United States. Congress. House. Committee on Inter.

Persecution of Christians worldwide : hearing before the Subcommittee on International Operations and Human Rights of the Committee on International Relations, House of Representatives, One Hundred Fourth Congress, second session, February 15, 1996 online

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Online LibraryUnited States. Congress. House. Committee on InterPersecution of Christians worldwide : hearing before the Subcommittee on International Operations and Human Rights of the Committee on International Relations, House of Representatives, One Hundred Fourth Congress, second session, February 15, 1996 → online text (page 1 of 27)
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PERSECUTION OF CHRISTIANS
WORLDWIDE



Y 4. IN 8/16: P 43/2

Persecution of Christians Uorlduide. . .

HEARING

BEFORE THE

SUBCOMMITTEE ON
INTERNATIONAL OPERATIONS AND HUMAN RIGHTS

OP THE

COMMITTEE ON

INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

ONE HUNDRED FOURTH CONGRESS
SECOND SESSION



FEBRUARY 15, 1996



Printed for the use of the Committee on International Relations




Superintendent of Doeuments
DEPOSITORY

JUL 1 7 1996

Boston Public Library
Government Document.^ Dept.



U.S. GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE
24-741 CC WASfflNGTON : 1996



For sale by the U.S. Government Printing Office

Superintendent of Documents, Congressional Sales Office, Washington, DC 20402

ISBN 0-16-052719-8



PERSECUTION OF CHRISTIANS
WORLDWIDE



4. IN 8/16: P 43/2

rsecution of Christians Uorlduide. . .

HEARING

BEFORE THE

SUBCOMMITTEE ON
INTERNATIONAL OPERATIONS AND HUMAN RIGHTS

OF THE

COMMITTEE ON

INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS

HOUSE OP REPRESENTATIVES

ONE HUNDRED FOURTH CONGRESS
SECOND SESSION



FEBRUARY 15, 1996



Printed for the use of the Committee on International Relations




Superintendent of Doeuments
DEPOSITORY

JUL 1 7 1996

Boston Public Library
Government Documents Dept.



U.S. GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE
24-741 CC WASHINGTON : 1996



For sale by the U.S. Government Printing Office

Superintendent of Documents, Congressional Sales Office, Washington, DC 20402

ISBN 0-16-052719-8



COMMITTEE ON INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS
BENJAMIN A. OILMAN, New York, Chairman



WILLIAM F. GOODLING, Pennsylvania

JAMES A. LEACH, Iowa

TOBY ROTH, Wisconsin

HENRY J. HYDE, Illinois

DOUG BEREUTER, Nebraska

CHRISTOPHER H. SMITH, New Jersey

DAN BURTON, Indiana

JAN MEYERS, Kansas

ELTON GALLEGLY, California

ILEANA ROS-LEHTINEN. Florida

CASS BALLENGER. North Carolina

DANA ROHRABACHER, California

DONALD A. MANZULLO, Illinois

EDWARD R. ROYCE, California

PETER T. KING, New York

JAY KIM, California

SAM BROWNBACK, Kansas

DAVID FUNDERBURK, North Carolina

STEVEN J. CHABOT, Ohio

MARSHALL "MARK" SANFORD, South

Carolina
MATT SALMON, Arizona
AMO HOUGHTON, New York
TOM CAMPBELL, California



LEE H. HAMILTON, Indiana

SAM GEJDENSON, Connecticut

TOM LANTOS, California

ROBERT G. TORRICELLI, New Jersey

HOWARD L. BERMAN, California

GARY L. ACKERMAN, New York

HARRY JOHNSTON, Florida

ELIOT L. ENGEL, New York

ENI F.H. FALEOMAVAEGA, American

Samoa
MATTHEW G. MARTINEZ, California
DONALD M. PAYNE, New Jersey
ROBERT E. ANDREWS, New Jereey
ROBERT MENENDEZ, New Jersq'
SHERROD BROWN, Ohio
CYNTHIA A. MCKINNEY, Geoi^a
ALCEE L. HASTINGS, Florida
ALBERT RUSSELL WYNN, Maryland
JAMES P. MORAN, Virginia
VICTOR O. FRAZER, Viigin Islands (Ind.)



