FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 5, 2019
USCIRF Commissioner Gary Bauer Calls for Release of Imprisoned Underground Church Leader Hu Shigen
WASHINGTON, DC – United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) Commissioner Gary Bauer today called on Chinese authorities to immediately and unconditionally release Hu Shigen, an underground church leader and religious freedom advocate. Hu was disappeared on July 10, 2015, as part of a larger crackdown on human rights lawyers and activists. On August 3, 2016, he was tried in Tianjin No. 2 Intermediate People’s Court and convicted for “subversion of state power”.
“China’s persecution of Christian house churches is a stain on its international reputation,” said Commissioner Bauer, who adopted Hu Shigen in 2018 as part of USCIRF’s Religious Prisoners of Conscience Project. “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.”
The Chinese government has intermittently harassed Hu for his political activism and his religious beliefs. USCIRF documents China’s abuses against Christians, Uighur Muslims, Tibetan Buddhists, Falun Gong practitioners and others in its 2019 Annual Report. In that report, USCIRF recommended that the State Department again designate China as a “country of particular concern” for its systematic, ongoing, egregious violations of religious freedom, as it has done since 1999.
The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) is an independent, bipartisan federal government entity established by the U.S. Congress to monitor, analyze, and report on threats to religious freedom abroad. USCIRF makes foreign policy recommendations to the President, the Secretary of State, and Congress intended to deter religious persecution and promote freedom of religion and belief. To interview a Commissioner, please contact USCIRF at Media@USCIRF.gov or Kellie Boyle at firstname.lastname@example.org or +1-703-898-6554.