The situation of religious liberty in China is the worst ever since the Cultural Revolution. At least one and a half million believers are in jail or in “Transformation Through Education” camps simply because of their faith. This clear message was presented in the European Parliament on June 27, at an event Freedom of Religion and Belief and The Right to Asylum: The Case of China, organized by Human Rights Without Frontiers and Czech European MP, Tomáš Zdechovský.
MP Zdechovský denounced how the voice of Europe is often too weak when dealing with the situation of human rights in China, and Dr. Aaron Rhodes, president of the NGO FOREF Europe, discussed the context of the widespread violation of religious liberty by the Chinese regime. Prof Massimo Introvigne, the editor-in-chief of Bitter Winter, explained how the dreaded camps of “transformation through education”work in China, and introduced the case of The Church of Almighty God, a Christian new religious movement whose members are systematically persecuted in China, with several documented issues of torture and extra-judicial killings. Lea Perekrests, deputy director of Human Rights Without Frontiers, presented many such cases that her organization has studied and documented. Rosita Soryte, deputy editor of Bitter Winter and president of the International Observatory of Religious Liberty of Refugees (ORLIR) and Eric Roux, president of EIFRF, discussed the paradox why asylum seekers from The Church of Almighty God, who are obviously persecuted in China, are often refused refugee status in Europe and elsewhere, based on wrong information about their Church and faulty interpretations of international conventions on refugees.
Thierry Valle, director of the ECOSOC-accredited NGO CAP-LC, mentioned the various initiatives NGOs, lawyers, human rights activists, and scholars, have launched to contrast the fake news spread by the Chinese propaganda about The Church of Almighty God and concluded that thanks to these initiatives, at least in some countries, more refugees are granted asylum. The well-attended initiative called the attention of the European Parliament on a situation that is becoming impossible to ignore.