USCIRF Commissioner Calls for Release of Chinese Christian

08/08/2019 China (International Christian Concern) – On August 5, U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCRIF) Commissioner Gary Bauer, called for the release of an imprisoned underground church elder, democracy activist, and religious freedom advocate Hu Shigen.

Hu disappeared on July 10, 2015 as part of a crackdown on democracy activists and religious freedom advocates. On August 3, 2016, Hu was sentenced to more than seven years in prison, accused of subverting state power.

At the time of his indictment, the authorities made clear that Hu’s religious activities and support for Western ideals had contributed to his harsh sentence.

“China may strive to be a leading economic power, but the world cannot forget the government’s deplorable treatment of religious believers and peaceful advocates within its borders. Hu Shigen simply called on the Chinese government to let Christians practice their religious beliefs without interference. It’s time for China to drop the unjust charges against Hu and to release him,” Bauer said in a statement.

Hu has already served a 16-year prison term for bringing people’s attention to the government’s human rights abuse committed during Tiananmen Square protests in 1989. He was also leading several underground churches as an elder.

His health has deteriorated after he was imprisoned. Despite multiple attempts by his family to apply for medical parole, local government officials deliberately delayed the process or passed the buck to each other.

While Hu is allowed to read certain books or watch certain TV channels in prison, he is not allowed to read Bible.

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