11/06/2009, 00.00
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Sciences academic fired for "political" and religious reasons

by Wang Zhicheng
Fan Yafeng, a model professor, is engaged in the social field of human rights and is leader of an underground Protestant community. The government worried about the alliance between social activism and Christianity.

Beijing (AsiaNews) - A researcher of the Academy of Social Sciences, who is also a Christian Protestant, was fired for "political reasons". The researcher is also the leader of a domestic church in the capital. Fan Yafeng, a research associate in the legal sector of the Academy of Social Sciences, said that his superiors called him on 3 November last to tell him that his contract was terminated. In addition to the director of the department, there was also the secretary of the party. Both have confirmed that he was dismissed "for political reasons."

According to the CHRD (China Human Rights Defenders), the dismissal of Fan Yafeng, is another important removal to clear the capital's underground protestant churches.

But other experts note that Fan, a model academic at the Academy has written extensively about constitutional and political reforms and has often defended Protestant Christians in their religious rights.

Fan Yafeng, 40, was born in Anhui. In '92 he graduated in pedagogy from Anhui University, in '95 he graduated in law from Beijing University. In 2003 he became doctor of law at the Academy of Social Sciences.

Since 2007 China has implemented a campaign against the underground Protestant communities, according to more sober estimates, counts more than 50 million faithful. The campaign provides or absorption of the communities in the Movement of the three autonomies, which collects the official Protestant communities and is controlled by the government, or their suppression (see Secret party document wants to “normalise” Chinese Protestants).

Many Christians, inspired by their faith, are involved in the field of human and religious rights. At the same time, many dissidents and activists find in the Christian faith the human base and philosophical struggle with the greatest force for human rights in China.

The government fears this "alliance" between social and religious commitment and continues to suppress them both.

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