by UCA News Reporter
The initiative focuses on 20 dissidents and religious figures who are representative of the harshest rights crackdown by Beijing in recent memory, said Sen. Marco Rubio, head of the U.S. congressional commission on China.
"We want to send the message that the imprisonment of rights advocates, lawyers and religious people is unnecessary, unjust and completely counterproductive," he said launching the campaign in Washington D.C. on Sept. 15. Rubio is a U.S. Republican presidential candidate for next year's election.
Two dissidents will be featured in the campaign on each of the 10 days leading up to Xi's meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama at the White House on Sept. 25.
Pope Francis is due to meet Obama two days earlier. No meeting is scheduled between Xi and the pope in the United States as both sides continue talks on solving the key problem of bishop ordinations in China.
Christians have faced persecution as part of a broader program by Beijing designed to sideline dissenting voices and those deemed a threat to Communist Party rule...