President raises issue after meeting Chinese head of State
(ANSA) - Rome, March 22 - Italian President Sergio Mattarella raised the issue of human rights in a statement he made alongside Chinese President Xi Jinping after the two heads of State met in Rome on Friday. "In the light of Italy's mandate on the UN Human Rights Council, I would like to hope that constructive dialogue can continue on such important issues at the session of the EU-China dialogue on human rights that will take place in Brussels following the one last July in Beijing," Mattarella said.
The prominent scholar and expert of religious movements Massimo Introvigne reported in this article the Chinese reactions to the heavy criticisms expressed in the annual report on Human Rights of the US State Department. It is at least paradoxical that the leaders of the Chinese Communist Party reacted by accusing the US of violating human rights. It is not that the United States on the issue of human rights are exempted from criticisms, at least, for example, with regard to the death penalty, which has been definitively abolished only in 19 out of 50 the States but the comparison to China does not hold up.
An open letter to the President and Prime Minister of the Republic of Italy
Dear President Sergio Mattarella:
Dear Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte:
Chinese President Xi Jinping is about to start his visit to Italy. We understand that China is an important commercial partner of Italy and trade agreements will be at the center of the meetings. Italy has consistently been a staunch defender of human rights in different contexts, and has repeatedly stated that human rights should be part of all bilateral negotiations.
Annual U.S. Report on Human Rights singles out China as worst violator, denounces torture against Uyghurs, Falun Gong and The Church of Almighty God. China reacted in “unusually strong terms” after the U.S. Department of State unveiled on March 13 its yearly report on human rights, covering the year 2018. Introducing the report, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had denounced China as the worst country in the world for human rights. Although other countries were also mentioned, Pompeo insisted that China is “in a league of its own when it comes to human rights violations.”
In these days the international press reports about tortures suffered in Russia by members of the congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses. The Washington Post of March 2 speaks of “Russia’s persecution of Jehovah’s Witnesses is reviving dark practices of the past”. The last two years have been really difficult for the Jehovah's Witnesses (even if the discriminatory acts against them date back to at least the 90s) since, implementing the controversial Yarovaya law, the Russian Supreme Court has labeled them "extremist organization".
Accused of espionage and subversion, at least 45 contributors are in custody; the reporter who filmed a secret camp in Xinjiang “disappeared” after the arrest. In August 2018, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) authorities designated Bitter Winter a “foreign hostile website” for publishing secret documents and news reports about the CCP’s suppression of religious beliefs and human rights violations. The authorities have retaliated by launching repeated attempts to hack the website, and by targeting reporters and contributors.
Received from Bitter Winter and HRWF. FOB shares and endorses their efforts and projects to contrast Chinese religioius persection.
The Universal Periodic Review of the state of human rights in China at the United Nations saw several major countries publicly denounce the CCP and a major demonstration in front of the Palais des Nations, with Muslim Uyghurs, Tibetan Buddhists, members of The Church of Almighty God, and Bitter Winter, united in exposing the Chinese persecution of all religions.
Heavily persecuted in China, with many documented cases of torture and extra-judicial killings, hundreds of members of The Church of Almighty God have escaped to South Korea, where they are seeking refugee status. The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is pursuing them also in Korea. It has coerced or persuaded with threats their relatives to go to Korea and askthat the refugees “return home,” i.e. go back to China where they would not go “home” but to jail, and is staging false “spontaneous demonstrations” with the help of local organizations agains the “cults.”
Dear Mr. Tria:
We wish you a fruitful visit to China on behalf of Italian economic interests.
Last July, Italy was an official participant in the Washington D.C. “Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom”. There, 82 countries solemnly agreed that religious liberty should be regarded as a non-negotiable cornerstone of international relations.
In April, Germany deported back to China an Uyghur asylum seeker who “disappeared” after his repatriation. Now, Germany has apologized for the “mistake,” yet plans to deport on August 31 Sister Zhao of The Church of Almighty God, who will likely “disappear” as well.
German authorities have announced that on August 31 they will forcibly deport to China Sister Zhao, an asylum seeker currently detained in Ingelheim who resisted repatriation on July 9.
The Board of Immigration Appeals granted on August 13 a stay of removal to the leader of The Church of Almighty God in four Chinese provinces, who was to be deported to China after August 15.
Mr. Russell Abrutyn, attorney for the leader of The Church of Almighty God in four Chinese provinces currently detained in Detroit, who faces deportation back to China and possible execution there, has filed a motion to reopen her case, with new evidence.
Dear Chancellor Merkel:
We are NGOs active in the field of religious liberty, and write about the urgent situation of a Chinese refugee, Ms. Zhao, cur ently detained at the Aufsichtsund Dienstleistungsdirektion Landeseinrichtung für Asylbegehrende und Ausreisepflichtige in Ingelheim, after she resisted forcible deportation to China on July 9.
We urge you to consider that, should Ms. Zhao be returned to China, she would certainly be arrested and might be subject to torture or “disappear” while in custody.
The religious freedom In China – if we dare to call it so – is granted only to some “State Churches” that are approved by the totalitarian Communist Party government. All the other religious communities are not admitted. Since 1995 the government issued and routinely update a list of so called Xie Jiao (literally that are considered illegal. The Chinese Criminal Code article # 300 foresees a jail penalty of 3 to 7 tears “or more” for the sole active membership to a religious movement included in the Xie Jiao list.
Bitter Winter, the magazine specialising on Religious Liberty and Human Rights in China, has interviewed our Chairman regarding the situation of religious freedom in China with a specific focus on the cases of arbitrary detention of the members of The Church of Almighty God (CAG) heavily persecuted in China.
An Open Letter to President Trump to Save Demei Zou
Nine non-governmental organizations appeal to the President of the United States, Donald Trump, to intervene in the case of Demei Zou, an asylum seeker of a Chinese Christian new religious movement, The Church of Almighty God, who is detained in Detroit, Michigan and faces deportation to China.
Dear President Trump:
On May 14, 2018, a new online news magazine has been launched at the International Book Fair of Torino, in Italy, Bitter Winter. The name refers both to the difficult situation of religious liberty in China and to a theme in classical Chinese painting.