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Posted 09 Apr 2002   For week ended February 01, 2002
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News about Mormons, Mormonism,
and the LDS Church
Sent on Mormon-News: 01Feb02
By Kent Larsen
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LDS Expert: Religious Rights in China Declining

WASHINGTON, DC -- Michael Young, Chairman of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, wrote U.S. President George W. Bush last week to say that religious freedom has declined in China since the U.S. gave the country full trading rights. Young, a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and Dean of the George Washington University School of Law, has become a recognized expert in International religious freedom since his appointment to the Commission in 1999 by then-President Bill Clinton. He was made Chairman of the Commission in September.

The commission objected last year to the U.S. Government's proposal to grant China Permanent Normal Trade Relations (PNTR), worried that granting China the U.S.'s highest trade status would give the country a license to ignore international standards on religious freedom and reduce the pressure that the U.S. could bring to bear on the country. In fact, Young wrote in his letter, that is exactly what has happened, "Few assumed the human rights situation in China would immediately improve after approval of PNTR. But instead, conditions have worsened," he told President Bush in the letter. He said that China has cracked down on believers outside of the state-controlled religious organization.

Young also notes that China even manipulated the announcement of the trade status in the case of a Protestant Christian pastor, "The Chinese government delayed announcement of the death sentence against Pastor Gong (which was imposed earlier in December) until just three days after you signed the PNTR trade proclamation on Dec. 27, 2001." Gong's case, writes Young, is the first time that a Protestant Christian pastor has been sentenced to die since the adoption of an "evil cult" law by China in 1999. Gong's case is on appeal.

Now, Young says, the Bush administration must take action, "The administration must continue to tell Chinese authorities at all levels that human rights obligations are every bit as important to the United States, and just as binding politically on China, as other international obligations," Young wrote.


China worse on rights, panel says
Deseret News 20Jan02 T2
By Lee Davidson: Deseret News Washington correspondent
Ex-Utahn say some Christians sent to prison or face death

See also:

Young Named Chair of US Religious Freedom Commission
Mormon News 26Sep01 T2
By Kent Larsen

Young Gets Another Term on Religious Freedom Commission
Mormon News 25May01 T2
By Kent Larsen

Michael Young: Having a 'Wonderfully Good Time'
Mormon News 2Feb01 T2
By Kent Larsen

LDS Commissioner Calls China Peril To Religion
Mormon News 7May00 T2
By Kent Larsen

LDS Law Professor Urges China To Tolerate Religion
Mormon News 9Apr00 T2
By Kent Larsen

LDS dean appointed to religious freedom panel
Mormon News 20Jun99 T2
By Kent Larsen


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