TAIWAN: International forum on the eve of Taiwan’s Judicial Day – HRWF director’s address

International forum on the eve of Taiwan’s Judicial Day

HRWF’s address by Willy Fautré, director

 

HRWF (21.01.2021) – Thank you for giving me the floor on this important judicial day in Taiwan. I’m assuming that quite a number of people in Europe and North America watching this conference may not know the history of the Judicial Day commemorated in Taiwan. The origin of the Judicial Day goes back to the time of the Republic of China before the Communist Party took over in 1949. The Judicial Day dates back to the 11th of January 1943, when the Republic of China recovered sovereignty of its judicial system through a treaty with the United States and the United Kingdom, which ended the extraterritoriality of their national judicial system in China. This historical day is particularly meaningful for all Chinese and provides an opportunity for bar associations, human rights NGOs, and all citizens in Taiwan to push their government for judicial reform.

 

Along these lines, another anniversary was commemorated two weeks ago in the United Kingdom: the martyrdom of Thomas Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury 850 years ago. Thomas Becket was forced to forfeit all his property and flee the country because he dared defy the king in a matter that would have made the church subservient to the state. Years later, after the intervention of the Pope, Thomas Beckett was allowed to return to England. However, he continued to resist the King’s oppressive interference in church affairs. And finally, the king had had enough of Thomas Beckett’s defense of religious faith, and reportedly exclaimed, “Will no one rid me of this meddlesome priest?” This statement led to the assassination of Thomas Beckett, by knights of the king in the Cathedral of Canterbury.

 

The fate of Tai Ji Men presents some similarities with the ordeal of Thomas Beckett. Tai Ji Men also followed its conscience when the state of Taiwan started to persecute this movement through the National Tax Administration in the early 1990s. Tai Ji Men believed in the rule of law, and successfully challenged in the courts the state’s attempts to force it to pay undue taxes.

 

Taiwanese citizens need safeguards against abuses of the law by the state – its administrations and its public servants. According to public polls, they feel that they are not protected, and their perception of the judiciary is rather negative.

 

In July 2019, the Judicial Yuan released the results of a judicial public opinion survey. Surprisingly, only 27% of the public were satisfied with the judicial system. Those who were dissatisfied were in the majority. According to theglobaleconomy.com, which publishes an annual country ranking about the state of the rule of law, Taiwan was ranked 28 out of 193 countries in 2019. However, laws can be good in Taiwan, but if law enforcement officials do not act in accordance with procedural justice and abuse their power, the state administrations and a deficient judiciary can cause suffering to the people, the deprivation of liberty and property. In the Tai Ji Men case, the problem was the tax administration and a prosecutor.

 

In the late August 2020, Taiwan’s National Taxation Bureau arbitrarily seized and auctioned properties that belonged to Dr. Hong, Tao-Tze, the founder and the spiritual leader of the Tai Ji Men. This intervention was allegedly due to tax bill dating back to 1992. Despite this bill having been successfully contested through Taiwanese courts, the latest move of the taxation bureau fits a 24 yearlong pattern of prejudice against Tai Ji Men and its spiritual leader. It is also a likely retaliation for several previous tax cases concerning Tai Ji Men that the taxation bureau lost in courts. Some suspect there was a profit-making objective behind this auction. First, officers of the National Tax Bureau normally receive a bonus based on the taxes they have collected. Second, officers of the Enforcement Agency also received a bonus from the enforcement results of the auction. And finally, government officers involved in the Tai Ji Men case, both at the National Tax Bureau and the Enforcement Agency received a bonus from handling the case. Some scholars suspect that the case against TJM was fabricated because of all these alluring bonuses.

 

The case of Tai Ji Men highlights the need for reform in the Taiwanese judicial system, especially the administrative litigation system. Our first recommendation at Human Rights Without Frontiers is to annul the bonus system as it creates incentives that can lead to undue fiscal and judicial harassment. Our second recommendation is to sanction those in state administrations and the judiciary, who are found to be negligent or to have abused their power.

 

And thank you for your attention during my presentation.

 

See the video extract of this forum: https://youtu.be/5ZF_txFLnNs

 

See Bitter Winter’s press release

https://bitterwinter.org/taxes-legal-reform-and-freedom-of-belief/




TURKMENISTAN: Another second-time jailing as a conscientious objector

By Felix Corley

Forum 18 (15.01.2021) – https://bit.ly/35SAyoMConscientious objectors increasingly face second prosecutions for continuing to refuse compulsory military service. On 11 January, a court in Lebap Region sentenced 20-year-old Jehovah’s Witness Ruslan Artykmuradov to two years in a strict regime labour camp, his second jailing on the same charges. On 30 December 2020, Danev District Prosecutor’s Office informed four other Jehovah’s Witnesses they face second prosecutions. All had offered to do an alternative, civilian service.

