Taiwan Keynote: Luke de Pulford

​Shared by Lord Alton of Liverpool

Understating the scale of global religious persecution; the central importance of religious freedom and its impact on human trafficking and other violations of human rights.   I asked Lord Alton to set the scene by giving you an overview of the global phenomenon of religious persecution. 

The Attempted Shutdown of China’s Christians

By Nina Shea
Nina Shea is a Board Member of TAS

In Three-Self Protestant churches in China last Christmas, robed choir members again raised their voices in song, but this time their music was not traditional carols and hymns of praise to God. It was “My Motherland and I” and other anthems of homage to the Chinese Communist Party. In the Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association (PCA) churches, the Virgin Mary’s pictures are being replaced with portraits of President Xi Jinping, while half of China’s 98 dioceses remain without a bishop nearly two years after the signing of the Sino–Vatican provisional agreement.   Click here to read​​​

The unprecedented scale of anti-Christian persecution in Asia

​By  John Pontifex 

When an elderly Christian woman in a village in India’s Tamil Nadu state was beaten by extremists, her attackers defended their actions by saying that she had defiled the road by walking on it during a Hindu festival. A dozen Christians who tried to rescue her were also injured when the extremists threw stones at them.   Investigating the reasons for this outbreak of anti-Christian hatred shines a light not just on the problem in India but also elsewhere in the region, where the complex range of threats has shifted dramatically to pose a unique challenge to the faithful.    
Click here to read

Asia is ‘new hotbed of Christian persecution’ with situation in China worst since Cultural Revolution, report claims

​By Charles McDermid

Nearly 140 million Christians suffered high levels of persecution in Asia last year, according to a new report, which described the situation facing the faith in China as the worst since the Cultural Revolution.  The annual Open Doors World Watch List, released on Wednesday, said Asia is “the new hotbed of persecution for Christians”.   It noted a sharp increase in the persecution of Christians in Asia over the past five years – but with a dramatic spike in 2018, driven by the likes of a rise in Hindu ultra-nationalism in India, radical Islamism in Indonesia and tougher religious regulations in China.   Click here to read

China Cracks Down on Christians

​By Nina Shea & Bob Fu  

Nina Shea is a Board Member of TAS

Zion Church in Beijing is the largest in China’s burgeoning Protestant underground. In September, the 11-year-old house church was sealed shut by the government.  Its crime? Zion’s pastor, Dr. Ezra Mingri Jin, a graduate of Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California, had rejected an intolerable Chinese Communist Party (CCP) directive to mount face-recognition cameras on his pulpit, turned on the congregation. For his refusal, the pastor and virtually all of Zion’s 1,500 members have been detained, searched and questioned by public security – some more than once.  Click here to read

China's Han Superstate: The New Third Reich

​By  Gordon G. Chang

More than a million people, for no reason other than their ethnicity or religion, are held in concentration camps in what Beijing calls the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region and what traditional inhabitants of the area, the Uighurs, say is East Turkestan. In addition to Uighurs, ethnic Kazakhs are also held in these facilities.   Families in this troubled area, shown on maps as the northwestern portion of the People's Republic of China, are being torn apart. ​  Click here to read​​​

Philippines: Christians Slaughtered, Churches Bombed

​By  Raymond Ibrahim

On Sunday, January 27, extremist Muslims bombed a Catholic cathedral during Mass in the Philippines. At least 20 people were killed and 111 wounded.   At 8:45 am, two explosives were detonated about a minute apart in or near the Cathedral of Our Lady of Mount Carmel in Jolo. According to the Associated Press: 

"The initial explosion scattered the wooden pews inside the main hall and blasted window glass panels, and the second bomb  hurled  human  remains and debris across a town square fronting the Cathedral of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, witnesses said."
Click here to read

British and Pakistan Governments and the Commonwealth Challenged In The British Parliament To Champion the Persecuted Minorities Of Pakistan; to uphold the ideals of Muhammad Ali Jinnah; and for Prince William to meet the minorities during his forthcoming visit.

​By Lord Alton of Liverpool

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the relationship between their aid programmes and human rights and the treatment of minorities in Pakistan, and in particular the case of Asia Bibi.  My Lords, Pakistan’s illustrious and enlightened founder, Muhammad Ali Jinnah, crafted a constitution which promised to uphold plurality, famously saying:  “You may belong to any religion, caste or creed—that has nothing to do with the business of the State” 
and that ... 
 Click here to read​​​

The Vatican’s Agreement With China Looks Even Worse Now

​By Nina Shea

Nina Shea is a Board Member of TAS

Two months out, the China-Holy See provisional agreement on episcopal appointments is proving to be yet another tool for Beijing to suppress the Chinese faithful. And its damage goes even deeper than the Chinese government’s selection of Catholic bishops, as critical as that is for the hierarchically structured Roman Catholic Church.   In asserting state control over religion, Chinese President Xi Jinping continues the harshest crackdown since the Cultural Revolution against all religions, the Catholic Church included, as documented by the Congressional-Executive Commission on China. Meanwhile, the agreement gives the Chinese regime moral cover and provides it with new opportunities for influencing religious matters at home and in Rome.  Click here to read

History tells us that regimes die from their own poison after gagging the press

By  Lord Alton of Liverpool

When a frightened regime has to crush the media, and even has to arrest participants over a candlelit vigil, it tells you all you need to know. But history teaches us that such regimes ultimately die from their own poison. Courageous people like Jimmy Lai, whom I have met, are the antidote to that poison.   This week, the Hong Kong administration has yet again used the new national security law to send shock waves across the world. Pro-democracy media tycoon Jimmy Lai has been arrested, along with six of his colleagues, and his Apple Daily newsroom has been raided. Click here to read​​​

Hong Kong Poll shows growing support for the pro democracy movement

By  Lord Alton of Liverpool

Reuters have published a new poll of attitudes of people in Hong Kong. It shows that a  growing majority of people in Hong Kong support the pro-democracy movement’s goals after China introduced a national security law for the city, but backing for the protest movement was a smaller, at 44%.   The poll also  found nearly 60% of people were opposed to the security law, up from about 57% in HKPORI’s previous survey in June, when few of the details were known. Click here to read​​​

Under a renewed Sino-China agreement, the Chinese Catholic Church will wither

By Nina Shea
Nina Shea is a Board Member of TAS

The Vatican is aiming to renew its secret provisional agreement with China as Chinese President Xi Jinping’s regime becomes more totalitarian and ruthless.   Since the Sino-Vatican deal was originally signed on Sept. 22, 2018, China has carried out genocidal atrocities against Uighur Muslims, breached its treaty with the United Kingdom on Hong Kong’s sovereignty, and deceived the world about the coronavirus. For Pope Francis, nothing should speak to Beijing’s bad faith and contempt for human dignity louder than the regime’s recent treatment of the Chinese Catholic Church itself.

Two years ago, Hong Kong Cardinal Joseph Zen stirred controversy by warning that the provisional agreement’s silence on the rights of its unregistered churches would allow China to “succeed in eliminating the underground church with the help of the Vatican.” If anything, his prediction underestimated the crisis. Both underground and official church branches, comprising 12 million faithful, are being quietly suffocated while the Vatican cheerfully partners with Beijing in horticultural and art shows.   
Click here to read

Hong Kong begins life under a new Chinese national-security law

The Economist

IF CHINA’S RULERS hoped the new national-security law they have imposed on Hong Kong late on June 30th would immediately cow its critics there into silence, they have been proved wrong. Protests to mark July 1st, the anniversary of the handover of the territory from British to Chinese sovereignty in 1997, defied both the law and a ban this year on what has become an annual event. So the first arrests under the law came almost at once.   Click here to read​​​

Nigel Adams MP, the UK Government Asia Minister, highlights the persecution of Christians, Muslims, Buddhists, Falun Gong practitioners and others in China

​By Lord Alton of Liverpool

We remain deeply concerned about the persecution of Christians, Muslims, Buddhists, Falun Gong practitioners and others on the grounds of their religion or belief in China. The freedom to practise, change or share ones faith or belief without discrimination or violent opposition is a human right that all people should enjoy. We believe that societies which aim to guarantee freedom of religion or belief are more stable, prosperous and more resilient against violent extremism.   ​   Click here to read​​​

Jimmy Lai’s arrest vividly illustrates the way in which the  Chinese Communist Party will use its new Security Law to drive a stake into the very heart of Kong Kong’s freedoms and liberties

By  Lord Alton of Liverpool

Freedom of press stripped to “terrorise and engender fear” in Hong Kong    -   The All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Hong Kong have condemned the arrest of pro-democracy media owner Jimmy Lai, as well as 6 of his colleagues and the raid of the Apple Daily newsroom, in Hong Kong under the National Security Law. The APPG, Co-Chaired by parliamentarians Baroness Bennett and Alistair Carmichael MP, believe this move is a fundamental denial of press freedom that has been used to “drive a stake into the very heart of Hong Kong’s freedoms and liberties”.  Click here to read​​​

Do Not Trade with a China that Lies, Cheats, and Steals 

​By Gordon G. Chang

"This won't revolutionize the U.S.-China relationship or the terms of trade between us, but it shows that the two countries can work together on an important issue," said Clete Willems of Akin Gump to Bloomberg, referring to President Trump's "phase one deal" announced October 11. "Learning to do so is critical to avoid a broad deterioration of all aspects of our relationship, which is not in anyone's long-term interest."   Despite what Willems said, it now is in the long-term interest of the United States to walk away from trade deals with the People's Republic of China.    Click here to read​​​

Do Not Support China's Huawei, Cripple It Instead

​By Gordon G. Chang

China, with control of 5G, will be in a position to remotely manipulate the world's devices. In peacetime, Beijing could have the ability to drive cars off cliffs, unlock front doors, and turn off pacemakers. In war, Beijing could paralyze critical infrastructure.   
Click here to read

Pakistan’s blasphemy ordeal

​By Farahnaz Ispahani

Barely two weeks after Pakistani Christian Asia Naureen (usually referred to as Asia Bibi), whose ordeal over false blasphemy charges attracted international attention, was allowed to leave the country, Pakistan’s blasphemy laws claimed new victims.  Click here to read​​​

Cardinal Zen: 'No confidence' in HK religious freedom after new security law

By CNA Staff

Cardinal Joseph Zen, the bishop emeritus of Hong Kong, has warned that new security laws in the province could lead to a clampdown on religious freedom.  In a series of videos posted Tuesday on the Facebook page “Catholics Concerned about the Hong Kong National Security Law Group,” Zen said that he had “no confidence” in religious freedom protections in the new security law.   On May 28, the Chinese legislature approved a resolution imposing “security laws” on Hong Kong.  Click here to read​​​

The Vatican’s Unholy China Deal

​By William McGurn

The Catholic Church in China is being “murdered” while the Vatican stands idly by. So alleged Cardinal Joseph Zen in an appeal he sent to the world’s 223 cardinals in September but only recently made public.   This columnist caught up with the cardinal on Thursday in New York. He was just back from Washington, where Speaker Nancy Pelosi presented him with the Chinese Democracy Champion Prize on behalf of the Wei Jingsheng Foundation. Asked about his talk of “murder,” he doubles down.... Click here to read​​​ (Subscription may be required)

359 'People Were in Pieces!'  Sri Lanka: Islamist Terror on Easter   

​By Raymond Ibrahim

Eight separate explosions took place, at least two of which were suicide bombings: three targeted churches celebrating Easter Sunday Mass; four targeted hotels frequented by Western tourists in connection with Easter holiday; and one blast in a house, which killed three police officers during a security operation.    ​  Click here to read​​​

Target government aid at Pakistan's persecuted minorities

​By Lord Alton of Liverpool

Next week the Lords will have a short debate on the plight of Pakistan’s minorities, whose shocking treatment came into sharp focus through the case of Asia Bibi – wrongly condemned to death and incarcerated for nine years under Pakistan’s Blasphemy laws. Pakistan’s Ahmadis, Christians, Hindus, and other minorities – like the last remaining 4,000 Kalash, clinging to a precarious existence in three remote valleys of Pakistan – all face shocking persecution and discrimination.    Click here to read​​​

Catholics Pray Outside Their Shut Down Churches

​By An Xin

To push all believers under its control, the Chinese government is closing down all churches that refuse to join the Patriotic Catholic Church.   By January 16, over ten Catholic churches have been closed in the county-level city Fu’an, administered by Ningde city in the southeastern province of Fujian. All of them refuse to register with the Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association (CPCA) and belong to the Diocese of Mindong, part of Fuzhou Archdiocese, where numerous churches have been shut down over the past year.   
Click here to read​​​ 

China isn’t only an oppresssor in Hong Kong. It’s a threat to all of us. Here’s how to respond.

​By Luke de Pulford 

Armistice Day 2019 will surely be remembered as a threshold moment in the history of Hong Kong.  In the early hours of Monday morning, traffic police fired live rounds into the chests of two protestors at Sai Wan Ho. Instead of putting one of those students into the recovery position, the police manhandled the body of the kid who had been shot, trying to force his limp frame to sit up straight.     Click here to read​​​

In describing the courageous Jimmy Lai as a contemporary “man for all seasons” – the WSJ says that ” When a billionaire becomes a dissident, the takeover of Hong Kong is complete”.

By  Lord Alton of Liverpool

When a frightened regime has to crush the media, and even has to arrest participants over a candlelit vigil, it tells you all you need to know. But history teaches us that such regimes ultimately die from their own poison.   Click here to read​​​

New Hong Kong laws will have 'no effect' on religious freedom says cardinal

​By CNA Staff

Cardinal John Tong Hon, the apostolic administrator of the Diocese of Hong Kong, has rejected concerns that new security and sedition laws for the province pose a risk to religious freedom.  ​   Click here to read​​​

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