An international Christian human rights organization is urging the international community to speak out against China over the death of Li Baiguang, a leading human rights activist who opposed the Chinese Communist Party.
It seems Li, a renowned human rights lawyer who recently attended the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, D.C., went to a hospital for a “minor stomach age” and was declared dead a short time later.
That, according to China Aid, a human rights nonprofit that works to promote religious freedom and the rule of law in China, indicates “he was murdered by the Chinese Communist Party.”
“Li went to the hospital for a minor stomachache and was declared dead hours later. The hospital alleged that he had liver problems and that he bled to death, but Li was previously healthy,” the organization explained.
“China Aid calls on the international community and leaders of the free world to speak out against Li’s death and call China to an account for its abusive and murderous actions so that no other person will suffer a similar fate. This organization will continue to expose the abuses enacted against human rights activists and religious practitioners in order to secure religious freedom, human rights, and rule of law for all Chinese citizens,” the group said.
It was in eastern Jiangsu province that Li was taken ill.
“China has a history of either neglecting the medical conditions of human rights activists until they succumb to them or declaring previously healthy people dead, as exemplified in the cases of Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo, pro-democracy activist and Christian Yang Tianshui, and prisoner of conscience Peng Ming, demonstrating that the Chinese government is taking an active hand in the deaths of those who stand for liberty,” China Aid said.
Li had attended the National Prayer Breakfast with China Aid President Bob Fu and other human rights activists.
“In the past, he represented numerous illegally arrested Chinese pastors and received the Democracy Award from the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) for his efforts to advance human rights and religious freedom in China. President George W. Bush also met with him three times due to his courageous work,” China Aid said.
“Li’s bravery knew no bounds, and he steadfastly defended the oppressed despite death threats made against him. A few months ago, he was kidnapped by Chinese officials in Zhejiang province, beaten, and forced to leave the area on the threat of dismemberment for defending farmers whose land was illegally taken by the government,” said China Aid.
“We are deeply saddened by the loss of one of China’s most courageous, pro-constitution lawyers,” said Fu, was who was a close friend for a decade. “He was treated violently last year and was threatened a number of times recently by the Chinese regime. He has been a bold and compassionate human rights lawyer, always ready in defense of the persecuted and vulnerable. Like in the sudden death of [Nobel Peace Prize laureate] Dr. Liu Xiaobo, the Chinese regime should be held totally accountable. The whole world should demand that the Chinese government give a full, independent, and transparent account on what caused Dr Li’s sudden death.”
Li, 49, is survived by his wife, Xu Hanmei, and their 8-year-old son.
China Aid previously documented threats again Li as he worked for the rights of various groups, including farmers “who lost more than 5,107 acres of beach that they legally owned to the government.”
“Under the cover of night on Oct. 17, Li’s kidnappers from him into a forest and beat him, threatening to dismember him if he didn’t leave the area by the next morning. They abandoned him in a field, and he reported the incident to the police. However, because the government is the defendant in the farmer’s case and the car the kidnappers forced him into at the time of his abduction belonged to an official, Li suspects that his abductors were hired by the Communist Party.”
Reuters reported it was claimed Li died of liver failure, “sparking suspicion over the death of someone who did not drink alcohol and ‘looked fine’ earlier this month.”
Li had been honored with an award by the National Endowment for Democracy for his work defending arrested Christian pastors.