by Massimo Introvigne — There is a different administration from last year in Washington DC but the yearly survey of religious liberty produced by the U.S. Department of State in 2021 (covering events of 2020) is as strong as last year’s report, or stronger. Secretary Blinken introduced the report on May 12 by singling out China as a country that “criminalizes religious expression” in general. Blinken did not avoid two politically significant definitions: “crimes against humanity” for how China treats religion, and “genocide” for what is being done to “Uyghurs and members of other religious and ethnic minority groups.”
by Marco Respinti — On April 29, 2021, the US Embassy to Italy in Rome hosted a webinar of its “Transatlantic Thursdays” series, entitled Human Rights in China: the Uyghur Community. Introduced by Kimberly Krhounek, Minister Counselor for Political Affairs at the US Embassy in Rome, and moderated by Giulia Pompili, Asia-Pacific desk journalist at Il Foglio, two Uyghur panelists took the floor: Rushan Abbas, founder of the Washington-based “Campaign for Uyghurs”, and singer Rahima Mahmut, director of the London, UK, branch of the World Uyghur Congress.
by Alessandro Amicarelli — The Church of Almighty God (CAG) is the most persecuted religious movement in China. Persecution generates refugees, and more than 5,000 CAG members have sought asylum in democratic countries. Not all their cases have been already examined by the authorities, but there are hundreds of available decisions making the CAG a unique case for studying the response to religion-based refugee claims filed by members of a single movement in several different countries.
by Wang Yichi — In January 2021, at least 123 members of The Church of Almighty God (CAG) were arrested by the police in the eastern province of Jiangsu. Many of them were detained in hotels, and subjected to torture during interrogation. A female CAG member was arrested while in a meeting. During interrogation, the police trampled hard on her toes with their leather shoes, and slapped her on the face with book rolls. To extort information about the church, several police officers subjected her to the tortures of “being seated on a chair,” “doing the splits,” and so on.
April 25th is a historical date, but it could also be considered a "historical oxymoron": the Italian people celebrate the anniversary of the liberation, while the Tibetan people celebrate the anniversary of the birth of the youngest political prisoner in the world, Gedhun Choekyi Nyima, 11th Panchem Lama of Tibet. Recognized as the reincarnation of Tibet's second highest religious authority, Gedhun Choekyi Nyima was officially instated by the Dalai Lama on May 14, 1995. A few days later he "disappeared" along with his entire family and has not been heard from since. This deplorable disappearance swells the number of "desaparecidos" at the hands of the intolerant Chinese Communist regime. FOB joins the general outrage that this event arouses in those who firmly believe in human rights and in the value of freedom in all its forms, and strongly calls for the release of Gedhun Choekyi Nyima and all the Tibetan people.
By Marco Respinti — Laura Harth, is Campaign Director at Safeguard Defenders, an NGO campaigning for the respect of human rights and the rule of law in Asia, and regional liaison in Italy of the Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China (IPAC). Holding an M.A in International Law, Human Rights and International Relations, she is among the initiators of the Global Committee for the Rule of Law “Marco Pannella”’s campaign for the universal recognition of the “right to know” as a fundamental right to ensure true democratic participation and full human rights compliance.
By Marco Respinti — Religion is a fundamental feature in determining the culture of a people (for some scholars, the most important). and Tibet is one of those interesting cases in which cultural identity and religion are so intertwined as to make it almost impossible to distinguish one from the other. The Chinese Communist Party knows this all too well, and this is why in the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR)—the province-level entity of the People’s Republic of China (PRA) which is roughly half of the historic Tibet and not autonomous at all—the endemic warfare against religion (all religions) that characterizes the Chinese regime all over its territory takes the shape of a peculiar political battle against Tibetan Buddhism in all of its forms.
Italian Parliamentarians and civil societies discuss human rights abuse and environmental degradation by China in Tibet and Xinjiang
Geneva: The Italia-Tibet Association in collaboration with Bitter Winter – an online magazine on religious liberty and human rights in China, the Heritage of Tibet and AREF International organized a virtual event with Italian parliamentarians to discuss the human rights abuse and environmental degradation by China in Tibet and Xinjiang. The event was held on 29 March 2021 from 6 pm to 8 pm local time and was moderated by Claudio Cardelli, President of the Italia-Tibet Association.
by Marco Respinti — For once, we agree with the Global Times, the daily voice of the CCP in English. The decision taken on Monday, March 22, 2021 by the European Union Council (after a meeting of the foreign ministers of the European Union), to sanction Chinese officers guilty of human rights violation hit “a heavy blow to bilateral relations between the two sides.” On Monday, the European Union imposed “restrictive measures on eleven individuals and four entities” (the Global Times wrongly mentioned 10 individuals) “responsible for serious human rights violations and abuses in various countries around the world.” Among the indicted countries, the Peoples’ Republic of China looms large with four persons and one entity found guilty of “large-scale arbitrary detentions of, in particular, Uyghurs in Xinjiang.”
In the end, economic interests prevailed over human rights. The genocide amendment to the British Trade Bill, strongly advocated by Lord Alton who had proposed it, foundered, albeit slightly, under the blows of the commercial interests of Her Majesty's Government. Apparently, the "vile money" has triumphed once again. A few minutes before the debate on the Trade Bill, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab announced the UK's decision to join 29 other states in sanctioning Chinese officials for complicity in atrocities against the Uighur population in Xinjiang. To some, however, it appeared to be an attempt, if not an actual signal, to channel the vote on the amendment toward a favorable outcome for the government.
by Marco Respinti — In the last few weeks, things seem to have accelerated and concerns about all the different crimes committed by the Chinese regime are growing across the world. On March 10, 2021, the 117th US Congress in Washington, D.C., acted to confront one of the most heinous deeds ordered by the CCP against its own citizens, i.e. organ harvesting, which targets especially Falun Gong practitioners, but also others, chiefly Uyghurs and other Turkic people in Xinjiang, which its non-Han inhabitants call East Turkestan, and believers of The Church of Almighty God.
by Ruth Ingram — The Chinese government is running a concerted campaign to malign, discredit and terrorize Uyghurs who have lost touch with loved ones, in an attempt to claim the moral high ground in its propaganda war on terror. A text message out of the blue from a relative begging them to return, hounding calls from officials, or as in Aziz Isa Elkun’s case, a Chinese news feature with his elderly mother, castigating him for being a bad son, strike terror in the hearts of traumatized exiles, leaving them in a no man’s land of grief and longing.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.”