Tag Archives: human rights abuses

Boycott of Beijing 2022 Winter Games

Visitors to Chongli, one of the venues for the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics, pass by the Olympics logo in Chongli in Hebei Province.

A coalition of 180 rights groups called for a boycott of next year’s Beijing Winter Olympics tied to reported human rights abuses against ethnic minorities in China.

The games are to open in one year, on February 4, 2022, and are set to go forward despite the pandemic.

The coalition is composed of groups representing Tibetans, Uighurs, Inner Mongolians, residents of Hong Kong, and others.

The group has issued an open letter to governments calling for a boycott of the Olympics “to ensure they are not used to embolden the Chinese government’s appalling rights abuses and crackdowns on dissent.”

 Rights groups have previously asked the Switzerland-based “International Olympic Committee” to move the games from China. The IOC has largely ignored the demands and says it’s only a sporting body that does not get involved with politics.

The groups said because of the Ionics inaction “it now falls on governments to take a stand and demonstrate that they have the political will to push back against China’s reprehensible human rights abuses.”

Beijing hosted the 2008 Olympics, which it promised would improve human rights in the country. Instead, the groups say the prestige of the Olympics has led to “a gross increase on the assault on communities living under its rule.”

The situation of the Uighurs in northwestern China has received most of the attention. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken reiterated on his first day in office that he believed “genocide” was being committed against Xinjiang’s ethnic minorities.

China has brushed off the criticisms as interference in its internal affairs and politicization of sports. It has reacted strongly to charges of genocide. One Chinese official called it the “lie of the century.”

Since 2016, China has swept a million or more Uighurs and other predominantly Muslim minorities into prisons and indoctrination camps that the state calls training centers, according to estimates by researchers and rights groups.

People have been subjected to “torture, sterilization, political indoctrination and forced labor” as part of an assimilation campaign, according to former residents and detainees, as well as experts and leaked government documents.

China at first “denied” the existence of the internment areas. It later acknowledged them, but denied any abuses and says the steps it has taken are necessary to combat terrorism and a separatist movement.

“The IOC refused to listen in 2008, defending its decision with claims that they would prove to be a catalyst for improved human rights,” the letter says.

As human rights experts predicted, this decision proved to be hugely misplaced; not only did China’s human rights record not improve but violations increased substantially without rebuke.

An ice sculpture of 2022 Winter Olympics mascot Bing Dwen Dwen and 2022 Winter Paralympics mascot Shuey Rhon Rhon is seen on Zhongyang Street (or Central Street) on December 28, 2020 in Harbin, Heilongjiang Province of China. (Photo by VCG/VCG via Getty Images)

Did Beijing Copy Disney’s ‘Let It Go’ for Its 2022 Winter Olympics Song Bid?
Republican Senators Introduce Resolution Urging for 2022 Winter Olympics to Be Moved out of China

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Beijing Bans BBC Broadcasts

BBC reports on Chinese internment camps in the western region of Xinjiang had drawn Beijing’s ire. Photo: AP

The Chinese government banned BBC from broadcasting on the Chinese mainland after the media outlet published stories about “human rights abuses” in China.

China’s National Radio and Television Administration said it rejected BBC’s broadcasting license for the next year due to “serious content violation” that “undermined China’s national interests and ethnic solidarity,” according to China Global Television Network (CGTN), an official regime mouthpiece.

CGTN accused the British broadcaster of spreading “disinformation and explicit propaganda” about China’s treatment of Uighur Muslims, the pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong, and other hot button issues.

“BBC’s only mission has turned to wage information war on China,” CGTN said. “When attacked, China defends itself. A news organization shouldn’t operate on a hard-line political agenda. An agency that does has no place, no right, no integrity to continue reporting in China.”

The BBC most recently published a bombshell report on the “systematic rape” of Uighur Muslims in Xinjiang camps, provoking the Chinese government into demanding an apology.

It remains unclear whether the broadcasting ban will place restrictions on BBC journalists’ ability to conduct reporting in China.  The Chinese government has frequently imposed sanctions on Western journalists who publish unflattering stories about China.

When the Wall Street Journal published an op-ed critical of China’s pandemic response in early 2020, Beijing responded by expelling three reporters working for the Journal.

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Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics

A new debate in the British Parliament calls to boycott the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics. A coalition forming to protest atrocities in Xinjiang offers hope that the CCP crimes will no longer be ignored.

