Human Rights Group Trying to Save Imprisoned Chinese Christian as Health Fails

ICC Note: Mr. Peng Ming, a Christian and political activist, has been behind bars in China since 2004 after being kidnapped by Chinese agents in Burma. ChinaAid, a rights group working on obtaining Ming’s release, says that his health has been failing and the Chinese government has blocked medical care for Ming with the intention of allowing him to die in prison. It is not uncommon to find Christians among some of the most active human rights and political campaigners in China. Many speak out for the rights of religious and political minorities at great risk to their personal safety and freedom.

05/07/2013 China (ChinaAid) – ChinaAid has redoubled its efforts in championing the case of Christian prisoner of conscience Peng Ming, making the rounds of the nation’s capital with Peng’s family to draw attention to his illegal conviction and failing health behind bars.

The recent effort was part of ChinaAid’s ongoing mission to push for freedom of religion and promote progress in establishing the rule of law in China and to advocate on behalf of all the prisoners of conscience in China’s prisons.

Peng was first the founder of the China Development Federation, and later, in the United States, he founded the China Federalist Party; he has long been committed to the efforts to end one-party dictatorship in China and to realize free and democratic universal suffrage. Like Wang Bingzhang, the prominent Christian and dissident Peng Ming was secretly lured by special agents of the Chinese Communist government to Myanmar, where he was kidnapped on May 28, 2004 and transferred to China. On October 12, 2005, a Chinese Communist court in Wuhan, Hubei province convicted Peng of “forming and leading a terrorist organization” and sentenced him to life imprisonment, with deprivation of his political rights for life. The conviction of Peng by the Chinese authorities was totally illegal and the sentence violated Article 6 of the Chinese Criminal Law regarding “territorial jurisdiction.”

After he was sentenced, Peng was immediately thrown into Han Yang Prison in Hubei to serve his sentence. In 2011, he was transferred to Xian Ning, where he remains today. Peng’s sentence of life imprisonment has not been changed to a fixed-term imprisonment, and to date, he has already been in prison for nine years since he was illegally arrested and sentenced. Although Peng, a Christian, remains committed to regular prayer, and also writes and exercises to stay healthy, he has developed severe heart disease and some other illnesses as a result of torture, and his health is getting worse and worse. Manuscripts of several books that he has written have also been confiscated. The Chinese Communist authorities have also deprived Peng’s basic rights to see doctors and hire lawyers. All of Peng’s relatives living overseas, including his parents, sister and children, have tried to apply for a visa to visit him in the prison, but all were rejected or they were forced back when transferring planes in Shanghai. It is easy to see that when the Chinese Communist authorities use terrorist methods against innocent political prisoners of conscience like Wang Bingzhang and Peng Ming, their true motive is to let them die eventually in prison.

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