A suspicious and sudden death in China
Chinese human rights lawyer Li Baiguang died Monday under questionable circumstances
CHINA: Leading human rights lawyer Li Baiguang—who once met with President George W. Bush at the White House—died suddenly Monday in custody at an army hospital. Citing suspicious deaths of other detained human rights activists, China Aid’s Bob Fu called the death suspicious, saying Li was previously healthy.
“Dr. Li was a father and a husband, a lawyer and scholar, and he was a committed Christian who used his legal skills to defend the poor and oppressed in China—he will be missed,” said Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.), co-chairman of the Congressional-Executive Commission on China. Smith called for “a truly independent medical investigation” into Li’s death.
MALAYSIA’s highest court has dismissed an appeal by four Christians seeking legal recognition of their Christian faith. The dismissal essentially cedes jurisdiction for the case to the Sharia (or Islamic) courts, where they must ask for a surat murtad, or “letters of apostasy.”
INDONESIA: Nine months after being convicted of blasphemy, former Jakarta Gov. Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama, a Christian, has officially challenged his conviction through a case review petition to the Indonesian Supreme Court. Authorities questioned Ahok, who is currently serving his prison sentence on the blasphemy conviction, earlier this month over a government project, possibly seeking to implicate him now on corruption charges.
DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO: At least two people were killed in weekend protests, as church leaders joined up to 3 million protesters in calling for President Joseph Kabila to step down. The Botswana government—in an unusual move—has joined the protesters in calling for Kabila to hold elections to quell a continuing crisis.
MEXICO: A U.S. district judge has sided with U.S. President Donald Trump, rejecting arguments by California and advocacy groups seeking to block construction of a border wall over environmental concerns. U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel is the same judge Trump ridiculed for his Mexican heritage during proceedings over the now-defunct Trump University.
Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto again has postponed a visit to the United States to meet with Trump after Trump reportedly lost his temper during a phone call last week. Delays are significant, as opposition leftist candidate Andrés Manuel López Obrador continues to increase his lead in polls over Peña Nieto’s ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party heading into elections in May.
ISRAEL: Church leaders have reopened Jerusalem’s Church of the Holy Sepulchre after the Israeli government backed down from a plan to tax the site where Jesus is believed to have been crucified, triggering protests and the shutdown.
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