Articles

Tibet: Repression Increases Before Tibetan Uprising Day

by Tashi Samdup — Tibetans all over the world commemorate the Tibetan Uprising Day on March 10 every year, to remember the 1959 Tibetan uprising against the invasion by the People's Republic of China. From that day, many Tibetans, including His Holiness the Dalai Lama, had to find refuge in India. In Dharamshala, India, a government in exile, called Central Tibetan Administration (CTA), was founded on April 28, 1959.

A Sad Women’s Day for Mothers, Sisters, Wives of Xinjiang Camps Inmate

by Leila Adilzhan — It is still cold in Almaty, Kazakhstan, but this did not deter women who have their loved ones detained in Xinjiang from taking to the streets and demonstrate in front of the Chinese consulate. On March 8, Women's Day, we pay our respects to the world's women. But these Kazakh mothers, wives, sisters, and daughters got no respect from the CCP. Ethnic Kazakhs continue, together with Uyghurs and other Turkic Muslims, to be detained in Xinjiang, either in the dreaded transformation through education camps or in prisons.

An Open Letter to the Fashion and Home-Furnishing Industries

Time is up. We, the Coalition to End Forced Labour in the Uyghur Region, call on all companies to urgently end all links to Uyghur forced labour. The government of China is perpetrating mass human rights abuses against Uyghur and other Turkic and Muslim people in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (Uyghur Region) in Western China. These abuses include mass surveillance, arbitrary detention, rape, torture, political “re-education,” forced sterilisations, and forced labour.

Canada Calls CCP's Crimes Against Uyghur People a Genocide

by Marco Respinti — On Monday, February 22, 2021, the House of Commons of the Canadian Parliament in Ottawa voted to support a motion, which formally recognizes as genocide the crimes committed by the Chinese Communist regime against the people of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR), which its Muslim Uyghur and other Turkic inhabitants call East Turkestan.

The Netherlands Too Call It A Genocide

by Marco Respinti — On Thursday, February 25, the Dutch parliament passed a non-binding motion defining as “genocide” the crimes happening against Uyghurs in China. The motion had been introduced by Sjoerd Sjoerdsma, of the center-left party Democraten 66, who also separately proposed lobbying the International Olympic Committee to move the 2022 Winter Olympics away from China.

The Belgian Case Against the Jehovah’s Witnesses: The Bible in the Dock?

by Willy Fautré — On 16 February, a trial started against the Christian Congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses (CCJW) at the criminal court of Ghent (East Flanders) on the alleged grounds of discrimination and incitement to hatred with a particular focus on their shunning (ostracization) practice in cases of disfellowshipping (exclusion) and disassociation (voluntary resignation).

Falun Gong Practitioner Arrested Again and Sentenced to 14 Years

by Marco Respinti — On December 17, 2020, Ma Zhiwu, a Falun Gong practitioner from the predominantly Muslim Ningzia Hui Autonomous Region was sentenced by the Guyuan Intermediate Court to 14 years in jail, both under article 300 of the Chinese Criminal Code, which punishes those active in a banned religious group labeled as xie jiao (“heterodox teaching,” often wrongly translated as “evil cult”), and for allegedly “inciting subversion of the power of the state.”

How Scientology Changed the Legal Definition of Religion

by Alessandro Amicarelli — In a previous article, I mentioned the exceptional importance of the new book Reactions to the Law by Minority Religions (London and New York: Routledge, 2021), edited by Eileen Barker and James T. Richardson, well-known as two of the most senior scholars of new religious movements internationally. In this article, I would like to focus on another crucial theme discussed in that book, the legal notion of religion, and the role the Church of Scientology had in promoting case law evolution in this field in several countries.

Chinese Torture Of Tibetan Women & Nuns Inside Tibet – Part II

The Charter of the United Nations, in Chapter I "Purposes and Principles", article 1, paragraph 3, states that one of the purposes is: "To achieve international co-operation in solving international problems of an economic, social, cultural, or humanitarian character, and in promoting and encouraging respect for human rights and for fundamental freedoms for all without distinction as to race, sex, language, or religion.”

How Chinese Police Torture Tibetan Women & Nuns Inside Tibet – Part I

The Charter of the United Nations, in Chapter I "Purposes and Principles", article 1, paragraph 3, states that one of the purposes is: "To achieve international co-operation in solving international problems of an economic, social, cultural, or humanitarian character, and in promoting and encouraging respect for human rights and for fundamental freedoms for all without distinction as to race, sex, language, or religion.”

