Human rights and democracy advocates yesterday celebrated the life of Chinese lawyer Li Baiguang in Washington, D.C. Dr. Li strove tirelessly to ensure that all China’s citizens enjoy equal human rights and religious freedom, paving the way for justice and democracy in a land held in the chokehold of the Chinese Communist Party, ChinaAid reports.
Attendees included prominent figures who supported Li’s work, including former Congressman Frank Wolf, NED President Carl Gershman, ChinaAid President Bob Fu, the Congressional-Executive Commission on China’s Director of Policy and Media Relations Scott Flipse, former Permanent Representative to the United Nations for World Evangelical Alliance Deborah Fikes, as well as many others.
The well-known rights lawyer died suddenly in hospital of liver failure on Feb 26, a source told Reuters, sparking suspicion over the death of someone who did not drink alcohol and “looked fine” earlier this month.
“When the National Endowment for Democracy presented Li Baiguang with its Democracy Award in 2008, just weeks before the Beijing Olympics, we noted that he had been detained and physically attacked many times for his work,” Gershman said.
“Frank Wolf, who is such a champion of human rights, presented the award to Li Baiguang that day, comparing him with the great Soviet dissidents and Nobel Laureates Alexander Solzhenitsyn and Andrei Sakharov,” he added. “Li Baiguang truly belonged in their company, because of his utterly selfless devotion to the principle of human dignity and individual liberty, and because of his boundless courage.”
Why can’t the Chinese government accept the principle of religious freedom? asked Gershman:
The reason given by The Economist magazine in a report last week is that the Communist Party “worries that Protestantism is spreading quickly among young, educated urbanites whose talents it needs to help modernize the country.” According to a report last month in AsiaNews.it, its worries are well founded since polls show that “more than 60% of Chinese university students in Beijing and Shanghai are eager to learn about Christianity.”
The Communist Party would like to stem the growth of faith among young people, but according to this report “The religious awakening in China now seems uncontrollable.” And why shouldn’t it be , given the death many decades ago of communist ideology and its replacement by an asphyxiating combination of cynical power worship, rampant materialism, massive corruption, environmental degradation, and harsh repression that now passes for “the Chinese Dream” in Xi’s dictatorial utopia.