On 11 January, four weeks after his arrest, a court in Turkmenistan’s eastern Lebap Region sentenced 20-year-old Jehovah’s Witness conscientious objector Ruslan Artykmuradov to two years in a strict regime labour camp. He had told the Military Conscription Office that he was prepared to do an alternative, civilian service, but Turkmenistan does not offer this. Turkmenistan has rejected repeated United Nations calls to introduce such a service.

 

 

 

Judge Chemen Berdyeva of Sayat District Court handed down the harsher sentence as this is the second time the court has sentenced Artykmuradov to a jail term for refusing compulsory military service on grounds of conscience. He served a one-year ordinary regime jail term from August 2018 to August 2019 (see below).

Also in Lebap Region, Danev District Prosecutor’s Office informed four other Jehovah’s Witnesses on 30 December 2020 that criminal cases had been opened against them for refusing compulsory military service on grounds of conscience. All four had already been convicted and served sentences on the same charges. No dates have yet been set for any trials (see below).

Artykmuradov is the 25th conscientious objector to military service known to have been convicted and jailed since Turkmenistan resumed such jailings in January 2018, and one of nine currently jailed (listed at the end of this article). All of them are Jehovah’s Witnesses.

Including Bahtiyar Amirjanovich Atahanov (born 17 June 2000), who has been serving a jail term since July 2019, nine Jehovah’s Witness conscientious objectors are serving jail terms of between one and four years. Eight of them are imprisoned in Seydi Labour Camp in the eastern Lebap Region (see full list below).

An increasing number of conscientious objectors to military service are serving second sentences for the same “crime”. Of the nine current conscientious objector prisoners, the four serving second sentences, including Artykmuradov, are identified in the list at the end of this article (see below).

Officials of Sayat District Court and Sayat District Prosecutor’s Office refused on 14 January to explain to Forum 18 why Artykmuradov was being punished for the second time simply for offering to do an alternative civilian service rather than military service (see below).

 

 

Six Jehovah’s Witness conscientious objectors were freed from Seydi Labour Camp in 2020 after serving their sentences in full. The most recent was Eziz Dovletmuradovich Atabayev (born 15 March 1998), freed on 19 December 2020.

An official of the regime’s Commission for Work with Religious Organisations and Expert Analysis of Resources Containing Religious Information, Published and Printed Production said chief specialist Nasrullah ibn Ibadullah was not there and put the phone down. An official at the office of the regime-appointed Human Rights Ombudsperson Yazdursun Gurbannazarova put the phone down as soon as Forum 18 asked to speak to her (see below).

The telephones of Yusupgeldi Durdiyev, the Cabinet of Ministers official who chairs the government’s Commission controlling religious communities, and of Yusupguly Eshshayev, the regime-appointed Chair of the Mejlis (Parliament) Human Rights Committee, went unanswered each time Forum 18 called on 14 January (see below).

Jehovah’s Witnesses are conscientious objectors to military service and do not undertake any kind of activity supporting any country’s military. But they are willing to undertake an alternative, totally civilian form of service, as is the right of all conscientious objectors to military service under international human rights law.

Turkmenistan has ignored repeated international calls, for example by the United Nations Human Rights Committee, to introduce a genuine civilian alternative to compulsory military service, to stop prosecuting and punishing conscientious objectors, and to compensate those it has punished.

The UN Human Rights Committee has published 13 Decisions in favour of 15 conscientious objectors from Turkmenistan, all of them Jehovah’s Witnesses. In its most recent such Decision, published on 17 September 2019 (C/126/D/2302/2013), it ruled that the right to freedom of religion or belief of former conscientious objectors Juma Nazarov, Yadgarbek Sharipov, and Atamurad Suvhanov had been violated by their jailing (see below).

Asked why the regime is not willing to introduce a civilian alternative service in line with repeated United Nations (UN) recommendations, and why young men continue to be imprisoned, an official of the Foreign Ministry’s International Organisations Department told Forum 18 in August 2020 that Turkmenistan “is dealing with these bodies, including the UN”. He said he did not agree that Turkmenistan was failing to implement UN human rights recommendations (see below).

