By BosNewsLife Asia Service
BEIJING, CHINA (BosNewsLife) -- As the Beijing Olympics drew to a close Sunday, August 24, with televised fireworks and a multi-million dollar show, there was concern over rights abuses of Christians in Communist-run China, amid reports that an American pastor disappeared.
Activist Pastor Eddie Perez Romero, from California, handed himself over to authorities after seeking to draw attention to alleged religious rights abuses and was apparently arrested in Tiananmen Square following weeks of protest, his representatives said.
He was apparently taken away by police officials in a car and was not heard of since, the statement said Sunday, August 24. More exact details were not immediately available.
"While in Tiananmen Square, Pastor Romero shouted about the concerns that had led him to protest and the goals of his campaign, namely the ratification of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the release of five prisoners representing," advocacy group Christian Solidarity Worldwide told BosNewsLife.
Earlier, on August 5, Pastor Romero had transformed two hotel rooms, creating effigies of blood-spattered torture victims and painting human rights slogans such as "Our World, Our Nightmare".
The protest took place just days before US President George W. Bush condemned reported religious rights abuses in China. "After the protest Pastor Romero went into hiding and has been living in the open with the protection of a small shelter, existing on rations he bought before leaving Beijing," CSW said.
Pastor Romero, a father of three, is a well respected church leader at Hacienda Christian Fellowship in La Puente and Adjunct Professor of Philosophy at Mt. San Antonio Community College in Walnut, California, the group added.
CSW National Director Stuart Windsor said his actions were driven â€œby deepest concern for the abused in China. He took this exceptional step in order to draw much-needed attention to the plight of those suffering persecution for their faith and other beliefs.â€
He said his group does not "condone" civil disobedience, but "strongly endorse the validity of the calls he is making for China to ratify the ICCPR and to release the named prisoners." He said the pastor's "courage in handing himself over to the Chinese authorities shows the depths with which he identifies with the suffering of the Chinese people."
Earlier this month, three American Christian leaders were deported from China, August 7, after being arrested for the second time in as many days.
Reverend Patrick J. Mahoney, director of the conservative Washington DC- based Christian Defense Coalition; Brandi Swindell, who leads the pro-life 'Generation Life' youth movement, and Michael McMonagle, were seen publicly praying and protesting against China's "religious persecution", the "policy of forced abortion" and other alleged civil rights abuses.
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