Richard J. Gabon, Chief of Staff
Michael H. Van Dusen, Democratic Chief of Staff



SUBCOMMnTEE ON INTERNATIONAL OPERATIONS AND HUMAN RIGHTS
CHRISTOPHER H. SMITH, New Jersey, Chairman



BENJAMIN A. OILMAN, New York

WILLIAM F. GOODLING, Pennsylvania

HENRY J. HYDE, Illinois

PETER T. KING, New York

DAVID FUNDERBURK, North CaroHna

MATT SALMON, Arizona

EDWARD R ROYCE, California



TOM LANTOS, California
CYNTHIA A. MCKINNEY, Georgia
JAMES P. MORAN, Vii^nia
HOWARD L. BERMAN, California
ENI F.H. FALEOMAVAEGA, American

Samoa
DONALD M. PAYNE, New Jersey



Grover Joseph Rees, Subcommittee Staff Director and Chief Counsel

Robert R. King, Democratic Professional Staff Member

Stephanie E. Schmidt, Staff Associate



(11)



CONTENTS



WITNESSES



Ms. Nina Shea, Program Director, The Puebla Program on Religious Freedom,

Freedom House 5

Mr. Joseph M.C. Kung, President, The Cardinal Kung Foundation 10

Rev. Tran Qui Thien, Catholic Priest 15

Mr. Tom White, USA Director, The Voice of the Martyrs, Inc 18

Mr. David F. Forte, Professor of Law, Cleveland State University-Marshall

College of Law 30

Rev. Canon Patrick P. Augustine, Associate Rector, Church of the Holy Com-
forter 34

Mr. Pedro C. Moreno, Litemational Coordinator, The Rutherford Institute 38

Mr. Abe GhafFari, President, Iranian Christians International 41

Dr. Richard D. Land, President, Christian Life Commission of Southern Bap-
tist Convention 50

Dr. Morton E. Winston, Chair, Board of Directors, Anmesty International

USA 55

Rev. Dr. Albert M. Pennybacker, Associate General Secretary, National Coun-
cil of the Churches of Christ in the USA 59

Mr. Martin J. Dannenfelser, Jr., Assistant to the President for Government

Relations, Family Research Council 62

APPENDIX

Prepared statements:

Ms. Nina Shea 75

Mr. Joseph M.C. Kung 82

Rev. Tran Qui Thien 92

Mr. Tom White 97

Mr. David F. Forte Ill

Rev. Canon Patrick P. Augustine 117

Mr. Pedro C. Moreno 123

Mr. Abe Ghaffari 132

Dr. Richard D. Land 141

Mr. Morton E. Winston 156

Rev. Dr. Albert M. Pennvbacker 167

Mr. Martin J. Dannenfelser, Jr 170

Statement submitted for the record by Hon. Tom Lantos 175

Statement submitted for the record by Most Reverend Theodore E.

McCarrick, Archbishop of Newark 177

Statement submitted for the record by James B. Jacobson, President,

Christian Solidarity International 184

List of religious leaaers presently detained in Communist "re-education

camps or placed under house arrest, Vietnam Helsinki Commission 187

Apostasy and Blasphemy in Pakistan, by David F. Forte 194



(III)



PERSECUTION OF CHRISTIANS WORLDWIDE



THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 15, 1996

House of Representatives,
Committee on International Relations,
Subcommittee on International Operations and Human

Rights,
Washington, DC.

The subcommittee met, pursuant to call, at 1 p.m. in room 2172,
Raybum House Office Building, Hon. Christopher Smith (chairman
of the subcommittee) presiding.

Mr. Smith. The subcommittee will come to order.

