Attorneys with the Alliance Defense Fund (ADF), a legal group defending liberty, will represent a Chinese Christian man in his legal battle to obtain asylum in the United States after being persecuted for his faith in China, a press release dated August 29 reads.
On August 9, the Christian man named Li Xiaodong of Ningbo, China, was denied by a three-judge panel of the US Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit for his asylum application under the Convention Against Torture Act.
The story of Li Xiaodong was explained in the ADF’s press release. In 1995, Li was a member of an underground evangelical Christian church meeting at his home in on Sundays. As the activities held by house churches in Mainland China are illegal, Li was arrested that year by the local police and was interrogated at length.
The Chinese police even tortured Li physically when they did not like Li’s responses to their questions, according to three-judge panel of the 5th Circuit. He was kicked, forced to kneel, and hit with a police bar. Li was also handcuffed, beaten, and had his hair pulled.
Li was finally jailed for five days and then forced by the police to clean public toilets without pay. Li obtained a visa and left China in the same year, fearing further torture and imprisonment.
Under the existing Regulations on Religious Affairs of China, the Government only allows worship in state-monitored churches. But in reality, millions of Catholics and evangelical Christians in China refuse to join these churches and attend unauthorized gatherings, often in private homes. All of them are under the threat of arrest and harassment.
The US court commented, Li's case reflected "that the Chinese government...[has] harassed, interrogated, detained, and physically abused members of unauthorized religious groups." Unfortunately, the three-judge panel of the 5th Circuit rejected to embrace this tortured Chinese Christian asylum.
Currently, Li faces deportation to China where he will be imprisoned for two years under the charge of illegal practice of faith.
In response to the Li’s case, ADF Chief Counsel Benjamin Bull said in a statement, "In one of the most egregious religious persecution cases coming out of China in recent years, we will seek review of the case by the full 5th Circuit, and if denied, appeal the case to the U.S. Supreme Court."
"The three-judge panel erred as a matter of law and as a matter of human rights," stated ADF Senior Legal Counsel David Cortman, Li's attorney.
"This is one of the most clear-cut cases imaginable, and the torture and persecution for merely being a Christian are undisputed. We just hope that fear of embarrassing China did not play a role in this terrible decision."
ADF is America's largest legal alliance defending religious liberty through strategy, training, funding, and litigation.
According to the 2003 Yearbook of Immigration Statistics prepared by the Office of Immigration Statistics, 407 out of 4,750 cases of asylum application from China were responded in the fiscal year 2003. 2,024 cases were granted during the year.