The British government has Beijing roundly in its cross hairs following a debate in parliament urging sanctions over its treatment of Uyghurs. A petition garnering international support with almost 150,000 signatures precipitated the session, which was attended in person by members of parliament from every political party and corner of the British Isles, who spoke vehemently and persuasively of the need to act against China.

The number of debates and strength of feeling among members of the UK Parliament concerning atrocities meted out by the CCP against its citizens has grown in size and intensity over the past two years, since the scandal of organ harvesting of political prisoners was raised two years ago, and demands for sanctions have escalated.

Uyghur exiles asking, “Where are our relatives?” They have had no contact with their loved ones for more than three years.

This comes in the wake of another pivotal gathering of the UN Human Rights Council recently, where Germany on behalf of 39 countries made a statement, calling out Beijing’s treatment of Uyghurs and demanding “unfettered access” to the Xinjiang region, based on “increasing numbers of reports of gross human rights violations.”

Turkey stepped off its wavering fence this year, and joined opposition to Beijing with ambassador Feridun Hadi Sinirlioğlu expressing concern. “As a country having ethnic, religious and cultural ties with the Uyghur Turks, we have been particularly alarmed by the recently published reports and news on human rights practices against the Uyghur Turks and other Muslim minorities in Xinjiang,” he said.

Support for the Uyghurs in the UN has grown markedly since last year’s July assembly when only 22 nations opposed CCP’s policies. But Beijing was ready this year to counterattack, having primed a total of 70 countries to back them up. Pakistan had rallied 55 countries in support of China’s actions in Hong Kong, and Cuba 45 countries to support the CCP efforts in Xinjiang, with Kuwait making a parallel joint statement on behalf of three Gulf States.

China described attempts to “smear its human rights record” as doomed to failure. They were “despicable,” “poisonous,” and “standing on the wrong side of history,” they said, which echo strongly Xi Jinping’s conviction voiced recently that his policies on Xinjiang are successful and he was not going to back down.

Other international alliances have been forming in attempts to stem the tide of China’s relentless disdain for world opinion. In September, a coalition of 160 human rights groups delivered a letter to the “International Olympic Committee” (IOC) urging it to revoke Beijing’s hosting of the Winter Olympic Games. IPAC, the “Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China”, an international cross-party group of legislators working towards reform on how democratic countries approach China, headed by UK parliamentarian Sir Iain Duncan Smith, is also campaigning to see the sporting event moved.

Roadside posters leaving dissenters in no doubt of their fate should they demur.

A Washington Post editorial in September suggested that China should be stripped of the Winter Olympics. “The world must ask whether China, slowly strangling an entire people, has the moral standing to host the 2022 Winter Olympics,” it said. “We think not.”

Leading the UK debate in London, MP Chris Evans Islwyn, in the face of Beijing’s disregard of world opinion, urged for Magnitsky sanctions to be imposed by the UK on Chinese officials implicated in the Uyghur scandal. “The suffering that the Uyghur Muslims have undergone, and sadly continue to undergo is nothing short of horrifying,” he said, detailing the fears of the Diaspora now severed from their families, the harrowing tales of beatings, torture, rape and mass sterilizations, destruction of their language, culture and religion, and now the mass deportation of former camp detainees to work as forced laborers all over China making goods for Western brands.

“The image is dystopian,” he said. “The surveillance is total.” He went on, “Uyghur Muslims do not have the right to their religion, to their bodies, or to freedom of expression. The system is policed through directives given to officials in Xinjiang. The directives do not mention judicial procedures, but call for the detention of anyone who displays so-called ‘symptoms’ of radicalism or anti-Government views. The international community should be gravely concerned,” he urged.

Citing the US government’s implementation of Magnitsky sanctions against Russian human rights violators in 2012, and the UK’s own version devised earlier this year, he pointed out that already it had been used to sanction the killers of the Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who was murdered in the Saudi embassy in Istanbul, organizations implicated in forced labor in North Korea, and the very Russian officials who were allegedly involved in the mistreatment of Sergei Magnitsky in a Moscow jail.

“The Magnitsky sanctions are effective, because sterling is a valuable global currency to hold,” he pointed out. “By having their assets frozen in Britain, sanctioned individuals are unable to have assets or continue to do their business.” The remit of the sanctions include no longer being allowed to enter the country or to own residences, and encompass people who act on behalf of a state to violate other human rights, such as the right not to be subject to torture, the right to be free from slavery or forced labor and, above all, the right to life.

Without exception participants in the debate asked why Britain was dragging its heels on sanctions. “China is undeniably an economic powerhouse, but we cannot let its strength in world economics shield it so as to allow atrocities and human rights violations,” urged Chris Evans, concluding that the time to act had come.

The time for mere “outrage,” expressions of “grave concern,” and just speaking out against human rights abuses, was over, he suggested. “We have an abundance of evidence in the form of leaked documents, satellite imagery and the harrowing testimony of victims. We cannot continue to listen to the mounting evidence and do nothing substantial with it,” he said.

Ploughshares into medieval weaponry, for ordinary every-day folk in Xinjiang… now guarding each other.

Many of the British MP’s calling for action pointed to the USA, whose Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act of 2020 set a new bar for trade with China and goods produced with forced labor. Its Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act, passed overwhelmingly on September 22nd, went a step further to ensure that U.S. entities are not funding forced labor among ethnic minorities in the region. Imports that have even a hint of slavery in their supply chains, are banned under the new legislation and the UK MP’s demanded Britain follow suit.

Responding to a welter of persuasive rhetoric from thirteen other MPs demanding fearlessness and maintenance of moral high ground against Beijing’s bullying and subversive tactics vis a vis not only Uyghurs, but Tibetans and more recently Southern Mongolians, Nigel Adams, UK government Minister for Asia admitted that the British government was not blind to the atrocities. “We are committed to responding robustly to all human rights violations in Xinjiang,” he promised, citing the government’s leading role within the international community to hold China to account.

While remaining vague on an expansion of the scope of the UK Magnitsky provision to include China, which in the final analysis was in the hands of the UK Foreign Secretary, he went so far as to state, “China must immediately end extrajudicial detention in Xinjiang, and uphold the principles of freedom of religion or belief, freedom of speech, and freedom of association for every single one of its citizens.”

He confirmed that any action taken on behalf of the British Government against Beijing, would always be in the context of national values. “As the Prime Minister and Foreign Secretary have made clear, we want a positive relationship with China, but we will always act to uphold our values, our interests, and our national security. We are crystal clear with China when we disagree with its approach,” he stressed.

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China’s Religious Persecution

Outside a “vocational skills education center” in Dabancheng, Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, China, September 4, 2018 (Thomas Peter/Reuters)

Religious Persecution in China Must Be Called Out
By Olivia Enos & Emilie Kao

On the matter of religion in China, Beijing has made one thing perfectly clear: “No religious group lies beyond the grasp of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).”

Late last month, the Jamestown Foundation reported on a new CCP program of collectivization and reeducation in Tibet similar to the forced-labor campaign being carried out against “Uyghurs” in Xinjiang province. In 2020 alone, just under 600,000 rural Tibetans were subjected to this program of indoctrination and retraining for various forms of menial labor.

The military-style training program is accompanied by a labor-transfer program that redistributes workers to places other than their hometowns — often to places outside of Tibet. Rapid collectivization separates person from place, uprooting individuals from their heritage, replacing their native language with Mandarin, and reorienting and secularizing their religious traditions to conform with the tenets and goals of the CCP.

We have heard this story before. We will no doubt hear it again. Never does it have a happy ending.

In 2017 reports emerged that the CCP was collectivizing and interning Muslim Uyghurs in political reeducation facilities in China. Early estimates of a couple of hundred thousand having been placed in the camps were quickly revised to reflect the true picture: camps holding approximately 1.8 million Uyghurs.

The blessed few who have been released subsequently shared stories of hearing the screams of neighbors down the hall being tortured, of receiving forced injections that left them sterilized, and other horrors.

Like Tibetans, Uyghurs are also subject to forced labor. Among those not yet taken to political reeducation camps, well-educated Uyghurs are being forced out of their white-collar jobs and into blue-collar labor. And they, too, have been subject to systematic labor transfers.

The CCP’s coercive measures to restrict family size among Uyghurs have raised concerns that Beijing’s ultimate goal is to significantly limit, or perhaps altogether eliminate, the next generation. Its targeted policy of forced sterilization and forced implantation of IUD’s, combined with its brutal practice of forced abortions and infanticide, have already moved in that direction. There are also reports of Uyghur children being torn from their families and forced into state-run boarding schools. Coercive reproductive limits and the transfer of children from one group to another may constitute genocide or crimes against humanity.

The CCP has long viewed independent “religious practice” as a threat to its rule. While the Party doesn’t seek to eliminate religion, it does seek to supplant the place religion holds in the hearts and minds of its adherents. And if it cannot supplant it, it tries to co-opt it, at the very least.

Persecution of persons of faith has intensified under Xi Jinping’s policy of “Sinicization”, which aims to secularize religion to ensure that it advances the CCP’s goals. The policy accomplishes this, in part, through setting up state-sanctioned religious institutions that moderate and even modify the ways in which people of all religions practice their faith.

Under “Sinicization”, regulation of and outright interference with religious practice have intensified. Christians have seen crosses torn down from atop churches, church buildings demolished, and pastors, like Pastor Wang Yi of Early Rain Covenant Church, imprisoned.

Chinese Catholics watched their leaders strike a deal with Beijing two years ago, giving the CCP a say on the appointment of bishops in China. And just recently, it was reported that government-issued high-school textbooks altering a Bible story to turn one of Jesus’s key teachings on its head: “After inducing others not to cast stones at a woman who has sinned, Jesus himself stones her.”

Other religious movements have fared no better. Reports abound that members of “Falun Gong”, a spiritual movement founded in the 1990s, were subjected to “organ harvesting and extrajudicial imprisonment.”

Although not persecuted as severely as the Uyghur Muslims, Hui Muslims have not escaped unscathed. They, too, have seen their mosques closed and religious practices curtailed.

While the CCP may target each group for unique reasons, what motivates its anti-religious actions in general is the threat it believes religion poses to its authority. It thus views “religious persecution” as being essential to its internal stability.

Recognizing the importance the CCP places on restricting religious practice should inform the responses of the U.S. government and the international community.

China is one of the world’s most egregious violators of internationally recognized human rights. Yet last spring it was appointed to one of the five seats on the U.N. human-rights panel that selects experts who report on places like Xinjiang and Tibet. And, with that appointment, Beijing is now poised to take one of the 47 seats on the U.N. Human Rights Council.

China’s violations of religious freedom at home are completely at odds with the norms of international human rights espoused by the United Nations. Should China take the helm of the Human Rights Council, those norms could be altered beyond recognition.

No matter who wins the presidential election this November, religious freedom must continue to be a core priority of American foreign policy. Last week, 39 countries signed a statement at the U.N. General Assembly calling out China’s abuses in Xinjiang; this was the fruit of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s work. The U.S. government must continue to lead the way in this effort and in calling for the release of all political prisoners, including those interned for their religious beliefs.

Upholding the right of all people to live out their closely held beliefs is essential to the preservation of freedom, peace, and security. Defending “religious freedom” is also a critical element in countering the schemes that China and like-minded governments devise to cement and increase their power, which entail human-rights violations as severe as genocide and crimes against humanity.

Olivia Enos is a senior policy analyst in the Heritage Foundation’s Asian Studies Center. Emilie Kao is the director of the think tank’s DeVos Center for Religion and Civil Society.

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Pastor Wang Yi Sentencing

Pastor Wang Yi and wife Jiang Rong. (China Aid)

The sentencing of pastor Wang Yi to “nine years” in prison for “subversion” and “illegal business activities” shows how authorities in China are increasingly “intolerant” of unregistered churches, sources said.

Pastor Wang of “Early Rain Covenant Church” in Chengdu, capital of southwestern China’s Sichuan Province, was sentenced in closed-door proceedings for “inciting subversion of state power,” authorities announced on Monday, December 30, 2019.

As part of his sentence, Pastor Wang will have about $7,200 of his assets seized and be “stripped of political rights” for three years, according to a government statement.

“This is a pure case of unjust religious persecution against a peaceful preacher of a Chinese reformed church,” Bob Fu, president of advocacy organization “China Aid Association” (CAA), said in a press statement.

“This grave sentence demonstrates President Xi Jinping’s regime is determined to be the enemy of universal values and religious freedom. We call upon the international community to stand up to the Chinese Communist Party and hold this evil regime accountable.”

“Public security officials have also required many of the church’s members to meet with them five times a day,” he added.

Security personnel had arrested Pastor Wang and more than 100 members of his church in a December 9, 2018 raid; most of them have been released, while Pastor Wang’s wife and child remained under house arrest.

Early Rain Covenant Church elder Qin Defu was sentenced to four years in prison on November 29, according to China Aid. Qin was charged with illegal business operations as a result of the church using 20,000 Christian books, according to CAA. The convictions of him and Pastor Wang for “illegal business activity” are reportedly related to the church printing and distributing Christian books.

Church members were “tortured” to obtain information, to compel them to make false accusations against Pastor Wang and to fabricate evidence that he “colluded with foreigners to incite subversion of state power,” according to “Bitter Winter,”  a daily publication on “human rights” in China based in Italy.

