FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 9, 2019
USCIRF Commissioners Adopt American Pastor David Lin Through the Religious Prisoners of Conscience Project
WASHINGTON, DC – Kristina Arriaga and Tony Perkins, commissioners on the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), today announced their adoption of American pastor David Lin as part of the Religious Prisoners of Conscience Project. In 2006, Chinese authorities in Beijing detained Pastor Lin, under unclear circumstances. In 2009, he was accused of contract fraud—a charge he denies—and sentenced to life imprisonment. Following commutation and reduction, he is due for release in April 2030. Until recently, Pastor Lin ministered to his fellow prisoners and was translating the Bible into Chinese. USCIRF is concerned about recent reports of Pastor Lin’s declining health and potential threats to his safety in prison.
“We call on Chinese authorities to provide Pastor David Lin with any medical attention that he needs and allow him to return home to the United States,” said Arriaga and Perkins. “The Chinese government has committed a grave injustice against this man who now faces the possibility of spending the rest of his life in prison. We are especially concerned about the possibility that Pastor Lin is being targeted in prison because of his faith.”
Before his imprisonment, Pastor Lin was active in Beijing’s house church movement, which has long faced hostility from Chinese authorities. House churches are independent of state-sponsored religious organizations, and those who participate in and lead house churches often face intimidation, harassment, arrest, and harsh sentences. Under President Xi Jinping, the Chinese government has intensified its crackdown against independent religious groups—as well as other religious communities—and closed down several prominent house churches.
USCIRF has repeatedly recommended that the State Department designate China a “country of particular concern” (CPC) for systematic, ongoing, egregious violations of religious freedom. The State Department again designated China a CPC in November 2018.
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.