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Blind Chinese forced abortion opponent Chen Guangcheng seriously ill: report

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Updated at 6:26 p.m. EST to include statements from Bob Fu and Reggie Littlejohn, as well as add the video.

LINYI, CHINA, February 20, 2012, (LifeSiteNews.com) – The blind human rights activist who exposed China’s brutal one-child policy is facing a “very, very life-and-death situation,” Xiqiu “Bob” Fu of the human rights group ChinaAid told LifeSiteNews.com. Both Chen and his wife have grown seriously ill under intense government persecution, Reggie Littlejohn of Women’s Rights Without Frontiers told LifeSiteNews.

“The family situation is very worrisome,” Fu said, “and we are very outraged by the worsening treatment by the Chinese government. We demand an immediate explanation and the release of this family from the illegal detention.”

According to Littlejohn, eyewitnesses who saw Chen Guangcheng last month say, “He looked pale and moved unsteadily. Only a few steps out of the door he fainted and fell to the ground.” Chinese Human Rights Defenders (CHRD) also received “credible reports” that his wife, Yuan Weijing, appeared “skinny,” was “leaning against an interior wall,” and it seemed “it was difficult for her to move her waist.”

The regime has banned all contact between Chen’s mother, who is in her eighties and suffering from severe bronchitis, with family outside the compound. She had supplied the couple’s food.

The elderly mother was last seen “walking on a crutch. She has not left the home” since her other son’s death, Reggie Littlejohn told LifeSiteNews.com. “She used to go get the food,” Littlejohn added.

“It is hard to imagine how the family is surviving,” an eyewitness told CHRD.

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Chen was imprisoned for more than four years for revealing the Chinese government performed 130,000 forced abortions and involuntary sterilizations in his county alone in 2005 while carrying out its oppressive population control policies. In 2010, authorities converted an entire village in Shandong Province into a heavily monitored prison camp, where Chen has remained under house arrest since leaving prison.

Government surveillance and harassment have intensified since January 23, Chinese New Year, when Chen’s older brother died of stomach cancer, according to WRWF. Seven surveillance cameras watch the house at all times; 20 guards surround the home; and more than 200 additional personnel were dispatched to prevent the family from visiting his grave.

Littlejohn told LifeSiteNews that the Chinese government set up vans that his neighbors have to pass through, “like passing through security to get to their own homes.”

Guards have more completely isolated the couple’s six-year-old daughter, Chen Kesi, from society, as well, CHRD has discovered. She is escorted to school each day by four or five guards, who stand sentry at the schoolhouse door. Additional guards are stationed at stores along her route to keep villagers from communicating with her. 

“She was supposed to be at school but was not seen the first day of school,” Fu told LifeSiteNews.com. Littlejohn said the girl has since returned to school under heavy guard.

The government also barred the couple’s 11-year-old son, Chen Kerui – who is staying with his maternal grandparents – from visiting to celebrate Chinese New Year. The boy had previously cut himself in hopes his parents could visit him in the hospital. 

“The Chinese Communist Party’s continuing brutality towards a poor, blind, sick and innocent man is cowardly and depraved,” said Reggie Littlejohn, president of Women’s Rights Without Frontiers. “Chen Guangcheng is a hero, for China and for the world – a man of towering courage and valiant endurance. Women’s Rights Without Frontiers demands his unconditional release and immediate medical treatment.”

To date, all efforts to assist the couple have been suppressed by Beijing, despite an international backlash involving everyone from the U.S. State Department and Amnesty International to Batman star Christian Bale.

The State Department urged China to release Chen in 2006.

CHRD reported last February that Chen and his wife were “beaten senseless” and denied medical treatment after a disgruntled government worker smuggled out a videotape in which Chen described the elaborate surveillance he must now endure. Guards repeated the treatment last July, after a storm briefly allowed Chen to make phone calls without government surveillance. That beating lasted four hours.

Guangcheng’s case has the strong support of Congressman Christopher Smith, R-NJ, who attempted to meet the dissident late last year. Smith also passed an amendment last July supporting the lawyer and activist. 