“The fabricated evidence has now been used. The court was surrounded by armed police, and both relatives of the pastor and Early Rain Church members were prevented from entering,” Bitter Winter reported in a December 30th article.

“Apparently, Wang Yi’s influence in China’s house churches scared the Chinese Communist Party. He was among the initiators of the joint statement by pastors denouncing the persecution of house churches in China.”

The harsh sentence confirms that new regulations on religious affairs that came into effect in 2018 are aiding in a systematic crackdown on house churches, according to Bitter Winter. Unregistered churches are no longer tolerated as merely part of a “gray market,” a segment of society including churches, mosques and temples that refuse to join official Chinese religious organizations and not listed as “Xie Jiao” prohibited entities to be severely punished as they are seen as hostile to the CCP.

“Either they join the government-controlled Three-Self Church, or they are suppressed. As Pastor Wang Yi said himself, the persecution of Christians under Xi Jinping is the most horrendous evil in Chinese society.

Pastor Wang was a “human rights” activist and a “constitutional scholar” before becoming a pastor.

Under the new religion regulations, house churches have been forced to “dissolve” if they refuse to register, according to an attorney quoted in The Epoch Times, adding that those registering are subject to surveillance, monitoring of sermons and other heavy-handed measures.

The U.S. State Department included China among 10 countries designated as “Countries of Particular Concern” for severe religious rights violations.

China ranked 23th on Christian support organization Open Doors’ 2020 World Watch List of the 50 countries where it is most difficult to be a Christian.

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China’s Forced Abortions

Forced Abortions Continue in China Under “Two-Child Policy.”’

The Congressional Executive Commission on China has released its 2017 Report, which contains documentation of continued “forced abortion” under China’s Two-Child Policy.

“Chinese authorities continue to actively promote and implement coercive population planning policies that violate international standards,” the Congressional Report declares in its section titled “Population Control.”

The two-child policy regulations “include provisions that require couples to be married to have children and limit them to bearing two children,” with coercive population control at the heart of enforcement of the new regulations, it states.

“Officials continue to enforce compliance with population planning targets using methods including heavy fines, job termination, arbitrary detention, and coerced abortion,” the report states.

Some provincial-level Chinese population planning rules continue to explicitly instruct officials to carry out abortions, often referred to as “remedial measure” for “out-of-plan” illegal pregnancies, with some provinces urging functionaries to “use all means necessary” in enforcing the regulations.

When China announced that it was “abandoning” its draconian one-child policy in 2015, the claim was met with skepticism among critics, who contended that the move substantially changed nothing, since the communist government still asserts “absolute control” over families and will continue to “enforce” its will with coercion.

Critics such as Reggie Littlejohn, founder and president of Women’s Rights Without Frontiers, have said that the new Congressional Report vindicates their warnings at the time. Littlejohn told Breitbart News: “Under the Two-Child Policy, single women are still forcibly aborted, as are third children.”

Back in 2015, Littlejohn remarked that any mention of human rights was “noticeably absent” from the Communist party’s announcement. “Even though it will now allow all couples to have a second child, China has not promised to end forced abortion, forced sterilization, or forced contraception, she said.

The news media at the time bought into the story that China had “abandoned” or “scrapped” its One-Child Policy, a depiction that Littlejohn called “demonstrably false.”

The new report also states that the sex ratio at birth reported by the Chinese government themselves indicates that the selective abortion of “baby girls” continues unabated under the new policy.

Although Chinese authorities continue to officially frown on sex-selective abortion, “some people reportedly continue the practice in response to government imposed birth limits and in keeping with a traditional cultural preference for sons,” the report declares.

According to a National Bureau of Statistics Report, the sex ratio at birth in 2015 was 113.5 males born for every 100 females born, a disproportion that could only be achieved through “sex-selective” abortion.

Years of such sex-selective “favoring” of boys has resulted in an estimated 33 to 37 million more males living in China than females.

This imbalance is fueling sex trafficking from multiple nations into China “for forced marriage or commercial sexual exploitation” to help fill the gender gap.

“China’s Two-Child Policy continues the human rights abuses and gender-based violence of the One-Child Policy,” Littlejohn stated, while noting that “China remains firmly on the path to demographic disaster” due to its dangerously low birthrate.

China “should be offering incentives for couples to have babies, not forcibly aborting ‘illegal’ pregnancies,” Littlejohn added.

Chinese Mother Forced Into Abortion
Stop Forced Abortion! An Open Letter to Xi and Obama
The Consequences of Forced Abortions
Corpse Brides, Forced Abortions

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