China

Two Tibetan youngsters detained for chat group in Tibetan language

Tibet Watch — Two Tibetan youngsters named Yang Ri and Guldak were detained on 24 August 2021, in Darlak Township in Golog Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, which is governed as part of Qinghai Province. They were reportedly arrested for being outspoken about a recent notification that issued the complete replacement of textbooks in Tibetan with textbooks in Chinese. Local Authorities notified the parents and families about the change prior to the start of the fall semester, stating that from September 2021 onwards, all their children must go to school only with the newly introduced textbooks in Chinese. Photographic evidence received from sources shows police authorities sitting outdoors on the grassland explaining this to Tibetan parents.

The Uyghur Tribunal’s Second Session Launched in London

by Ruth Ingram — The independent Tribunal aiming to examine evidence of China’s human rights abuses against the Uyghur people in China’s Xinjiang autonomous region, opened against a volley of attacks against the proceedings, which the CCP claimed were a “political farce” and “pseudo court” “used by terrorists and anti-China forces to smear China’s anti-terrorist efforts in the Xinjiang region.” Objecting to the aim of the tribunal, which is to assess whether a genocide has been carried out by the Chinese government against its own people, the Chinese Embassy in the UK joined forces with the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Government of Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region to jointly condemn the event, slated as “another group of ‘actors and actresses’ getting together with anti-China forces” “in an attempt to offer sensational but fake materials to Western media and make stories about the ‘evil China.’”

Around 50 Tibetans arrested on suspicion of keeping photos of the Dalai Lama

Military search operation in Dza Wonpo Town enforced eight months on from the death in custody of 19-year-old Tenzin Nyima. On 22 August, around 200 military personnel and nine military vehicles arrived in Dza Wonpo Town and carried out mass arrests of around 50 people. The town is located in Sershul County, Kardze (Ch: Ganzi) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in the eastern Tibetan region of Kham. None of the detainees in Chinese police custody are allowed to meet their family or friends and the official reason for their arrest has not been disclosed.

Peng Bo: Top “Anti-Cult” Bureaucrat Expelled from the CCP

by Gao Zihao — On August 17, 2021, the CCP’s Central Commission for Discipline Inspection informed that it had expelled Peng Bo from the Party. The decision was taken “with the approval of the Central Committee of the CCP.” Peng Bo is the former deputy director of the Office of the Leading Group for Prevention and Handling of Xie Jiao Issues, i.e., one of the top bureaucrats involved in the repression of religious movements banned and included in the list of the xie jiao, a word the CCP itself translates into English as “cults” or “evil cults,” but whose meaning is “heterodox teachings.” CCP bureaucrats rise and fell continuously, but it is not common that press releases are issued, the approval of the Central Committee is mentioned, and detailed explanations are added.

Religious Books Publicly Burned, DVDs Bulldozed in Yunnan

by Hu Zimo — Totalitarian regimes have a thing for burning books, and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) joyfully burn dissident books and destroys other material not approved of by the regime. In the festive climate of the 100th anniversary year of the CCP, it is recommended that this is done in public ceremonies to “educate the masses.” To explain how these modern auto-da-fés should be organized, a “pilot” book-burning and DVD-destroying ceremony was organized by the Ministry of Public Security in Kunming, Yunnan province, on July 16, in two locations. The aim was to show how to publicly destroy illegal religious material, in this case coming mostly from Falun Gong and The Church of Almighty God.

TIBET: The Brazen Hypocrisy of the Chinese Communist Party

Following the invasion of Eastern Tibet by Mao's troops, euphemistically called the People's Liberation Army, on May 23, 1951 a 17-point agreement was signed between the representatives of Tibet and the authorities of revolutionary China, with which the Tibetans recognized Chinese sovereignty over Tibet under the threat that otherwise all of Tibet would be invaded. On the 70th anniversary of the agreement, Chinese President Xi Jinping went to Tibet to legitimize the persecutory work of his regime and his predecessors.

Chinese clumsy attempts to stifle religious freedom in China and its supporters everywhere

The long hand of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) tries, in ways that are as clumsy as they are desperate, to silence any voice of dissent to the single party thought, which is the only true religion allowed in China. In the following article, Professor Massimo Introvigne, director of the online magazine Bitter Winter as well as founder and director of CESNUR (Center for Studies on New Religions), tells with the irony that the case deserves, of the treatment he has been subjected to by some diligent and clumsy Chinese officials, revealing how a "respected" and feared government like the Chinese one is the source of fake news that threaten the fundamental freedoms of every human being.

Shouters: Persecuted in China and Entitled to Asylum, Court of Rome Says

by Massimo Introvigne — In China, the popular nickname “Shouters” designates a network of different groups claiming to follow the tradition of Chinese Protestant ministers Watchman Nee (1903–1972) and Witness Lee (1905–1997). There are also followers of these preachers who do not accept the label “Shouters” and claim to be different from those so designated. Shouters are banned as a xie jiao by the CCP since 1983, i.e., even before the official list of xie jiao was compiled in 1995.

Italian Parliament Condemns CCP’s Crimes Against Uyghurs

by Marco Respinti — On May 26, 2021 the Italian Parliament voted unanimously to condemn Chinese atrocities against Uyghurs and other Turkic people, most of whom Muslim, in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR), which its non-Han inhabitants call East Turkestan. After a debate which lasted for months, the House of Representatives approved, with no contrary vote, a unified text, condensing different resolutions presented by MPs Paolo Formentini, Andrea Delmastro, Lia Quartapelle, Iolanda Di Stasio, and Valentino Valentini, representing a wide bipartisan consensus.

Lithuanian Parliament Condemns “Uyghur Genocide”

by Massimo Introvigne — Lithuania, which suffered itself Communist persecution, is the third country in Europe after the Netherlands and the United Kingdom whose Parliament has officially declared the horrors China is inflicting on the Uyghurs a “genocide.” Outside Europe, similar declarations came from the United States and Canada. The vote of May 20 by the Lithuanian Parliament is important, because Lithuania is the first country that is part of the Belt and Road Initiative to take such a brave stand on the Uyghur genocide.

Department of State Religious Freedom Report: China Is Guilty of “Crimes against Humanity”

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.”

Xinjiang Genocide Deniers: Hyper-Cautious Scholars or Useful Idiots?

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.

Church of Almighty God Refugees: Why They Should Be Granted Asylum

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.

Church of Almighty God: 750 Arrested in Three Months

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.

The World's Youngest Political Prisoner: Gedhun Choekyi Nyima

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.

China Keeps Being Accused of Genocide by Politicians All Over the World

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.

Diluting Tibetan Buddhism to Cancel an Entire People

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.

The EU Sanctions Chinese Officers for Xinjiang Atrocities, the CCP Reacts

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.”