Today the subcommittee will hear expert testimony on the rising
tide of persecution of Christians around the world. Our witnesses
today will testify about the systematic and severe mistreatment, in-
cluding but not limited to harassment, discrimination, imprison-
ment, beatings, torture, enslavement, and even violent death,
meted out to believers simply because they are believers.

The subject of religious persecution is a familiar one for the Sub-
committee on International Operations and Human Rights. This
subcommittee and its members have held hearings, passed resolu-
tions, and otherwise helped to focus the attention of Congress and
the Nation on the persecution of Soviet Jews, of Bosnian Muslims,
of Bahai's in Iran, of Buddhists in Tibet and Vietnam, and of oth-
ers who have been oppressed for practicing their faith. This, how-
ever, is the first hearing to focus specifically on persecuted Chris-
tians, and to do so in a way that makes clear that this is not an
isolated or occasional outrage, but one that is perpetrated every
day upon tens of millions of people around the world.

We hope this hearing will advance several important goals. First,
the very act of bearing witness is important in and of itself. Even
if we accomplish nothing else this afi:ernoon, we have an obligation
to shed light on facts that I believe need to be shown, and to give
a forum to voices that need to be heard.

We hope, however, to accomplish much more. In this age when
human rights are always in danger of subordination to other objec-
tives, whether it be the love of money, the fear of immigrants and
refugees, or the desire to get along with governments and dictator-
ships that mistreat their own people, we need to be reminded that
when people are persecuted in distant lands, it is often because
they believe in God and seek to do His will "on earth, as it is in
Heaven." The victims we so often ignore, whether the issue is refu-
gee protection or most-favored-nation status for China, are usually
the very people with whom we share values. We need to see their

(1)



faces, and to be reminded that they are our brothers and our sis-
ters.

Sixteen years ago during my first term in the Congress, I read
a book entitled *Torture(r for Christ" by the Reverend Richard
Wurmbrand, a Romanian evangeHcal minister.

In it, he detailed the horrific, agonizing 14-year ordeal that he
endured for his faith in Christ during Ceausescu's brutal dictator-
ship in Romania.

He said, and I quote, "the underground church is a poor and a
suffering church, but it has no lukewarm members." I have found,
and I know members of our panels have found, that throughout the
world there are no lukewarm members when it comes to the under-
ground churches, be they in China or any other Catholic nation.

In the chapter "How Western Christians Can Help," Reverend
Wurmbrand thundered, and I quote, "And the free Church sleeps
on, oblivious of their struggle and agony, just as Peter, James and
John slept in the moment of their Saviour's agony.

"Willyou also sleep while the Underground Church, your breth-
ren in Qirist, suffer and fight alone for the Gospel?

"The message I bring out of the Underground Church is: 'Don't
abandon us! Don't forget us! Don't write us off!'".

The book, and numerous others like it that I have read over the
years, exposed the torture and degradation routinely employed
against Christians by dictatorships and the lack of response in the
West. These accounts are more tnan just chronicles of heroic faith
in a God they love, but a call to action as well.

Congressman Frank Wolf, a Republican from Virginia, and Tony
Hall, a Democrat from Ohio, and I have pressed for religious free-
dom in Romania, the East Bloc, Russia, the PRC, and in many Is-
lamic nations since the early 1980's.

On one human rights trip to Romania in 1984, we demanded the
release of numerous imprisoned pastors and believers, including
Father Gheorghe Calciu. On the Senate side. Senator Bob Dole
mounted a strong push for Father Calciu's release, as well. At a
press conference after his release, Father Calciu humbly told of his
suffering for Christ, and then finished by telling how the dreaded
secret police, known as the Securitate, decided to kill him by put-
ting two common thugs in his cell with instructions to end his life
in exchange for a reduced sentence. Father Calciu, undeterred and
ever the missionary, preached the Gospel of Christ to these hard-
ened men, and both gave their lives to the Lord. When their sen-
tences were extended rather than shortened, they went right on
praising God, having found the truth that set them free.

