Kirsten Andersen

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Chen Guangcheng’s brother: government viciously beat my wife, son

Kirsten Andersen
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LINYI, Shangdong, China, December 11, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The brother of prominent human rights activist Chen Guangcheng has spoken out after his son was sentenced to more than three years in prison for defending himself against government agents who invaded his house in the middle of the night searching for his uncle. The U.S. State Department has called the process that led to his conviction “deeply flawed.” 

Chen Kegui was arrested in May, just after his famous uncle escaped his own 18-month house arrest and sought shelter at the U.S. Embassy in Beijing.  The mayor of the Chens’ village, Zhang Jian, who was responsible for Chen Guangcheng’s imprisonment, was reportedly enraged by the escape and sent a nighttime search party to raid the home of Chen’s brother, Chen Guangfu.  When Zhang’s men arrived, they began savagely beating the Chen family and ransacking the home. 

Chen Guangfu says his son, Chen Kegui, thought the family was being robbed and grabbed a kitchen knife, which he used to defend himself against his attackers. His resistance caused minor injuries to some of his assailants.  He ran away, but later turned himself in and was taken into custody, where he has remained since.  At first, he was charged with “intentional homicide,” but the charges were later reduced to “intentional injury.”

Chen Kegui was convicted and sentenced on Nov. 30 by the Yinan County People’s Court in Shandong province.  The Court found him guilty in a hastily-arranged afternoon trial from which his family was barred.  The trial was held without notifying Chen Kegui’s attorneys, who said they found out about it only after they started receiving calls about it from the media, according to Ding Xikui, one of Chen’s lawyers.  Chen Kegui was instead represented by a court-appointed lawyer.

Chen Guangfu issued a three-page statement condemning the government’s handling of the case and disputing its verdict.  He said that many of the witnesses’ statements had been taken out of context or falsified. He also said Chen Kegui’s statements and the police department’s investigation, assessments and physical evidence were fabricated by the government.

In his statement, Chen Guangfu describes in detail what happened the night of the raid at his home:

After they had kidnapped me, about 20 minutes later, Zhang Jian led a bunch of unidentified people and barged into my home without any kind of legal procedure being followed and went around at will, opening doors and going through closets, searching my whole house and seizing cash, cellphones, address book and other items.  They also started to savagely beat Chen Kegui’s mother and smashed the TV, sewing machine, furniture and the locks on many drawers. One thug who entered Kegui’s room had a wooden club and he got into an all-out brawl with him, fighting from the room to the outside, from inside the house out to the yard, hitting him repeatedly in the face, neck, arms and legs and inflicting multiple injuries.  Kegui shouted to his mother for help and she tried to protect him by putting her arms around him, but Kegui said, “Mom, I’m about to be beaten to death and you’re still holding on to me?” Then these totally inhuman thugs grabbed Kegui’s mother’s hair and started to savagely beat her.  At this dangerous juncture in which, if he didn’t defend himself, he would be beaten to death, Kegui grabbed a cleaver.  But he didn’t immediately use it.  Just then, Zhang Jian ordered the many thugs he brought with him to “Grab hold of him!” and the thugs swarmed him.  Kegui was left with no alternative but to brandish the knife in self-defense. But at the trial, they are euphemistically saying that the beating, smashing and seizing was “looking for a cellphone.”

Chen Guangcheng, who now lives in New York, told the Associated Press that he was furious about the court’s decision.

“This is a case that tramples on the rule of law,” he said.  “It is a declaration of war against fairness and justice in the world. I absolutely cannot accept this and am very, very angry.”

“There is no doubt that this is a kind of retaliation against me.”

Chen Guangcheng has long been targeted for retribution by the Communist Party for exposing brutal forced abortions and sterilizations China used to enforce its one-child policy.

The questionable circumstances surrounding Chen Kegui’s arrest and conviction have led to strong criticism from international observers.

