by Leonard Behrens
On the 24th of March, Ellen Bork, Bob (Xiqiu) Fu, and Anastasia Lin gave a talk about the state of human rights in China, in particular with regards to the 27th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square protests. The event was chaired by Dr Andrew Foxall and was hosted by The Henry Jackson Society in Millbank Tower.
Commencing her talk, Ms Anastasia Lin recounted her experiences as a Toronto-based actress and how she came in contact-through her roles-with individuals who were facing the oppression of the Chinese regime through labour camps and similar means of oppression. She used her platform as a means to raise awareness of the significant issues faced in China.
Wanting to be a bridge between the West and China to confront these issues, Miss Lin was quickly designated a ‘persona non grata’ after attempting to re-enter China as a representative for Canada for Miss World 2015, having previously won Miss Canada in 2015. Finalizing her talk, Miss Lin emphasized the need for the West to further advance its criticism and be more vocal about the abuses taking place.
Following on, Mr Fu spoke on the oppression faced by religious groups in China. He pointed out how this persecution and the associated authoritarianism had gotten stronger since Xi Jinping came into office, and how arbitrary arrests, disappearances became increasingly more common. Accusations were being classified as ‘subversion of state power’, a crime that carried the greatest penalty.
The persecution described by Mr Fu extended to a campaign to demolish crosses in China. Furthermore, he pointed out how the freedom of the press was being heavily suppressed. As a result of these developments, Chinese civil society was greatly suffering.
Finalizing the talk, Ms Bork summarized some of the arguments being raised by the prior participants, emphasizing how an absent focus on universal values contributed to China’s current state of affairs, and how China was really experiencing a ‘democracy recession’.
Ms Bork also highlighted a recent speech given by the President of Germany, Joachim Gauck, in which he openly critiqued Communism, an approach that was the correct way to move forward with western criticism, but was still a bit too oblique.