On April 4, 2018, at 3pm local time, the Center for Public and Contextual Theology held a seminar on the theme “Religion and State in the People’s Republic of China” at the chapel at the Australian Center for Christianity and Culture, in Canberra. This seminar discussed the current difficulties China’s religious beliefs are facing under the CCP’s dictatorial rule. Several internationally renowned professors and scholars from England, America and Italy, were invited to the seminar and delivered speeches. They spoke about the state of religious persecution in China, some experts and scholars also revealed the truth of the CCP cruelly persecuting The Church of Almighty God and appealed for refugee status of those Christians fleeing abroad.
At this seminar, Prof. Eileen Barker, the director of the UK’s INFORM, gave a speech titled “Tyrant or Protector? Why might it make sense for the Chinese People’s Republic to restrict religious freedoms?” She indicated China’s so-called religion is controlled by the CCP, and the CCP is the head of the Chinese churches, and that they determines and strictly controls the number of people baptized, preachers, and the preaching content, etc.
Prof. J. Gordon Melton from Baylor University of the United States, gave his speech about the topic “How Religious Diversity and Religious Freedom Works in the People’s Republic of China.” He mentioned: About three years ago, the CCP drew up a plan to dismantle 4,000 churches in Wenzhou, Zhejiang Province; and now, 1,500 churches have been forcibly demolished. In addition, he stated that the CCP wanted to remove all the crosses and fully restrict Christianity, and it has been more heavily persecuting and repressing The Church of Almighty God newly founded in China.
In the seminar, Professor Massimo Introvigne, an Italian sociologist and director of the Center for Studies on New Religions, spoke of China’s “Sinicization” of religion advocated strongly in recent years. Furthermore, he made a detailed introduction on The Church of Almighty God which is the most persecuted currently in China, including the teachings and origin of The Church of Almighty God, the true fact of it suffering the CCP’s persecution, and debunked the rumors made by the outside to discredit The Church of Almighty God. During his speech, he mentioned since 1995 when the lists of “cults” were again published by the CCP, The Church of Almighty God has consistently appeared in these lists of “cults,” and that the CCP’s persecution of religious beliefs has been becoming extremely severe especially after the McDonald’s murder case in 2014.
According to rough statistics, from 2011 to 2013, within just two years, 380, 380 of Christians from The Church of Almighty God were illegally arrested, detained and sentenced by the CCP. Among them, 43, 640 people suffered all kinds of cruel tortures while being illegally interrogated, 13 people were beaten to death. So far, it’s well documented that 44 Christians from The Church of Almighty God are killed by the CCP. In recent years, with the CCP’s continuously escalating persecution of The Church of Almighty God, some Christians were forced to flee to overseas democracies and sought political asylum in order to survive and continue their faith. However, they have great difficulty being granted the refugee status in some overseas countries. Therefore, their current life cannot go smoothly, and some of them even are facing the danger of being repatriated anytime.
Ms. Rosita Šorytė, President of International Observatory of Religious Liberty of Refugees, talked about the issue of Christians from The Church of Almighty God seeking political asylum overseas. She mentioned that there are currently more than 200 members of The Church of Almighty God in Australia applying for asylum, and only 5 or 6 of them have been granted the refugee status, some have been rejected, some are still waiting for the interview. She also pointed out that the right of freedom of belief was enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and the article 14 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights stipulates everyone has the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution. In addition, she said the cases of Christians from The Church of Almighty God totally correspond with the requirements for asylum application and they should be granted the refugee status, and that they should get timely protection, but they are ignored.
At present, many international human rights experts, religious scholars as well as human rights organizations have called on the international community to pay attention to the state of The Church of Almighty God suffering the CCP’s persecution, to provide those exiled Christians with fundamental human rights protection, or at least guarantee that they are not in danger of being repatriated.
Prof. Eileen Barker, the director of the UK’s INFORM delivering her message. (Photo: Ding Wei)
Prof. J. Gordon Melton from Baylor University speaking at the seminar. (Photo: Ding Wei)
Professor Massimo Introvigne giving a detailed presentation on the persecution of The Church of Almighty God. (Photo: Ding Wei)
Ms. Rosita Šorytė, President of ORLIR, giving a speech. (Photo: Ding Wei)
Source: Association for the Defense of Human Rights and Religious Freedom