If you have visited the American Life League web site in the past day, you have seen the video of our own Marie Hahnenberg and know that our annual Pro-Life Memorial Day observance in front of the Supreme Court in Washington, D.C. was a tremendous success. There were 12 organizations of national stature that joined with American Life League in remembering those millions of preborn children who have died by chemical, medical and surgical abortion.
But what you might not know is that a wonderful meeting occurred while ALL was there that was totally unexpected and for which we are still praising God. You see, human rights defenders from China joined with us at the last moment and were able to speak with the crowd.
These heroic people are fighting forced abortion and other human rights abuses in their country. Their names are most difficult to pronounce, but their message transcends the limits of mere language. As Katie Walker said in our press release ,
His eyes shone with joy. Even through an interpreter, everyone felt the depth of his passion for justice and his dedication to the rights of all persons – especially those most vulnerable little ones.
This gentleman, who was persecuted for being a defender of life, was Li Fangping. He was accompanied to the events at the capitol by members of the China Aid Society , an organization that is committed to assisting those in China who suffer religious persecution at the hands of the government. Clearly, Mr. Li is no stranger to the sort of oppressive treatment the Chinese government can impose, having been repeatedly harassed by authorities for his defense of Chen Guangcheng, an activist who, in 2005, exposed the fact that thousands of Chinese women were subjected to forced abortions and sterilizations. Li was severely beaten in 2006 and was under residential surveillance during the Beijing Olympics in August.
During the recent Olympics, contrary to the impression created by much of the media, it would appear that the suppression of free speech in China was in high gear. Many of those who protested their government or spoke to foreign journalists were arrested or driven out of the city as a news report from August makes painfully clear:
Huang Qi, director of Tianwang Human Rights Centre, has been in prison since June 10, without the benefit of legal counsel.
Ding Zilin, Jiang Peikun and Qi Zhiyong, who belong to the Tiananmen Mothers group, were pressured to get out of town before the start of the Olympics. Currently all three are somewhere outside of Beijing.
Other activists were luckier and only got house arrest. Writer Liu Xiaobo, scientist Jiang Qisheng, independent intellectual Zhang Zhuhua, house church member Yu Jie, independent scholar Liu Junning, housing rights activist Zhou Li who opposed forced Olympics-related evictions, Christian activist Xu Yonghai, as well as attorneys Li Fangping, [emphasis added] Jiang Tianyong and Li Heping were placed under residential surveillance and monitoring.
By contrast Beijing Activist Zeng Jinyan disappeared on the eve of the Olympics. Up to then and for two years she had been under either house arrest or residential surveillance. Ms Zeng is married to jailed (since 27 December 2007) human rights activist Hu Jia.
Other activists are also under arrest or surveillance across the country like attorney Zheng Enchong of Shanghai, Yao Lifa in Hubei and Chen Xi of Guizhou.
It is truly an amazing thing that, out of the clear blue sky, these wonderful Chinese heroes for life happened upon our gathering in front of the Supreme Court. Describing it as a "God moment" seems trite, but indeed that is what it was, and all those who attended were as touched by the moment as Katie Walker.
American Life League is grateful to the many pro-life organizations and individuals who participated in this event, not only in Washington, D.C., but also in communities around the nation. We realize that we cannot go a single moment without remembering these children, praying for their parents and doing all we can to prevent the carnage from continuing.
The first Monday in October is the date on which the Supreme Court reconvenes, which is why it was chosen as the date for the annual Pro-Life Memorial Day. We must not forget the infamous Supreme Court decisions that started this slide down the slippery slope of dehumanizing the most vulnerable in our midst.
Sometimes this pro-life work can seem to be an overwhelming task, and it may even occur to us that a small effort here or there is really not making much of a difference, but I am here to tell you that nobody should ever think such a thing!
As servants of the Lord and doers of his work, we are never alone. As St. Francis de Sales once wrote,
Let us be firm in our purposes and unswerving in our resolutions. Perseverance will prove whether we have sincerely sacrificed ourselves to God and dedicated ourselves to a devout life.