Batman star Christian Bale drew international attention to the case when he was videotaped being roughed up as he attempted to visit Guangcheng last year.

Last week, CHRD reported that the Chinese government shut down a microblog supporting Guangcheng for the 40th time.

Since Guangcheng’s persecution has worsened, American leaders have stepped up their efforts to secure his release.

Five Republican Congressmen—Christopher Smith of New Jersey, Frank Wolf of Virginia, Joe Pitts of Pennsylvania, John Carter of Texas, and Robert Aderholt of Alaska—wrote a letter to President Obama asking him to press for the “immediate and unconditional release” of Chen and five other prisoners of conscience: Gao Zhisheng, dissident Liu Xianbin, Guo Quan, Alimujiang Yimiti, and Yang Rongli.

The letter, dated February 10, says, “For years the international community has been promised that with China’s ascension to the World Trade Organization or with Beijing’s hosting of the Olympics, we would see tangible reforms and a growing space for dissent as is befitting a nation of growing prominence on the world stage. These promises have been empty, and now these words ring hollow.”

“Arguably, it has only emboldened the oppressors,” they wrote.

The president received another letter the following Monday asking for the release of the same six leaders. It was signed by religious leaders Dr. Richard Land, president of The Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention; Leith Anderson, president of the National Association of Evangelicals; and Rabbi David Saperstein, director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism.

Last Friday, Pastor Eddie Romero of Los Angeles was arrested for staging a one-man protest outside a hotel where Chinese vice president Xi Jinping was staying. Hudson Institute senior fellow Michael Horowitz held a similar vigil before the White House.

“This is I think the greatness of the American people and the American heart and spirit,” Bob Fu told LifeSiteNews.com, praising “the bold and respectful actions from Mr. Horowitz and Pastor Romero, who submitted themselves to arrest in order to break the silence and raise awareness for those prisoners of conscience, including Mr. Chen Guancheng and his family.”

Littlejohn said thousands more Americans have signed a petition she drew up to free Chen Guangcheng. It currently has “more than 8,000 signatures, but we’d like to have 80,000 signatures,” she told LifeSiteNews. She plans to present the petition to the Chinese embassy and to send a copy to the president of China.

“We still want to point out that President Obama so far has not spoken out publicly,” Bob Fu told LifeSiteNews.com, “and we sincerely urge him to break the silence and speak up for those persecuted for their faith and their courageous human rights defending actions.”

“We should urge President Obama to speak up publicly for Mr. Chen and his wife’s worsening situation,” Fu said. 

Contact information:
Chinese Embassy in the USA
3505 International Place, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20008
Tel: (202) 495-2266  
Fax: (202) 495-2138
Email: [email protected]

White House Switchboard
202-456-1414
or e-mail at: http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact/submit-questions-and-comments


Chinese Embassy in Canada
515 St. Patrick Street, Ottawa, Ont. K1N 5H3
Tel: 613-7893434
Fax: 613-7891911
E-mail: [email protected]

Chinese Embassy in Ireland
40 AILESBURY ROAD, DUBLIN 4, IRELAND
Tel: 00353-1-2691707
FAX:00353-1-2839938
E-mail: [email protected]

Chinese Embassy in the UK
49 Portland Place , London W1B 1JL
Tel:020-72994074
Fax:020-76362981
Email: [email protected]

 

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Indiana Gov. Mike Pence signs the state's Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
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Indiana faces backlash as it becomes 20th state to protect religious liberty

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By Ben Johnson

INDIANAPOLIS, IN, March 27, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) – On Thursday, Indiana became the 20th state to prevent the government from forcing people of faith to violate their religious beliefs in business or the public square.

Gov. Mike Pence signed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (SB 101) into law, saying the freedom of religion is a preeminent American value.

“The Constitution of the United States and the Indiana Constitution both provide strong recognition of the freedom of religion, but today, many people of faith feel their religious liberty is under attack by government action,” Pence said.

Gov. Pence, a possible dark horse candidate for president in 2016, cited court cases brought by religious organizations and employers, including Catholic universities, against the HHS mandate. “One need look no further than the recent litigation concerning the Affordable Care Act. A private business and our own University of Notre Dame had to file lawsuits challenging provisions that required them to offer insurance coverage in violation of their religious views.”