Bob Fu, founder and president of China Aid, a human rights watchdog group, said, “The trial of Chen Kegui was nothing but an act of revenge against Chen Guangcheng through political manipulation.  It is lacking in any element of due process.  Instead of punishing Chen Kegui for acting in self defense out of fear for his life, those abusive criminal officials should be brought to justice.”

U.S. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said the conviction was a violation of Chen Kegui’s human rights.

“We are deeply disturbed about reports that Chen Kegui, the nephew of human rights advocate Chen Guangcheng, was tried and convicted in a legal proceeding in China that lacked basic due process guarantees,” Nuland said.

“He was convicted in a summary trial in which he was not fully represented by legal counsel of his choosing. He didn’t have an opportunity to present his own defense. So this was a deeply flawed legal process.”

Reps. Chris Smith and Sherrod Brown, cochairmen of the Congressional-Executive Commission on China, released a joint statement saying, “[W]e are deeply dismayed to learn that authorities have sentenced Chen Kegui, nephew of renowned legal advocate Chen Guangcheng, to more than three years in prison, in a trial marred from beginning to end by glaring procedural violations. Authorities’ treatment of this case raises serious questions about the rule of law in China.”

“We remind the Chinese government that it has not yet fulfilled its promise to investigate the illegal actions taken against Chen Guangcheng, and we reiterate our calls for a thorough investigation and prompt punishment of injustices committed against Chen and his family at the hands of officials,” said the Congressmen.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi also condemned the verdict.  She called for Chen Kegui’s release. “The decision by Chinese authorities to sentence Chen Guangcheng’s nephew, Chen Kegui, to prison for simply defending himself and his family is an affront to the rule of law and due process,” Pelosi said in a statement.  “Chen Kegui should be released from prison, immediately and unconditionally.”



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Claire Chretien Claire Chretien

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Texas AG to Target: Show me how you’ll protect women and kids from criminals

Claire Chretien Claire Chretien

AUSTIN, Texas, May 5, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – The latest backlash Target received as a result of its transgender bathroom policy was a letter from Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton asking the company to provide its safety policies to protect women and children from “those who would use the cover of Target’s restroom policy for nefarious purposes.” 

“Target, of course, is free to choose such a policy for its Texas stores,” Paxton wrote in a letter to Target CEO Brian Cornell. He noted the possibility of the Texas Legislature addressing the issue in the future, but said, “regardless of whether Texas legislates on this topic, it is possible that allowing men in women’s restrooms could lead to criminal and otherwise unwanted activity.”

“As chief lawyer and law enforcement officer for the State of Texas, I ask that you provide the full text of Target’s safety policies regarding the protection of women and children from those who would use the cover of Target’s restroom policy for nefarious purposes,” Paxton continued.

More than 1.1 million people have pledged to boycott Target over its new policy allowing men to access women’s bathrooms.  Opponents of the policy worry that it puts women and children at risk by emboldening predators, who may now freely enter women’s restrooms. 

Target’s new policy is “inclusive,” the company claims, and they say “everyone…deserves to be protected from discrimination, and treated equally.” 

“Texans statewide can no longer be silent on the issue of protecting the safety of women and children,” Texas Values President and Attorney Jonathan Saenz said in a statement Wednesday urging Texans to boycott Target.  This is the first time in its history the pro-family group has called for a boycott. 

“We need all Texans to understand that Target is using this radical change in their store policy to try convince people that our laws should be changed in this dangerous direction as well,” said Saena.  “Our goal with this boycott is for Target to change its dangerous new policy, to raise awareness of the real threats to safety that these policies bring and to help businesses and lawmakers understand the significant opposition to such measures that is growing daily… Texans all across our state must join this Boycott Target effort before someone gets hurt.”

On Tuesday a male allegedly filmed an underage girl at a Frisco, Texas, Target fitting room.  Police are searching for the man. 

There have been numerous incidents of male predators across North America accessing women’s facilities and citing transgender policies as allowing them to do so.  