Another Jehovah’s Witness conscientious objector former prisoner, Arslan Begenchov, lodged a case to the UN Human Rights Committee in 2018 and is awaiting a decision (see below).

Jehovah’s Witnesses filed a complaint with the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention In May 2020 on behalf of 19 current or former jailed conscientious objectors. The 19 men include some of those currently imprisoned in Seydi Labour Camp, plus others who have been released after serving earlier sentences.

Other prisoners of conscience jailed for exercising the right to freedom of religion or belief – all of them Muslims – are serving far longer jail terms (see below).

 

Refused military service, ready to do alternative civilian service

Jehovah’s Witness conscientious objector Ruslan Khadynyaz oglu Artykmuradov (born 24 May 2000), who lives in the eastern Lebap Region, filed a written statement on 14 December 2020 with Sayat District Military Conscription Office refusing compulsory military service. He also filed a motion to Sayat District Prosecutor’s Office to terminate the case it had lodged against him under Criminal Code Article 219, Part 1. This punishes refusal to serve in the armed forces in peacetime with a maximum penalty of two years’ imprisonment or two years’ corrective labour.

Police arrested Artykmuradov on 15 December 2020 and took him to a police station. Three days later, officers transferred him to the pre-trial detention prison LB-E/9 (known as Abdy-Shukur) in the regional capital Turkmenabat. He was held there until his trial at Sayat District Court.

 

Two-year strict-regime jail term

 

On 11 January Artykmuradov was sentenced, four weeks after his arrest. Judge Chemen Berdyeva of Sayat District Court found him guilty under Criminal Code Article 219, Part 1. This punishes refusal to serve in the armed forces in peacetime with a maximum penalty of two years’ imprisonment or two years’ corrective labour.

Judge Berdyeva sentenced Artykmuradov to two years’ strict regime labour camp, Jehovah’s Witnesses told Forum 18. She handed down the harsher sentence as this is the second time the court has sentenced Artykmuradov to a jail term for refusing compulsory military service on grounds of conscience (see below).

On 14 January an official of Sayat District Court claimed to Forum 18 that Judge Berdyeva was not at the court. Asked when she would be available, he responded: “Tomorrow, maybe.” He then put the phone down.

The same day an official of Sayat District Prosecutor’s Office refused to explain to Forum 18 why Artykmuradov was being punished for the second time, simply for offering to do an alternative civilian service rather than military service. The official also refused to identify the prosecutor in the case and put the phone down.

 

No appeal, expected prison transfer

 

Artykmuradov chose not to appeal against his latest conviction, Jehovah’s Witnesses told Forum 18. The sentence will therefore soon enter legal force.

After holding Artykmuradov since 18 December 2020 at the pre-trial detention prison LB-E/9 in Turkmenabat, the prison authorities are expected to transfer him once the sentence is in force to a strict-regime labour camp. The most likely labour camp is at Seydi in Lebap Region, where the strict regime camp LB-E/11 is next to the ordinary regime labour camp LB-E/12 where the eight other jailed conscientious objectors are held (see below).

A prisoner died of coronavirus on 14 August 2020 in strict-regime labour camp LB-E/11, Turkmen.news noted on 24 August 2020. Government officials claim that the country has no coronavirus infections.

Prison authorities could send Artykmuradov to serve his sentence in the strict-regime labour camp MR-E/16 at Bayramali in Mary Region. Camp officials are known for high levels of corruption. After prison visits from relatives were banned in March 2020 because of coronavirus, prison guards began offering prisoners to buy food from them to make up for food parcels earlier brought by prisoners’ relatives, Turkmen.news noted on 19 November 2020.




SPAIN : Politicians condemn Xmas attack against evangelical church

 “Christ, Mary and Spain – Get out, Protestant and Lutheran rats”, read one of the signs hanging on the windows of an evangelical church in Santander. The bishop of Cantabria and several parties expressed their condemnation.

Protestante Digital  (11.01.2021) – https://bit.ly/3qz6BlQ – On 25 December, four bags with dead rats and three paper sheets with extremist Catholic messages appeared hanging on the façade of an evangelical church in the northern region of Cantabria (Spain).

 

The messages found early on Christmas day by members of the Iglesia Nueva Vida (New Life Church) of the city of Santander were: “Christ, Mary and Spain – Get out, Lutheran rats”, “God did not die on a cross to feed traitors like you”, “Catholic, Apostolic and Roman Spain: out Protestant and Lutheran rats”.

