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ICC Note: Despite drastic improvements in the way Christians and other religious minorities are treated in China over the past thirty years, conditions remain alarmingly difficult thanks to a huge number of restrictions on religious freedom and ongoing efforts to control the growth of Christianity. ICC estimates that many hundreds, if not thousands, of Christians remain interned in labor prisons for refusing to join the government controlled “Three-Self Church.” In this Press Release, Congressman Frank Wolf of Virginia questions whether the annual U.S. – China human rights dialogue currently being conducted will actually improve the life of a single Chinese individual, or if it is mere rhetoric.  
7/31/2013 China (Congressman Wolf) – Rep. Frank Wolf (R-VA), co-chairman of the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission and longtime leader on the issue of international human rights and religious freedom, today criticized the Obama Administration’s approach toward China, saying that too often, high-level bilateral discussions – and even the annual human rights dialogue – are “cloaked in secrecy” and fail to produce discernible improvements in the deplorable human rights situation in China.
In a statement, which was submitted to the Congressional Record today, Wolf urged the administration to publicly prioritize human rights and religious freedom as part of its wider foreign policy agenda.
The dialogue, which is being held today and tomorrow in China, began after the brutal Tiananmen Square crackdown in 1989, where Chinese government officials employed martial law during peaceful student-led protests in Beijing.
Wolf said that according to Human Rights Watch, past human rights dialogues with China “have been largely a rhetorical shell, lacking in accountability, transparency, and clear benchmarks for progress.”
In his statement, Wolf talked at length about the persecution of people of faith, the repression of political dissent and the brutal labor camps employed by the government.
He also described the “Great Firewall” in China, which censors so-called “offensive” speech on the Internet.
“It is estimated that China employs between 30,000 and 50,000 special Internet police,” he said. “As far back as 2008, Amnesty International rightly noted that ‘In China, the Internet has become a new frontier in the fight for human rights.’ And yet the Obama Administration has paid mere lip-service to Internet freedom, boasting in speeches of the priority it places on the issue when in fact, nearly all of the money they’ve spent on Internet circumvention has been as a result of congressionally mandated funding targeting closed societies, and the State Department has actually sought to redirect the funding toward less threatening research initiatives as opposed to actual hard-hitting circumvention, which poses a real threat to authoritarian regimes.”
“Too often, it seems that this administration’s posture vis-à-vis human rights is one of caution to the point of silence,” he added. “Silence in the face of China’s abysmal human rights record is indefensible.”
Wolf concluded his statement with a warning: “Many have predicted that the 21st century will be the Chinese century, but absent dramatic reform at the heart of the Chinese government, such Chinese ascendency is deeply problematic, and America must be clear-eyed about its implications. This administration has been anything but.”

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