3rd June, 2014

Christianity Solidarity Worldwide has called on the Chinese Government to respect the rights of its citizens, including that of freedom of religion, in the lead-up to the 25th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre.

Mervyn Thomas, chief executive of the UK-based human rights organisation, said in a statement that the organisation called upon the Chinese Government to "fully respect the rights of its citizens, including the right to freedom of religion or belief, and to allow lawyers and activists to defend the rights of others".

"We also urge the government end the imposed silence on the topic of June Fourth, to allow the relatives of the victims to mourn publicly, and to conduct a full and impartial investigation into the events of June 1989".

CSW says that in the lead-up to the anniversary, Chinese human rights lawyers, activists and artists have been "detained and disappeared for offences as small as gathering to talk about what happened in Tiananmen Square in 1989".

"Those who have been released have been warned not to participate in any kind of remembrance activity," the organisation said in a statement.

Among those in prison is Christian human rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng, who "disappeared" in April, 2010, and whose family hasn't been able to contact him since January this year.

It noted that the past few months had seen a "spate" of forced demolitions of registered and unregistered churches and religious symbols in Zhejiang Province.

~ www.csw.org.uk