I have heard similar miraculous stories in Perm Camp 35 in Rus-
sia, in the late 1980's. Mr. Wolf and I, after 2 years of negotiation,
were the first parliamentarians to get into that infamous gulag. We
not only interviewed each prisoner of conscience, but we gave them
Bibles. I will never forget seeing the tears of joy flowing down the
faces of many of these saints as they clutched the Bibles close to
their hearts. I was amazed that these prisoners weren't filled with
malice or hate toward their KGB captors, but with love and for-
gfiveness.

On one of three human rights trips to the People's Republic of
China, I heard breathtaking stories of the Christian House Church



Movement and of oppressed Catholics. One Christian woman, with
tears in her eyes, told me how she had been forcibly aborted by
rough and rude Chinese family-planning cadres, and that she
prayed that her baby was in heaven. Yet, like Christ, she said she
forgave them, for they didn't know what they were doing. Frankly,
I was amazed.

Another told me how the public security policeman beat, har-
assed and robbed Christians. Well, his wife, who was blind, con-
verted and was healed of her blindness, I was told. That police offi-
cer, like the Roman jailer in our Lord's day, converted as well.
Such is the power and the mercy of the Grod that we serve.

It is important that we assess, ladies and gentlemen, the per-
formance of our government, which I believe has been a bitter dis-
appointment, and of international institutions such as the U.N.
Human Rights Commission, and High Commissioner for Refugees,
in responding to the pleas of persecuted Christians. In the past we
have heard that these institutions have been reluctant to acknowl-
edge the plight of persecuted Christians, much less do anything of
substance to help them. Most of us can remember the Pentecostals
who sought refuge in the U.S. Embassy in Moscow during the early
1980's v^o were finally rescued only after they had been pressured
and cajoled for months to leave because they were cluttering up the
courtyard. I met them in Moscow in 1981, the so-called Siberian
Seven, and was greatly moved by their courage, faith and love. Yet,
to our embassy they were a nuisance.

On the other side of the world, the so-called "Comprehensive
Plan of Action" for Southeast Asian asylum-seekers has returned
thousands of Christians, including priests, nuns, ministers, and
seminarians, to Vietnam after they were callously labeled "eco-
nomic migrants." And applications for asylum or refugee status
from Christians who have managed to escape from Islamic extrem-
ist regimes have typically been rejected, despite the draconian pun-
ishments oft«n administered against them.

Finally, and perhaps more important, today we will afford an op-
portunity for a broad coalition of respected voices, from Amnesty
International to the Southern Baptist Convention and the Family
Research Council, who will bear witness to their own recognition
of the plight of persecuted Christians. This is an issue I believe
that should unite liberals and conservatives. Republicans and
Democrats, even internationalists and isolationists.

Let me conclude by saying that our Lord admonished us to care
for the persecuted, the hungry, those in prison — the so-called least
of our brethren. For me, this has meant being absolutely serious
about human rights and the protection of all who are weak and
vulnerable and disenfranchised. For me, this has meant inclusion
of all people, regardless of race, sex, age or condition of depend-
ency, including unborn babies whose right to life is cruelly denied
by some nations, including our own. Human rights are indivisible.

Today, millions of Christians endure torture and are humiliated
for their faith. They are the "least of our brethren" only in the cir-
cumstances in which they find themselves. For in reality, they are
the moral giants, the unsung heroes whose faith and courage will
be revealed in the life to come.



In the meantime, let us take Reverend Wurmbrand's words to
heart and fight, as never before, for our suffering brethren.

I would like to ask my distinguished colleague from California,
Congressman Dana Rohrabacher, if he has any opening comment.

Mr. Rohrabacher. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.

I first want to congratulate Chairman Smith for the leadership
that he is providing, not only on this issue, and this is an impor-
tant issue, and I think we are going to make it, we are going to
make this a signature national and international issue. This is the
first step, and I congratulate him on taking the leadership.

