The lack of true religious freedom in China and growing persecution of Chinese house churches is being highlighted at an annual outdoor Christian concert festival in Texas which expects more than 20,000 attendees.
Rock the Desert is being held July 27-29 in the Midland, Texas-town known as the hometown of President George W. Bush and First Lady Laura Bush. Every year a ministry focus is on displayed throughout the event and this year exhibits is documenting Chinas religious persecution and human rights abuses.
A special presentation on Saturday, July 29, will feature a live reenactment of a church being bulldozed with its worshipers being thrown out just minutes before. Actual video footage of a church demolition in China will be shown before the reenactment.
Several well-known specific cases will be highlighted throughout the concert: the case of Zhao Yu, a New York Times correspondent now imprisoned in China; Chen Guangcheng, a blind rights activists detained for exposing violence against women in the name of family planning policies; Wu Hao, who was in the processes of making a documentary in China about the persecuted church and was jailed and then released on July 11, 2006; Jiang Zongxiu, who was martyred by being beaten to death for carrying scriptures; Pastor Cai Zhuohua, who is imprisoned for printing Bibles; and Pastor Zhang Rongliang, who was sentenced to 7 ½ years imprisonment for his leadership in the house church movement.
According to PrisonerAlert.com, religious persecution by the Chinese government appears to be increasing as the 2008 Olympics approaches. Rock the Desert attendees will be encouraged to write and express concerns to the corporate sponsors of the Beijing 2008 Olympics, urging them to use their influence to pressure China to allow greater religious freedom and human rights.
Six North Korea refugees will be the honored guest at the massive Christian concert. The refugees were the first from North Korea that have been admitted into the United States since the Korean War. They will provide testimonies of trial and perseverance in their journey to America.