that the Chinese government’s treatment of Dr. Fan included “systematic interrogation, search and seizure, and torture,” and that “He is currently under house arrest, guarded by police in Beijing and cut off from the outside world.”

Congressman Pitts said, “I call upon the State Department and our embassy in Beijing to reach out to Dr. Yafeng to verify his condition and apply pressure on the Chinese government to ensure his release.”

The British Embassy in Beijing spoke with Dr. Fan Wednesday morning, February 16, and expressed the British Government’s continued concern and interest in his case and his welfare.

In 2004, Dr. Fan Yafeng first invented the theoretic model of “Citizen Rights Legal Defense” in China and thereby started the movement to use the legal system to defend civil rights, including religious freedom, human rights, the rule of law, and democracy in China.

Dr. Fan was named one of Asia Newsweek’s “Persons of the Year in Asia” in 2005.  He was formerly the Senior Researcher at the Institute of Studies on Law of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS), but was laid off in 2009 for political reasons.  Dr. Fan was awarded the 2009 John Leland Religious Liberty Award by the Southern Baptist Convention.

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