Also, Chris Smith bears the burden of so many of these moral
questions, and those of us who share those convictions, but perhaps
have other priorities. I am very interested in the space program
and very interested in tax policies and things like that. I want all
of you to know how much we admire Chris Smith, how much we
admire him as a person because he keeps us focused on these
moral questions of the day that, if America does not focus on these
questions, who cares about the space program? Who cares about
the tax policy? The fact is, America will not be America if we could
not take stands, moral stands, and lead this world morally as well
as technologically and economically.

So I believe that the leadership Mr. Smith is providing us and
Congress is just invaluable. He is an irreplaceable member, and he
has my gratitude for that.

In terms of this question today, I remember full well during the
cold war that we saw the persecution of the Jews in Russia. I
mean, that was something that was vivid to most Americans. I re-
member as a newsman covering that story on numerous occasions.
I was a newsman out in Los Angeles. It was an important story.
It was something that signified the nature of the Soviet Union it-
self. The world knew about it, and eventually we were able to wade
in and make a difference there.

In fact, the world has also been aware recently of the persecution
and the genocide that has taken place against the Muslim popu-
lations in Bosnia. This too is something that the world has paid at-
tention to recently, just recently. It took far too long for us to take
some type of positive steps to try to counter that.

Well, today, as I say, we are launching the first steps to making
sure that the world pays attention to another group of people who
are persecuted and are being tyrannized for the sake of their own
faith, and that is the Christian communities in various parts of the
world.

Now the world no longer faces this monstrous threat that we
faced; for 70 years there was an atheist force on this planet that
meant to destroy the symbols of faith and the organizational struc-
tures of religious faith of every religious doctrine. This militant
atheism, as represented by communism, was, I believe, a historic,
evil force on this planet. I believe that that force has been defeated.
Now is the time for us to unite and to make sure that all people
who are being persecuted for their faith, whether it be Jews or
Christians or Muslims, that we make this our policy as American
citizens, and our policy as decent people of the world, to try to end
these types of persecutions.



In terms of Christians, Christians perhaps have been more quiet
in the United States about the persecution of fellow Christians
than any of the other groups that have faced persecution overseas.
That needs to change, and that will change with the leadership
that Chris Smith is offering and those of us in Congress that will
be involved in this issue. It is time for all people of faith to stand
together, to see that the persecuted Christians throughout the
world are protected and that we stand with them against those
who would tyrannize them, those who would basically eliminate
their faith through force and violence.

Again, whether we are talking about the Rohingyas in Burma or
whether we are talking about Christians in Muslim countries, or
whether we are talking about Christians in Communist countries,
these people are suffering for their faith; they are the heroes and
the saints of our time, and at the very least, we, the people of the
United States, should send them a message that we are on their
side.

So thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. I am proud to be stand-
ing with you.

Mr. Smith. Thank you, Mr. Rohrabacher, for your very kind re-
marks and for your veiy cogent statement. I think it is very well
taken, especially the pomt about the militant atheism. We so mis-
understood what was at the core of the Communist regimes and
still is. As Rev. Wurmbrand pointed out in his books, it is not just
a dislike of God; it was a hatred of God.

I would like to introduce our first panelist, and we have three
panels of experts today, and we welcome you. For all who are here,
including the press, if this goes on for much of the day, the remain-
der of the day, it is important that this information get out. So
while each witness will be asked to keep it within approximately
10 minutes, this will be a long hearing; but I think the information
is of such a nature that this needs to be a long hearing.

Nina Shea has been an international lawyer for 17 years and is
currently the program director of Freedom House's Puebla Program
on Religious Freedom. In her work with the Puebla Program, Ms.
Shea monitors religious persecution throughout Asia. She is also
co-author of Human Rights Report on El Salvador, published by
Random House in 1983. In addition, her writings have appeared in
The New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Asian Wall
Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times, and the New Republic. In
1993, the Clinton administration appointed Ms. Shea to the U.N.
Commission on Human Rights.

Ms. Shea, if you would please begin. I will introduce our other
panelists before their respective presentations.

