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Defending life from the moment of conception

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Chen Guangcheng conviction quashed by Chinese court

3 November 2006

A Chinese court has overturned the guilty verdict against Chen Guangcheng, an activist against illegal practices in China's one child policy who was found guilty of public order offences in August and sentenced to more than 4 years in jail. The Linyi City Intermediate Court quashed Mr Chen's conviction on the grounds that there were "serious violations" in the legal procedures, and has ordered a retrial. Li Jingsong, one of Mr Chen's lawyers, said: "The court said it was because the process of the first trial was unfair and facts and evidence ... were not tenable and did not hold water. This case is also a victory for justice in the world, as being a defence lawyer I have seen that it has received international support." [BBC News, 1 November]

The actor Jim Caviezel, who played the role of Christ in Mel Gibson's "The Passion of the Christ", has defended his opposition to embryonic stem cell research. He said that he opposed fellow actor Michael J. Fox's support of a bill which would prohibit state legislative interference in any federally allowed stem cell research. Caviezel has appeared in an advertisement explaining his views and stressing that the public needs to understand the facts before making up their minds on the issue. He said, "I am absolutely for adult stem-cell research. I care very much about people who have diseases, especially Parkinson's Disease, and I'd be through the moon if they ever came up with a cure for any of those diseases, especially Parkinson's." [Hollywood.com, 2 November]

The American Catholic bishop of Madison has ordered all the priests in his diocese to play a recorded homily by him on life and family issues at Masses on the weekend of 4-5 November. Bishop Robert C. Morlino said that he decided to resort to this step after receiving reports of "isolated cases" of priests who refused to convey or even publicly contradicted the bishop's messages on family life. The 14 minute homily addresses three issues: homosexual marriage, the death penalty and embryonic stem cell research. [Life Site, 2 November]

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