Hultgren to China: “Stifling Voices Like Zhu Yufu’s Does Not Silence Their Cries Nor Weaken Their Cause”
Washington, DC — U.S. Representative Randy Hultgren (IL-14) delivered a statement on the House floor wishing a happy birthday to prisoner of conscience Zhu Yufu and demanding Chinese authorities release him from his unjust detention. The Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission, which Rep. Hultgren Co-Chairs, will host a hearing tomorrow entitled, “Defending Prisoners of Conscience,” highlighting the plight of persons imprisoned for the peaceful expression of their political, religious or other conscientiously held beliefs.
Rep. Hultgren “adopted” Zhu Yufu to highlight his plight and the plight of prisoners of conscience around the world in collaboration with the Defending Freedoms Project, a joint effort by the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission, the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) and Amnesty International USA. Valuable information about the plight of Zhu Yufu and thousands of other political prisoners in China is available via the Congressional-Executive Commission on China’s Political Prisoner Database.
Following are Rep. Hultgren’s prepared remarks:
Once again at this time of year I have the somber privilege to come to this floor and extend happy birthday wishes to Chinese human rights defender and prisoner of conscience Zhu Yufu.
What should be an occasion for celebration remains marred by the fact that on February 15th Zhu will spend his 65th birthday in a Chinese prison. This will mark his seventh consecutive birthday behind bars—another birthday separated from his family and children.
Although isolated, Zhu is certainly not forgotten. He has been a fervent champion for human rights in China for decades. He gives voice to a very fundamental and foundational principle: all people everywhere should have the basic freedom to determine the course of their lives and express themselves according to their convictions without fear of government repression.
And for living out that conviction, he languishes in a Chinese prison, in poor health and with irregular access to medical care.
Stifling voices like Zhu’s does not silence their cries nor weaken their cause. On the contrary, it shines a light on their plight and renews and strengthens the efforts to end repression and injustice, in China as well as around the world.
As long as Zhu Yufu remains incarcerated, I will continue to call upon the Chinese government to provide him with sufficient food, care, and medical attention; and I will continue to call on the Chinese government to release Zhu from prison.
In honor of Zhu Yufu, I would like to read the short poem he wrote that led to his arrest and imprisonment:
It’s time, people of China! It’s time. The Square belongs to everyone. With your own two feet, it’s time to head to the Square and make your choice. It’s time, people of China! It’s time.
A song belongs to everyone. From your own throat. It’s time to voice the song in your heart. It’s time, people of China! It’s time. China belongs to everyone. Of your own will, it’s time to choose what China shall be.
Zhu, you are not forgotten. Happy Birthday, and may God grant you the strength of His presence and the hope that you will celebrate your next birthday in freedom.
Rep. Hultgren is Co-Chairman of the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission (TLHRC) and a commissioner on both the Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC) and the Helsinki Commission (Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe).