Human Rights in China: Freedom of Religion or Belief and Rule of Law

On September 19, a parallel event organized by Jubilee Campaign and Christian Solidarity Worldwide was held during the Human Rights Council’s 42nd Session at the Palais des Nations in Geneva.

The event focused on human rights, religious persecution, and rule of law in China and drew attention to the situation of the Early Rain Covenant Church members, Falun Gong practitioners, Uyghur Muslims and Christians, Kazakhs, scholars, humanitarians, and ordinary citizens. In addition to statements by influential humanitarian individuals such as ChinaAid’s director Bob Fu, Uyghur Entrepreneurs Network’s Kuzzat Altay, this side-event highlighted first-hand testimonies of the devastating human rights situation in the People’s Republic of China.
Bob Fu revealed some harrowing statistics in his statement, “In our 2018 Annual Persecution Report, we recorded around one million Christians who were persecuted for their faith in the year 2018, a 348% increase from the 223,200 oppressed Christians documented in our 2017 report.”

Mr. Fu went on to explain such tragedies as arbitrary detention, false charges, separation from families and children, starvation in prison and work camps, and state-sponsored “ethnic cleansing.” Even outside of prison, ordinary citizens face surveillance, strict dress codes, and a constant threat of arrest and torture, being guilty of nothing other than peacefully manifesting their religious beliefs.

“…Guilty of nothing other than peacefully manifesting their religious beliefs…”

Pictured outside room VIII at the Palais des Nations: Kuzzat Altay – Uyghur Entrepreneurs Network, Hyeona Ji – Survivor of violence in North Korea, Bob Fu – Director of China Aid, Mirjam Bos – Jubilee Campaign Netherlands, Golok Jigme – Buddhist monk and survivor of violence in Tibet.

In addition to participating in the side-event Kuzzat Altay made an oral statement on behalf of Jubilee Campaign at the 42nd Regular Session of the Human Rights Council.

Kuzzat Altay – a Uyghur from Xinjiang – was separated from his 67-year-old father in 2018 when Chinese authorities arrested his father. His father’s story is one of many other detained businessmen and scholars, including Dr. Tashpolat Tiyip. It is estimated that there are around two million Uyghurs held as prisoners. Mr. Altay brought up their plight highlighting that they, “did not need re-education,” referencing the use of concentration camps to re-indoctrinate religious and ethnic minorities. Altay explained, “we can see now, Chinese internal policies can damage global human rights and global peace.”

Recently, Uyghur Human Rights Project and Amnesty International called for the release of Dr. Tashpolat Tiyip, scientist and president of Xinjiang University after news from his brother arrived that Tiyip’s death sentence, for the charge of “separatism,” has been accelerated.

“‘We can see now, Chinese internal policies can damage global human rights and global peace…'”

– Kuzzat Altay

The side event also highlighted the personal testimonies of Gulbahar Jalilova, Golog Jigme, and Hyeona Ji. While Jalilova was not able to attend the event, her written statement presents a story of struggle. Jalilova, a Kazakh Uyghur, was arrested in 2017 while visiting China for business, and she spent over a year in prison before being released. Upon returning to Kazakhstan, she told her story to family and friends, but received multiple threats from Chinese officials. She goes on to reveal that of the thousands of prisoners in Urumqi city, where she was imprisoned, the oldest among them were in their 70’s, the youngest, just teenagers.

Hyeona Ji faced a dissimilar situation. Ji, a Christian North Korean former citizen, faced human trafficking at the time of defecting to China. During one situation in which she was repatriated to North Korea, she faced an unwanted abortion without any pain medication. She explained that unwanted abortions among female defectors who are repatriated are common, and that the methods are even more sinister:
1) Forcing pregnant women to carry and run around with heavy materials in construction sites;

2) Forcing women to do repeated squats to induce a miscarriage;

3) Administering a needle directly through the womb to the baby’s head;4) Forced abortion without the use of anesthesia.

Golog Jigme, pictured above right, also delivered a personal testimony on the persecution of Tibetan buddhists.

“She goes on to explain that unwanted abortions among female defectors who are repatriated are common…”

For more information on the sex trafficking of North Korean women and girls you can read the recent communication submitted by Jubilee Campaign to the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (button below):

In recent years, gender-based violence has risen in the People’s Republic of China effecting North Korean refugees who have fled. From what records are available, there are thought to be many thousands of North Korean women and girls forced into the sex trade in the People’s Republic of China.

Upon arriving at the Chinese border, North Korean defectors often times meet with a “broker” who promises to either offer them jobs or a safe route to seek asylum in another country.
North Korean women soon find out the true intention of these “brokers” and are then trafficked throughout…

See our video story, “What is Happening in China?” – note that the amount of Uighurs in detention centers has increased to an estimated 2-3 million

HRC43 Oral Statement Item 4