 

Pastor Julio García Celorio denounced what he described as a “hate crime” and shared images of the action on his social media. He also told Spanish news website Protestante Digital that there were no recent situations that could make the church think who or why this incident would have happened.

 

García Celorio is a well-known evangelical leader in the region of Cantabria who has been involved with prison ministries and is founder of an NGO that helps the re-integration of people at risk of social marginalisation. The church often works alongside public and private initiatives in the are of social justice. García is also the current President of the Evangelical Council of Cantabria.

 

Catholic bishop expresses “clearest condemnation”

 

Hours after the church reported the attack, the Spanish Evangelical Alliance condemned the attack, calling for religious freedom to be respected, and adding: “We will not respond to hate with hate. But to help a coexistence shaped by respect and dignity, it is needed that these incidents are condemned by those who have social, political and religious representation. We will personally contact those groups”.

 

The Bishop of Santander was one of the first to react to the incident, “our clearest rejection and condemnation to these actions which in no way can have place in a believer in Jesus Christ”. The statement, signed by Bishop Manuel Sánchez Monge, added that such actions “open wounds” between Christians and offered “all our support to all members of the Iglesia Nueva Vida and to its pastor (…) wishing that this time of Christmas brings us back to the essence of the gospel”

 

 

Unusual political support for the evangelical church

 

Three days after the incident, the President of the Cantabrian Parliament, Joaquín Gómez, received the pastor of New Life Church to express him the support of the Spanish authorities in the region.

 

Earlier, the national spokesperson of the People’s Party (Conservatives) in the Spanish Congress, Cuca Gamarra, wrote to the Spanish Evangelical Alliance condemning the “attack of heartless people against the temple of this evangelical church. Such incidents have no place in our society. Coexistence, tolerance and respect to plurality are common values through which we can find each other. Every aggression is a direct threat for our democratic values”.

 

The leader in Madrid of right-wing nationalist party Vox said on her Twitter profile that “religious freedom in Spain is threatened. These are the consequences of the silence of many in the face of the attacks by totalitarians against the fundamental rights”.

 

Members of Socialist Christians (a movement inside the ruling Social Democrat party) also reacted to the events, saying that “such events are the tip of an iceberg (…) The emergence of movements in the extremes is dominating the discourse in our country”, they lamented, a reality that “threatens our democracy”.

 

 

Photo: The messages printed on papers and three bags with dead rats found in the Nueva Vida evangelical church in Santander, on 25 December 2020. / Nueva Vida




DENMARK will ask all faith groups to translate sermons into Danish language

A new law aims to control the teaching of radical Islamic groups but evangelicals say it “will have negative consequences for many religious groups”.

 

Evangelical Focus (15.01.2021)- https://bit.ly/38Y8vGM – A draft law expected to be discussed in February could ask all religious groups in Denmark to have a Danish version of the sermons and messages delivered in their faith communities.

 

The government of Democrat Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen had promised to better control radical Islamist groups in the country whose teachings clash with the democratic values of the country. Over 270,000 Muslims live in Denmark and most of the sermons preached in mosques are in Arabic.

 

The government said the aim of the law is to “enlarge the transparency of religious events and sermons in Denmark, when these are given in a language other than Danish”.

The translation and publication in Danish language of all sermons should help control what ideas and values are preached across the country.

 

According to analysts, a majority of Dans would approve such a law. But critics (including human rights organisations) say the new law would restrict religious freedom, fuel more prejudices against faith groups, and threaten the rich cultural and linguistic diversity of Denmark.

 

In November, the Prime Minister admitted that she could not assure that an exemption would be approved for the religious groups in the Greenland and the Faroe Islands – two regions where the population speaks native languages apart from Danish.

 

German-speaking churches concerned

 

“There is much concern”, said Rajah Scheepers, the main pastor of German-speaking St. Petri church in Copenhagen, in a statement to Domradio transcripted by Livenet.ch. German-speaking Christians in Denmark have used their language in Danish churches for eight centuries. “We do not only hold services on Sundays, but also baptisms, weddings and funerals, throughout the week. It is not realistic to expect that we simultaneously translate all these gatherings or that we translate them in advance”.

 

Roman Catholics have also expressed their disapproval. The General Secretary of the Nordic Bishops Conference, Anna Mirijam Kaschne, told the Catholic News Service: “All church congregations, free church congregations, Jewish congregations, everything we have here in Denmark — 40 different religious communities — will be placed under general suspicion by this law… Something is happening here which is undermining democracy”.