Catholic Girl Forcibly Converted in Pakistan Seeks Asylum in the UK

by PierLuigi Zoccatelli — More than 1,000 Christian and Hindu girls, many of them under age, complain every year that they have been kidnapped, forced to marry their captors, and compelled to sign statements that they have converted to Islam. To his credit, Prime Minister Imran Khan ordered in December 2000 an investigation into this disturbing phenomenon. However, incidents continue to happen, and local courts often side with the kidnappers, based on the formalistic argument that, once it happened, a conversion to Islam cannot be renounced, without committing the capital crime of apostasy.

Church of Almighty God Refugee Cases Discussed in New Book

by Alessandro Amicarelli —Reactions to the Law by Minority Religions, edited by Eileen Barker and James T. Richardson (London and New York: Routledge, 2021), is an exceptional book, which will serve as a manual for judges, lawyers, and scholars for years to come. It is not new to describe how minority religions are often discriminated by the laws and their enforcement, but for the first time this volume discusses what is done, or should be done to counter this state of the affairs. Readers of Bitter Winter will find in the book articles from familiar names, from the two well-known editors to Susan Palmer, Peter Zoehrer, Eric Roux.

Dealing with China: Will Germany Sacrifice the Promise “Never Again” for Economic Interests?

by Abdulhakim Idris — In the international community, traces of the trauma of World War II remain. Especially in Germany, the Nazi administration continues to be held accountable. While this great pain persists, the world is experiencing the reality of genocide once again. New evidence and new documents emerge every day regarding the genocide carried out by the Chinese Communist regime against Muslim Uyghurs, Kazakhs, Kyrgyz, and other populations in East Turkestan. Despite this undeniable situation, the sight of the German-led European Union sitting at the table with China shows that the West has forgotten the words “never again” in the wake of the Holocaust.

Enter the “Administrative Measures for Religious Clergy”: Be Afraid, Be Very Afraid

by Massimo Introvigne — Here we are. Announced in November, and as usually published for collecting “comments” that never change anything substantial, the new “Administrative Measures for Religious Clergy” will come into force on May 1. They create an Orwellian system of surveillance, and strengthen the already strict control on all clergy. The tool is a national data base of the authorized clergy, meaning clergy trained and recognized by the five authorized religions. There is a complicated system to enter the data base, but those who are out of it and will claim to be clergy will commit a crime.

Chairman Lee and the Hwaseong Stadium Incident: Flogging a Dead Horse

by Massimo Introvigne — In late Winter last year, Shincheonji, a religious movement few non-Koreans had ever heard about, became a household name overnight as the ultimate “plague-spreading cult,” after one of its members was identified as an (involuntary) “superspreader” of COVID-19 in South Korea. Shincheonji and its leader, Chairman Lee Man Hee, were accused of having obstructed the anti-COVID-19 effort by not cooperating with the health authorities. Chairman Lee himself was arrested.

The improper use of the tax authorities to persecute spiritual minorities

The French and Taiwanese experiences are not isolated. The tactic of using the tax system (very often already oppressive for all citizens) is used practically everywhere. Stigmatizing the target of one's aggression a tax evader has the obvious purpose of making him unpopular and justifying the limitation of his rights. Today we publish this interesting analysis by Christine Mirre, deputy director of FOB sister company CAP-LC (Coordination des Associations et des Particuliers pour la Liberté de Conscience), a United Nations ECOSOC-accredited NGO.

The UK Genocide Amendment: Let’s Try It Again

by Ruth Ingram — A last-ditch attempt by the ruling UK Conservative Party to persuade the Lords to rethink their stance on trade with genocidal states, failed dramatically this week. Peers defied pressure from the government to jettison an amendment to the Trade Bill, which would ban bilateral deals with states that commit genocide, by voting overwhelmingly in favor of the move for the second time, by 171 votes.

Debunking the Myth of Religious “Brainwashing”

The practice of deprogramming is one of the sad - and sinister - topics denounced by FOB and other friendly organization and part of the battle for the respect of freedom of belief. Recent reports recounting the abuses suffered by believers of Shincheonji in South Korea, have brought the practice back into the public eye. In a ruling issued on November 27, 2020, the Hiroshima High Court confirmed that the abduction and detention of believers for the purpose of coercively "de-converting" them, is a crime.

Chairman Lee’s “Embezzlement of Fund”: Stealing from His Own Pocket

by Massimo Introvigne — Many in the world know the names of Shincheonji and its leader, Chairman Lee Man Hee, only because they were accused by South Korean authorities of voluntarily obstructing the campaign to contain COVID-19 in the country, after a member of the movement had emerged as a “superspreader” of the virus. As I discussed in previous articles analyzing the decision, on January 13, 2021 the Suwon District Court acquitted Chairman Lee from all COVID-related charges and recognized that, rather than obstructing the health authorities’ efforts, “Shincheonji actively” and “promptly” cooperated with them.