The new law could also prevent Christian business owners from being compelled to bake a cake or take photographs of a same-sex "marriage" ceremony, if doing so violates their faith. In recent years, business owners have seen an increased level of prosecution for denying such services, despite their religious and moral beliefs.

The state's pro-life organization applauded Pence for his stance. "Indiana's pro-life community is grateful to Gov. Mike Pence for signing the Religious Freedom Restoration Act into law,” said Indiana Right to Life's president and CEO Mike Fichter. “This bill will give pro-lifers a necessary legal recourse if they are pressured to support abortion against their deeply-held religious beliefs.”

“RFRA is an important bill to protect the religious freedom of Hoosiers who believe the right to life comes from God, not government,” he said.

The state RFRA is based on the federal bill introduced by Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-NY, and signed into law by President Bill Clinton in 1993. The Supreme Court cited the federal law when it ruled that Hobby Lobby had the right to refuse to fund abortion-inducing drugs, if doing so violated its owners' sincerely held religious beliefs.

In signing the measure – similar to the one Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer vetoed – Pence and the state of Indiana have faced a torrent of venom from opponents of the bill, who claim it grants a “right to discriminate” and raises the spectre of segregation.

"They've basically said, as long as your religion tells you to, it's OK to discriminate against people," said Sarah Warbelow, legal director of the Human Rights Campaign, a national homosexual pressure group.

The Disciples of Christ, a liberal Protestant denomination based in the state capital, has said it will move its 2017 annual convention if the RFRA became state law. The NCAA warned the bill's adoption “might affect future events” in the Hoosier state.

Pence denied such concerns, saying, "This bill is not about discrimination, and if I thought it legalized discrimination in any way I would've vetoed it."

The bill's supporters say that, under the Obama administration, it is Christians who are most likely to suffer discrimination.

"Originally RFRA laws were intended to protect small religious groups from undue burdens on practicing their faith in public life,” said Mark Tooley, president of the Institute on Religion and Democracy. “It was not imagined there would come a day when laws might seek to jail or financially destroy nuns, rabbis or Christian camp counselors who prefer to abstain from the next wave of sexual and gender experimentation. And there's always a next wave.”

The bill's supporters note that it does not end the government's right to coerce people of faith into violating their conscience in every situation. However, it requires that doing so has to serve a compelling government interest and the government must use the least restrictive means possible. “There will be times when a state or federal government can show it has a compelling reason for burdening religious expression – to ensure public safety, for instance,” said Sarah Torre, an expert at the Heritage Foundation. “But Religious Freedom Restoration Acts set a high bar for the government to meet in order to restrict religious freedom.”

Restricting the ability of government to interfere in people's private decisions, especially their religious decisions, is the very purpose of the Constitution, its supporters say.

"Religious freedom is the cornerstone of all liberty for all people,” Tooley said. “Deny or reduce it, and there are no ultimate limits on the state's power to coerce."

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Fight pornography. Beat pornography. And join the ranks of those who support their fellow men and women still fighting.
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Porn is transforming our men from protectors into predators. Fight back.

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By Jonathon van Maren

Since I’ve gotten involved in anti-pornography work, I’ve met countless men who struggle, fight, or have beaten pornography. Each person seems to deal with the guilt and shame that accompanies porn use in a different way—some deny that it’s “all that bad,” others pretend that they could “stop whenever they want,” many insist that “everyone is doing it,” and most, when pressed, admit to a deep sense of self-loathing.

One worry surfaces often in conversation: What do my past or current struggles with pornography say about me as a man? Can I ever move past this and have a meaningful and fulfilling relationship?

I want to address this question just briefly, since I’ve encountered it so many times.

First, however, I’ve written before how I at times dislike the language of “struggling” with pornography or pornography “addiction,” not because they aren’t accurate but because too often they are used as an excuse rather than an explanation. It is true, many do in fact “struggle” with what can legitimately be considered an addiction, but when this language is used to describe an interminable battle with no end (and I’ve met dozens of men for whom this is the case), then I prefer we use terminology like “fighting my porn habit.” A semantic debate, certainly, but one I think is important. We need to stop struggling with porn and start fighting it.

