WASHINGTON -- As Christian leaders from around the United States start to gather in the nation's capital for the annual National Prayer Breakfast, Chinese and U.S. lawyers, academics and religious freedom activists will discuss ways to promote China's transition to a civil society at a human rights forum Tuesday evening, Feb. 1, at George Mason University.
The first-ever event at GMU is being hosted by the school's Christian Legal Society and the Midland, Texas-based ChinaAid Association, which is bringing a group of Chinese human rights lawyers and civil society leaders to speak at the forum.
The event, "Human Rights Forum – Walking with the Persecuted Faithful," will focus on China's current human rights issues from the perspectives of religious freedom, constitutional law and public policy, how China will transition to a civil society, and the role of faith and justice.
The U.S. speakers will be GMU law Prof. Nathan Sales; Dr Scott Flipsie, deputy director for East Asia of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom; and Rev. Patrick Payton, founder and senior pastor of Stonegate Fellowship in Texas. Flipsie will speak on policy concerns regarding civil rights violations in China, and Payton on justice, faith and civil society.
ChinaAid founder and president Bob Fu will speak on religious freedom and rule of law in China.
The Chinese delegation includes Zhang Dajun, legal scholar and independent think tank leader; Li Renbing, a human rights lawyer; and Pastor Zheng Leguo, representing persecuted church leaders. Each will speak about their personal experiences in China and will address issues including limitations on speech, assembly, internet use, and religious freedom.
"This will be a vital and timely discussion regarding the path of China's transition to a civil society governed by the rule of law from the current state of massive official corruption and enormous social injustice," said ChinaAid's Fu. "We are thankful that George Mason University law school has made this event possible by providing their professional inputs and a venue."
The forum, which is open to the public, will be held at the GMU Law School's brand new Founders Hall auditorium from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday Feb. 1.