|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.