Secondly, pornography does do devastating things to one’s sense of masculinity. We know this. Pornography enslaves men by the millions, perverting their role as protector and defender of the more vulnerable and turning them into sexual cannibals, consuming those they see on-screen to satisfy their sexual appetites.

What often starts as mere curiosity or an accidental encounter can turn into something that invades the mind and twists even the most basic attractions. I’ve met porn users who can’t believe the types of things they want to watch. They haven’t simply been using porn. Porn has actively reshaped them into something they don’t recognize and don’t like. 

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Porn is this generation’s great assault on masculinity and the role of men in society. It is essential that we win this battle for the sake of society’s survival. Contrary to what the gender-bending and family-morphing progressive elites claim, good husbands and good fathers and good church leaders are necessary for a healthy society. But pornography is destroying marriages, creating distant and disconnected fathers, and, metaphoricaclly castrating men, hindering their ability and desire to make a positive difference in the society around us.

So, with this sobering set of facts in mind let’s return to the question: what do pornography struggles, past and present, say about a man?

The proper way to respond is with everything that is good about masculinity. We have to fight pornography as men have fought countless evils throughout the ages. We need to fight pornography to protect women, and wives, and children, and our society at large. This is how pornography threatens society, by castrating men, and turning them from protectors into predators. Rooting out the evil in our own lives allows us to better fulfill the role we are called to perform in the lives of others. Battling our own demons enables us to battle the wider cultural demons. Every day without porn is another bit of virtue built. Virtue is not something you’re born with. Virtues are habits that you build. And one day without porn is the first step towards the virtue of being porn-free.

Many men ask me if men who have had past porn addictions are cut out for being in a relationship or working in the pro-life movement or in other areas where we are called to protect and defend the weak and vulnerable. And the answer to that is an unequivocal yes. Our society needs men who know what it means to fight battles and win. Our society needs men who can say that they fought porn and they beat porn, because their families and their friends were too important to risk. Our society needs men who rose to the challenge that the evils of their generation threw at them, and became better men as the result. And our society needs men who can help their friends and their sons and those around them fight the plague of pornography and free themselves from it, too—and who can understand better and offer encouragement more relevant than someone who has fought and been freed themselves?

So the answer to men is yes. Fight pornography. Beat pornography. And join the ranks of those who support their fellow men and women still fighting. Lend them support and encouragement. We cannot change the fact that porn has left an enormous path of destruction in its wake. But we can change the fact that too many people aren’t fighting it. We can change our own involvement. And we can rise to the challenge and face this threat to masculinity with all that is good about masculinity.

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Red Alert!

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By John-Henry Westen

I don’t like having to do this, but we have always found it best to be totally upfront with our readers: our Spring fundraising campaign is now worrying us! 

You see, with just 6 days remaining, we have only raised 30% of our goal, with $125,000 still left to raise. That is a long ways to go yet.

We have no choice but to reach our minimum goal of $175,000 if we are going to be able to continue serving the 5+ million readers who rely on us every month for investigative and groundbreaking news reports on life, faith and family issues.

Every year, LifeSite readership continues to grow by leaps and bounds. This year, we are again experiencing record-breaking interest, with over 6 million people visiting our website last month alone!

This unprecedented growth in turn creates its own demand for increased staff and resources, as we struggle to serve these millions of new readers.

And especially keep this in mind. As many more people read LifeSite, our mission of bringing about cultural change gets boosted. Our ultimate goal has always been to educate and activate the public to take well-informed, needed actions.

Another upside to our huge growth in readers is that it should be that much easier to reach our goal. To put it simply: if each person who read this one email donated whatever they could (even just $10) we would easily surpass our goal! 

Today, I hope you will join the many heroes who keep this ship afloat, and enable us to proclaim the truth through our reporting to tens of millions of people every year!

Your donations to LifeSite cause major things to happen! We see that every day and it is very exciting. Please join with us in making a cultural impact with a donation of ANY AMOUNT right now. 

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