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Donald Trump, the presumptive nominee for the Republican Party, represents virtually everything the Republican Party has typically defined itself over against a katz / Shutterstock.com
Albert Mohler

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Christians, America has reached a crisis point. Are you ready to take up this challenge?

Albert Mohler

May 5, 2016 (Albert Mohler) -- For nearly two and a half centuries, Americans have enjoyed the enormous privilege and responsibility of forming our own government—a privilege rarely experienced throughout most of human history. For most of history, humanity has struggled with the question of how to respond to a government that was essentially forced upon them. But Americans have often struggled with a very different reality; how do we rightly respond to the government that we choose? 

To put all of this in historical perspective, the Framers of the American experiment understood that a representative democracy built on the principle of limited government would require certain virtues of its citizens. These would include a restraint of passions and an upholding of traditional moral virtues, without which democracy would not be possible. As the idea of limited government implies, the citizenry would be required to carry out the social responsibilities of the community without the intrusion of government and, thus, citizens would be expected to have the moral integrity necessary for such an arrangement. The Framers of the American Republic also agreed that it would be impossible to have a representative democracy and a limited government if the people did not elect leaders who embodied the virtues of the citizenry while also respecting and protecting society’s pre-political institutions: marriage and family, the church, and the local community.

Thus, the idea of a limited government requires that society uphold and pursue the health of its most basic institutions. When a civil society is weak, government becomes strong. When the family breaks down, government grows stronger. When the essential institutions of society are no longer respected, government demands that respect for itself. That is a recipe for tyranny.

Much of this was essentially affirmed until the early decades of the 20th century when progressivists began promoting an agenda that fundamentally redefined the role of the federal government in public life. By the middle of the 20th century, the Democratic Party had essentially embraced this progressivist agenda, becoming committed to an increasingly powerful government—a government whose powers exceeded those enumerated in the Constitution. At the same time, the Democratic Party also began advocating for a basic redefinition of the morality that shaped the common culture. By and large, however, the Republican Party continued to maintain a commitment to the vision of America’s founders, advocating for a traditional understanding of morality while also upholding the principle of limited government.

By the 1980s, the two parties represented two very different worldviews and two very different visions of American government. For decades, each party has acted rather predictably and in ways that accord with their fundamental principles. All of that, however, has now changed.

The 2016 presidential campaign has developed in an entirely unpredictable manner and, in many respects, represents a crisis in American democracy. This crisis is not limited to either party. Bernie Sanders, the Independent senator from Vermont, has won several stunning victories in the primary season over presumed Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. While it is still extremely likely that Clinton will become the Democratic nominee, Sanders support among voters represents a populist flirtation with Democratic Socialism. This pattern is something few Democrats could have imagined just one year ago. What this foray into Democratic Socialism represents, then, is a radical adjustment of the Democratic Party’s basic economic principles. Thus, even if Hillary Clinton becomes the nominee, the process will likely drag her even further to the left, eventually redefining the Democratic Party before our very eyes.

But if it is remarkable to see what is happening in the Democratic Party, it is absolutely shocking to see what is happening among Republicans. Traditionally, the Republican Party has established its reputation by standing for the principles advocated by the American Founders—limited government upheld by the health of society’s primary institutions such as marriage, family, and community. Yet Donald Trump, the presumptive nominee for the Republican Party, represents virtually everything the Republican Party has typically defined itself over against. Clearly, both political parties are now redefining themselves. What is not clear is where each party will ultimately end up. What is also not clear is whether the American experiment can survive such radical political change.

As already noted, the American experiment in limited government requires that the citizenry and those who hold public office honor certain moral virtues and respect the institutions that are crucial for a society to rightly function. Yet, we now find ourselves in a situation where the three leading candidates for president show little to no respect for such institutions in their articulations of public policy.

This fundamental redefinition of the American political landscape requires Christians to think carefully about their political responsibility. Make no mistake; we cannot avoid that responsibility. Even refusing to vote is itself a vote because it privileges those who do vote and increases the value of each ballot. In truth, we bear a political responsibility that cannot be dismissed or delegated to others. Every Christian must be ready to responsibly steward his or her vote at the polls.