Ms. Shea. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. I want to abbre-
viate my remarks today, so I ask that my entire text appear in the
record.

Mr. Smith. Without objection, it is so ordered.

STATEMENT OF NINA SHEA, PROGRAM DIRECTOR, THE
PUEBLA PROGRAM ON RELIGIOUS FREEDOM, FREEDOM
HOUSE

Ms. Shea. Mr. Chairman, Freedom House congratulates the sub-
committee for holding these hearings on the persecution of Chris-



6

tians throughout the world. This is an issue which has been the
focus of the Puebla Program for 10 years and was the topic of a
conference we sponsored last month at which over 100 key Chris-
tian leaders and activists discussed strategies for ending the indif-
ference of the West regarding this abomination.

Mr. Chairman, thank you for so consistently raising your own
voice against the torture, enslavement, imprisonment and murder
of Christians throughout the world.

I have been asked to address patterns of persecution against
Christians in those countries that remain under Communist con-
trol; namely, North Korea, Vietnam and China.

Mr. Chairman, each of these governments initially attempted to
eradicate religion by force. While North Korea came the closest,
this tact was ultimately imsuccessful and Christianity survived in
the underground. Today, each of those Communist countries at-
tempts to control and restrict Christian worship and activity using
diverse means. While there was a Communist Bloc isolated behind
the Iron Curtain, the Free World understood as a given that reli-
gious freedoms and other human rights were denied in communist-
controlled countries. Few realize that even now religious persecu-
tion continues in the remnants of the Communist world.

Mr. Rohrabacher said that communism has lost its force, and in-
deed it has. Communist ideological fervor has dissipated to varying
levels in these countries. In China and Vietnam, Marxist economic
policies have been overthrown in favor of capitalist ones. Neverthe-
less, these three governments continue to persecute Christians as
well as other religious groups for simple acts of worship and wit-
ness. And all three rank at the bottom of the 1996 Freedom House
"Freedom in the World" survey among the "18 worst rated coun-
tries" in the world for political rights and civil liberties. The repres-
sion of Christians is part of a political climate in which human
rights and democratic freedoms are routinely abused. "I think inde-
pendently, therefore, I am guilty," remains the prevailing maxim.
Pope John Paul II, in his annual address this year to the diplo-
matic corps for the traditional exchange of New Year's greetings,
decried the oppression of Christians throughout the world and sin-
gled out both China and Vietnam by name.

Why do the Communist governments, which have forsaken ideol-
ogy in so many other respects, still oppress independent worship?
The answer is simple. The churches assert moral values that these
governments do not want to hear.

A fundamental moral teaching that is in conflict with Communist
ideology is Christianity's belief in the inherent dignity of the indi-
vidual. That is, individuals have rights by reason of the fact they
are human persons; rights are not derived from or distributed by
the State or political agents. The Christian view of the human per-
son is informed by the teachings of the Bible. In many Christian
traditions, a philosophy of natural reason has been developed in
the defense of the idea of the inalienability of human rights. Thus,
when Pope John Paul II defended universality of human rights at
the United Nations last fall, he appealed to moral criteria that are
accessible to all persons of intelligence and good will, regardless of
faith.



This tenet of human dignity and rights remains anathema to
Communist authorities, for it threatens their monopoly on absolute
and unchecked political power.

An understanding of this conflict helps explain why the Central
Committee of China's Communist Party, in several recent docu-
ments circulated in Hong Kong, names Christianity in China as a
principal threat to political stability. The mechanism for Beijing's
control of religion is the Religious Affairs Bureau, which is ulti-
mately controlled by the Communist Central Committee. The Reli-
gious Affairs Bureau registers, oversees and controls all churches



Online LibraryUnited States. Congress. House. Committee on InterPersecution of Christians worldwide : hearing before the Subcommittee on International Operations and Human Rights of the Committee on International Relations, House of Representatives, One Hundred Fourth Congress, second session, February 15, 1996 → online text (page 1 of 27)