The HJS Virtual Event Series: ‘Religious Freedom in China: A Spotlight on Repression’ – Thursday 16th July, 4pm-5.30pm (BST)

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The HJS Virtual Event Series: ‘Religious Freedom in China: A Spotlight on Repression’ – Thursday 16th July, 4pm-5.30pm (BST)

16th July 2020 @ 4:00 pm - 5:30 pm

China today is facing the worst crackdown on human rights since the Tiananmen massacre in 1989. Across the board, basic freedoms are severely restricted and human rights widely and systematically violated by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). But there is one freedom which is experiencing, arguably, the worst repression since the Cultural Revolution, and that is freedom of religion or belief. From mass atrocities and the surveillance state deployed against Uyghur Muslims to continuing repression in Tibet, from the intensification of restrictions on Christianity to the persecution of Falun Gong, from the disappearance or imprisonment of religious leaders and human rights defenders to the destruction of places of worship, the Chinese regime’s campaign against religion is severe – but too often overlooked.

It is essential to see the situation in the round – and urgently address the crisis facing freedom of religion in China today. Understanding this crisis is important for Western governments to determine how to deal with China on human rights. But it bears on many other aspects of China’s foreign relations as well – because it reflects the fundamental motivation and objectives of the Chinese Communist Party-state.

This event will be jointly hosted by Benedict Rogers, East Asia Team Leader of the international human rights organisation CSW, and Matthew Henderson, Director of the Asia Studies Centre at The Henry Jackson Society. They are delighted to welcome Sonam Tsering Frasi, Representative of HH the Dalai Lama at the Office of Tibet in London, and Dolkun Isa, President and co-founder of the World Uyghur Congress to this event.

To establish the context, Matthew Henderson will comment briefly on the Chinese regime’s underlying attitude to religion and reasons for repressing it. Benedict Rogers will then report on the repression of Christianity, and on issues regarding Hong Kong. Following this, Sonam Tsering Frasi and Dolkun Isa will each provide updates and insights into religious repression in their communities under China’s control. The event will then be opened up for a Q&A session.

Mr Sonam Tsering Frasi was born in Rawang, Ngari, Tibet in 1954. He is the Representative of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the Central Tibetan Administration at the Office of Tibet in London. The office of Tibet represents Tibetan affairs in the UK, Ireland, Northern Europe, Poland and Baltic States. He is a former member of the Tibetan Parliament in Exile representing the Tibetans in Europe from 2001 to 2011. During his term in office as Member of Tibetan Parliament he initiated and was instrumental in pioneering the exchange programme of British MPs and Tibetan Parliamentary delegations between London and Dharamsala. He is also a member of the Tibetan Task Force for negotiation on Sino-Tibetan dialogue. In order to bring the Tibetan issue on the international stage and prominence, he was involved in the organisation of the International Lawyers Conference on Tibet in 1993, which looked at the legal position of Tibet in International law and the conference of Sino-Tibetan dialogue for finding common grounds in 1997.

He was awarded the Fellowship of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales specialising in accounting and audits, Taxation, commercial and corporate laws. He is a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants, Institute of Directors, the Royal Institute of International Affairs (Chatham House) and the Royal Society of Astronomy. He served the Tibetan community in Britain as its Treasurer as well as Chairman.

Dolkun Isa, current President and co-founder of the World Uyghur Congress and Vice-President of the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organisation (UNPO). He is a former student-leader of the pro-democracy demonstrations in East Turskistan in 1988. After enduring persecution from the Chinese government, Isa fled China in 1994 and sought asylum in Europe, and became a citizen of Germany in 2006.  Since fleeing China, Mr. Isa has dedicated his life to advocating for the rights of the Uyghur people.

Dolkun Isa has consistently advocated for the rights of the Uyghur people and has raised the issue in the United Nations, the institutions of the European Union and in individual states and other international fora.

Benedict Rogers is a human rights activist and writer based in London. He is the East Asia Team Leader at the international human rights organisation CSW, where he specialises in China, North Korea, Burma and Indonesia. He is also the co-founder and Chair of Hong Kong Watch, co-founder and Deputy Chair of the UK Conservative Party Human Rights Commission and a member of the advisory group of the Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China (IPAC). He is the author of six books and a regular speaker and contributor to international media, including The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The New York Post, The Spectator, The Diplomat, The Catholic Herald, and others. He has an MA in China Studies from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) in London, and has lived and worked in China, Hong Kong, Timor-Leste and Washington, DC. He has testified in the UK Parliament, the European Parliament, the US Congress, the Japanese Parliament and the UN and speaks at conferences around the world.
You can RSVP for your tickets HERE


16th July 2020
4:00 pm - 5:30 pm


United Kingdom


Henry Jackson Society
+44 (0) 20 7340 4520


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