Date: July 5, 2018
Nine leading human rights and religious liberty organizations sent a letter to the President of the United States, Donald Trump, appealing to intervene in the case of Demei Zou, the leader of the Christian new religious movement The Church of Almighty God in four Chinese provinces, who is detained in Detroit, Michigan. Bitter Winter reported yesterday that she is under an immediate threat of being deported back to China where she faces execution.
Sister Demei Zou is wanted in China as one of the leaders in a banned religious movement and is accused of trumped up charges of espionage and cooperation in the sale of Chinese military secrets abroad, which may lead to the death penalty in China.
Fearing for her life, Demei Zou left China and entered the United States with a false passport and no other ID. Therefore, American authorities concluded that there was no evidence of her being really Demei Zou, although three witnesses, including two members of The Church of Almighty God who have been granted asylum in the US, testified that she was in fact who she had claimed to be.
In the letter to President Trump, the signatories note the paradox of the situation when the United States – active participants in a commendable campaign to protect human rights and religious liberty in China – now threaten to send a Chinese Christian, persecuted for her faith, to her death.
Full text of the letter to the US President.
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Bitter Winter plans to report on how religions are allowed, or not allowed, to operate in China and how some are severely persecuted after they are labeled as “xie jiao,” or heterodox teachings. We plan to publish news difficult to find elsewhere, analyses, and debates.
Placed under the editorship of Massimo Introvigne, one of the most well-known scholars of religion internationally, “Bitter Winter” is a cooperative enterprise by scholars, human rights activists, and members of religious organizations persecuted in China (some of them have elected, for obvious reasons, to remain anonymous).