To put the matter bluntly, we are now confronted with the reality that, in November, Hillary Clinton will likely be the Democratic nominee and Donald Trump the Republican nominee. This poses a significant problem for many Christians who believe they cannot, in good conscience, vote for either candidate. As a result, Christians are going to need a lot of careful political reflection in order to steward their vote and their political responsibility in this election cycle.

Headlines from around the world tell us that other representative democracies are at a similar moment of redefinition. Political turmoil now marks the United Kingdom and also nations like France and other key American allies. Perhaps democracy itself is now facing a crucial hour of decision and a crucial season of testing. It is no exaggeration to say that democracy is being tested around the world; it is certainly being tested here at home. Yet if this is a moment of testing for democracy, it is also a crucial moment for Christian witness. This election cycle is going to be a particular test for American Christians—and we are about to find out if Christians are up to this challenge.

Reprinted with permission from Albert Mohler.



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‘Sick and twisted’: Scientists keep embryos alive outside womb up to 13 days for experimentation

Ben Johnson Ben Johnson Follow Ben

May 5, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – Two teams of scientists have announced that they have been able to keep human embryos alive outside the womb for 13 days for the purpose of conducting scientific experiments. Some call the announcement the onset of a “Brave New World,” while others are petitioning lawmakers to lift sanctions that would keep scientists from experimenting on newly conceived babies even longer.

Researchers from Cambridge University, King's College, and Rockefeller University said in two separate reports that they stopped at 13 days only to avoid violating an internationally accepted law. At least 12 nations restrict the amount of time a newly conceived child may be kept alive in a laboratory to 14 days, the point at which scientists believe “individuality” begins.

The newest development allows scientists to observe newly conceived human beings after the point at which implantation in the womb would have occurred.

Professor Magdalena Zernicka-Goetz, one of the studies' lead researchers, said her team's breakthrough could advance embryonic stem cell research and “can improve IVF success.”

Some scientists have called on the international community to extend the amount of time such experimentation can take place.

“If restrictions such as the 14-day rule are viewed as moral truths, such cynicism would be warranted,” three experts – Insoo Hyun, Amy Wilkerson, and Josephine Johnston – wrote in a commentary published yesterday in Nature magazine. “But when they are understood to be tools designed to strike a balance between enabling research and maintaining public trust, it becomes clear that, as circumstances and attitudes evolve, limits can be legitimately recalibrated.”

Pro-life experts said the experimentation destroys human life and could lead to grave ethical dilemmas by extending the research.

“No human being should be used for lethal experimentation, no matter their age or stage of development,” said Dr. David Prentice, a professor of molecular genetics and an Advisory Board Member for the Midwest Stem Cell Therapy Center. “The 14-day rule is itself arbitrary, and does not assuage those who believe life begins at the moment of sperm-egg fusion. Moreover, allowing experiments on human embryos beyond 14 days post-fertilization risks the lives of untold more human beings, because it further encourages creation and destruction for research purposes.”

Kristan Hawkins, president of Students for Life of America, called the experimentation “sick and twisted.”

“Science has undeniably proven that a new human life, with unrepeatable DNA, begins at conception,” she said. “There is no reason for experimentation on that human life and science itself should not be heralding thae fact that a tiny human being can survive now for two weeks outside of the womb, all for the sole purpose of experimentation.”

Dr. Prentice noted that embryonic stem cell research “has yielded no benefit thus far,” leading even its most vocal advocates, such as Michael J. Fox, to admit it has not lived up to its promise.

“If this research does not stop at 14 days, where does it stop?” asked Prentice. “This is a risky step which could encourage further eugenic attitudes and actions.”

Dr. Prentice encouraged Congress “to have a full and open debate on the issue of human embryo research before the research community moves further without oversight.”



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