05/03/2006, 00.00
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Washington: Christians demonstrating for Wang Wenyi arrested

The three members of the Christian Defense Coalition were released in the evening. Support has also come from China for the doctor who interrupted Hu Jintao during his official US visit, and who now risks imprisonment.

Washington (AsiaNews) – US police yesterday, 2 May, arrested three members of the Christian Defense Coalition and Generation Life for chaining themselves to the gate of the White House. They were calling for the release of a woman arrested for interrupting the speech of Chinese president, Hu Jintao, during his US visit.

The three, Rev. Patrick J. Mahoney and wife Katie and Brandi Swindell, said they were "full of shame" for the way their country was treating Dr Wang Wenyi, 47 years. She managed to enter the White House with permission as a reporter for the Epoch Times, a publication linked to the spiritual movement of the Falun Gong.

In the garden from where the journalists were following the event, the woman called out in Chinese: "Stop the oppression against the Falun Gong!" Turning to Hu Jintao, she said: "Your days are counted" and to Bush, she added in English: "President Bush, stop him from killing!" After a few minutes, she was taken away by security forces.

Some days ago, Wang Wenyi appeared in court, accused of disturbance, intimidation and threats to a public official. If found guilty, she will have to pay a fine of 5,000 dollars and spend six months in prison. The woman's lawyer said she had only practised her fundamental right of freedom of expression.

In a document published after her arrest, Wang talked about the reasons that prompted her to public protest. She said: "The press reported what I did, but did not really report very much the reason why I acted. I knew I had to do something shocking when, as correspondent of the Epoch Times, and as a pathologist, I understood the real dimensions and atrocities linked to organ removal from living Falun Gong practitioners."

"Throughout my investigations, I talked to doctors and prison guards who admitted that tissues needed for transplants are taken from people who are still alive. One of them told me all we published on the matter was far from the truth, because it did not touch upon the pain felt during these operations." Until recently, publicity of a hospital in Shenyang, edited in several languages, promised recovery, transplant and rehabilitation in "only three weeks". The doctor added: "To promise this, they must have an immense store of organs, and therefore of bodies. The Falun Gong reports the disappearance of thousands of members each year. The conclusion is clear."

During his protest, the kneeling Pastor Mahoney told tourists gathering around him: "Right now in China, peaceful members of Falun Gong are persecuted and their organs harvested. We call upon President Bush to uphold the basic principles that no one should be persecuted, intimidated, or harassed for their religious beliefs."

Their support for Wenyi is not isolated: Gao Zhisheng, a famous lawyer and human rights activist, and Xu Wenli, one of the founding members of the first Chinese Democratic Party, also spoke out publicly on her behalf.

The lawyer Gao expressed his views in an open letter to the judges who will decide Wenyi's fate. He reminded them that they "serve the independent judiciary system of the United States, capable of preventing injustices… If you do not evaluate the atrocities that Dr Wenyi ranged herself against, you cannot be capable of handing down a just verdict. In this way, you would damage her, but above all, you would do enormous damage to your legal system and its reputation."

Xu Wenli, meanwhile, wrote to President George Bush and said he was "ready to share a cell with the doctor, if she was condemned, or to chain himself to the outside wall of her prison for the duration of her imprisonment."

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See also
USA: Charges "frozen" against woman who interrupted Hu Jintao at White House
Beijing condemns Falun Gong as an anti-China political organisation
Gao: "Anti-Christian persecution destroys purest values"
Gao's first challenge: government must stop anti-Falun Gong persecution
Pope talks about the Middle East, the Holy Land and the food crisis with Bush


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