 

She added: “If you really want to tackle problems of hate speech and attitudes to the democratic state, it’s much better to show appreciation for faith communities who are committed to integration”.

Question. Do you think such a law is needed to stop radical Islamism?

 

Answer. The law aims to protect our community from the growth of radical Islamism, but the law will probably not be effective in that regard. Radical groups tend to establish themselves on the margins, in a parallel society, and never apply for official recognition. I do not think a new law will affect them in any way.

 

  1. Will the law restrict religious freedom? What unwished consequences could it have for other faith groups?

 

  1. The law will have negative consequences for many religious groups, such as evangelicals, moderate Muslims, and other officially recognized communities who now have to spend time and money on translations. I do not consider the law a direct breach of international standards on freedom of religion or belief, but it is still a significant step in the wrong direction.

 

  1. What would you suggest to the government in helping the integration of all religious groups in Denmark?

 

  1. The first step is to acknowledge the role and potential of inter-religious dialogues and direct dialogue between the religious communities and the lawmakers. Legislators should seek constitutionally appropriate ways to explore the impact of religious practice on society and, where applicable, recognise its role.

 

Other reactions

 

Earlier in December, the Council of Churches of Denmark, which includes 58 faith Christian groups, had already expressed its opposition to the draft law considering it “discriminatory and ill-considered”.

 

According to Council, the rule reflected a “suspicion of denominations across a broad spectrum” and would impose “significant burdens on economically weak minority churches for no reason”.

Photo: A Danish flag. / Markus Winkler




RUSSIA: Special Bimonthly FORB Digest (01-15.01.2021)

16.01.2021 – Tatarstan bans books by Said Nursi, the Islamic theologian of dialogue

Said Nursi (1878-1960) sought a modernization of Islam through Sufism, in dialogue with science and with other religions. He also inspired Fethullah Gülen, now despised by the Turkish political leadership. The incomprehensible charge of “extremism” used to ban his works. In the past he had proposed an alliance with the patriarch of Constantinople against atheism.

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15.01.21 – What are the Court sentences for Jehovah’s Witnesses in Russia?

Link to full text in Russian: https://jw-russia.org/news/about/faq/7.html

Since 2017, hundreds of Russian Jehovah’s Witnesses have been wrongfully accused of extremism. How many sentences have they received? How many believers have been sentenced to actual imprisonment, suspended sentences, and fines? This updatable article publishes up-to-date data on victims of religious persecution in Russia.

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15.01.21 – Jehovah’s Witness loses appeal in Kirov

Link to full text in Russian: https://cutt.ly/1jYzFOs

Yesterday an appeal in the case of Anatoly Tokarev was considered in Kirov oblast court.

On 14 January, the oblast court made the decision to leave in force the verdict of the court of the first instance in the case of a Jehovah’s Witness (he had been sentenced to a fine of 500,000 rubles). We note here that the organization of Jehovah’s Witnesses is forbidden in the Russian Federation.

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14.01.21 – Anti-evangelism law enforced against Orthodox cleric

Link to full text in Russian: https://credo.press/235215/

The reason for the administrative prosecution and propaganda campaign in local and federal news media against the rector of the church of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul in the village of Sovetka of Rostov oblast, a cleric of the Suzdal diocese of the RPATs [Russian Orthodox Autonomous Church].

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12.01.21 – The FSB in Karachay-Cherkessia tried to find facts of involvement in the activities of Jehovah’s Witnesses among three residents of a mountain village

Link to full text in Russian: https://jw-russia.org/news/2021/01/1.html

On January 9, 2021 in the village of Mednogorsky (Karachay-Cherkessia), the FSB conducted an investigation of at least three apartments of believers: A.S., 34, S.G., 42, and I.P., 55. One elderly woman who was present had high blood pressure due to stress. She required urgent medical assistance.

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11.01.21 – Russian parliament views exempting religious bodies from financial oversight

Link to full text in Russian: http://www.interfax-religion.ru/?act=news&div=76502

The State Duma Committee on the Financial Market supported the draft bill that grants banks, insurance companies, and other organizations that work with monetary funds the right not to identify the benefactors of religious organizations, but it warns of possible risks of the use of the proposed rules by extremist organizations and its requests additional materials.

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07.01.21 – Moscow patriarch sees divine hand in Turkey’s actions

Link to full text in Russian: http://www.interfax-religion.ru/?act=news&div=76492

Patriarch of Moscow and all-Rus Kirill considers the recent transformation of the cathedral of Holy Wisdom (Hagia Sophia) into a mosque is providential. In his opinion, it was divine punishment of Patriarch of Constantinople Bartholomew for intensifying the schism in Ukraine.

