The Christian human rights charity Release International is calling on Microsoft and Yahoo to follow Google's lead and refuse to censor the Internet - along with reports of persecution - in China.
“Religious persecution is a daily reality in China,” said Release CEO Andy Dipper. “The Chinese people need to be told the truth - and gatekeepers to the Internet Microsoft and Yahoo have a duty to let the truth be told.”
The message came at a conference in London this week to raise the plight of persecuted Christians in China. The joint conference was held by human rights advocates Christian Solidarity Worldwide and Release International.
The conference highlighted the plight of human rights lawyer, Gao Zhisheng, who disappeared more than 400 days ago, after defending leaders of the persecuted house church and practitioners of the banned movement Falun Gong.
Addressing the conference was human rights campaigner, Bob Fu, a former leader of the Tiananmen Square student protest in 1989. He called on China to release immediately Nobel Peace Prize nominee Gao Zhisheng, whom he said had been tortured severely.
“When the authorities arrested Gao previously in 2005 they tortured him in ways that cannot be described,” said Bob Fu, who heads up the ChinaAid Association. “If he is still alive, they are almost certainly torturing him again. The aim is to break his spirit and to scare off other human rights campaigners.”
Bob Fu was one of the last men to speak to Gao Zhisheng before he was hauled away by the Chinese authorities 400 days ago. “We do not know for sure now whether Gao is dead or alive. It's possible the authorities have disfigured or crippled him and would now be embarrassed to let him be seen.
“We call on China to let the world know whether he is still alive and, if so, release Gao immediately.”
Applauding Google's decision to no longer allow China to censor its web browser, Bob Fu extended a challenge to Yahoo and Microsoft to follow suit. He said: “My message to Bill Gates and Yahoo is do the right thing. Don't sell your conscience. Don't give in to censorship.”
Bob Fu later briefed parliamentarians in the House of Lords on the continuing abuse of human rights in China.
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