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CHINA: Special weekly FoRB newsletter (09-15.01.2021)

News from Bitter Winter

14.01.21 – Chinese spies tried to create false “Uyghur terrorists” in Afghanistan

Ten Chinese agents were arrested and quietly expelled after trying to establish a false branch of the defunct East Turkestan Islamic Movement.

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13.01.21 – Akida’s story: The desperate cry of a Uyghur woman

 “Dear world, please help!” The heartrending plea of a daughter who has been searching in vain for her mother, folklorist Rahile Dawut, for the past three years.

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12.01.21 – British MPs, jewish leaders ask Twitter to block Chinese embassies’ accounts

They argue that CCP “wolf warrior” diplomats are “not less violent and active in spreading fake news than Trump.”

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 11.01.21 – China Tries to Disrupt Tibetan Parliamentary Elections

Tibetans abroad vote to elect the members of the Central Tibetan Administration. The CCP mobilizes its spies, and asks friendly governments to harass voters.

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Other sources

14.01.21 – Once imprisoned for fifteen years, Heilongjiang man arrested again

Having spent 15 years in detention during the past 21 years, a Hegang City, Heilongjiang Province resident was arrested again in a police sweep for his faith in Falun Gong in mid-December 2020.

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14.01.21 – Uyghurs in Turkey face an uncertain future as Ankara considers the fate of its extradition agreement with Beijing.

The Standing Committee of China’s National People’s Congress ratified the extradition agreement signed in 2017 with Turkey on December 26, 2020.

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14.01.21 – 71-year-old woman sentenced to one year for putting up Falun Gong materials

A Panzhihua City, Sichuan Province resident was quickly sentenced to one year after she was arrested in July 2020 after being reported for putting up information about Falun Gong.

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14.01.21 – Christian Bian Bingling & two sons pursued for their belief, husband sentenced 4 years in prison

Bian Bingling, female, born in 1967, from Weishan county under the jurisdiction of Jining city in the eastern province of Shandong, is a Christian of The Church of Almighty God (CAG). In 2012, she was listed by the police as wanted, and had no choice but to go on the run. The police repeatedly visited her home to arrest her but failed every time.

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13.01.21 – US Coordinator For Tibetan Issues Speaks With Dalai Lama in a Virtual Meeting

The U.S. Special Coordinator for Tibetan Issues spoke on Wednesday with the Dalai Lama in a virtual meeting, telling him that Washington will continue to urge Chinese authorities to meet with the exiled spiritual leader or his envoys to find ways to protect the region’s culture and religion.

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12.01.21 – Addendum for: CCP authorities sentence house church Pastor Li Juncai to five years in prison plus heavily fine him for refusing demolition of church cross

On January 11, ChinaAid secured a copy of the last page of verdicts for Pastor Li Juncai and three other Christians, Wu Raoyun, Ban Yun, and Ma Yanfang, arrested the same day [February 20, 2019].  ChinaAid has not yet confirmed details regarding the detainments of Xiao Guangang, and Meng Guozhen.

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11.01.21 – CCP authorities sentence house church Pastor Li Juncai to five years in prison plus heavily fine him for refusing demolition of church cross

Recently, Chinese Communist Party (CCP) authorities sentenced Yuanyang County Central House Church Pastor Li Juncai to five years in prison plus ordered him to pay a fine of 210,000 Chinese Yuan (32,423.42 USD). For objecting to the CCP’s forcible cross removal and refusing to change a church proclamation “Love God and people” to “Love the country…,” authorities accused Pastor Li of 1) embezzlement, 2) obstructing government administration and 3) destruction of accounting records.

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09.01.21 – Beijing authorities use the pandemic to shut down all 155 religious venues, promise to stop illegal gatherings

The decision was taken despite the fact that religious activities have had “zero infections”. Strict measures and continuous controls have led many priests to close their churches at Christmas. On social media, Catholics are accused of spreading the virus, a charged rejected by the Patriotic Catholic Association. The authorities put a stop to “illegal activities” by underground communities.

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08.01.21 – Dozens of Chinese officials raid house church, detain pastor and 5 members

Local authorities in China’s Taiyuan city raided the house church of An Yankui, the preacher of Xuncheng Church during a Bible study. International Christian Concern (ICC) reported.

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