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US government urged to re-designate China in Red List of religious freedom violators

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(, Apr28’22) – The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) has on Apr 25 asked China, along with 14 other countries, to be designated as a “country of particular concern” for “engaging in and tolerating systematic, ongoing, and egregious violations of religious freedom, as defined by the (country’s) International Religious Freedom Act (IRFA)”.

Releasing its 2022 annual report, which documents developments during 2021, the USCIRF has said: “In 2021, religious freedom conditions in China deteriorated. The government continued to vigorously implement its ‘sinicization of religion’ policy and demand that religious groups and adherents support the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) rule and ideology.”

The report further said: “Throughout 2021, the State Administration for Religious Affairs (SARA)—a government agency under direct control of the CCP’s United Front Work Department (UFWD)— and other agencies issued new legal measures, imposing further restrictions on clergy, religious schools, and religious content on the internet.”

In this context, the report referred to China’s continued pervasive control and suppression of Tibetan Buddhism, saying: “In May, it (China) issued a white paper on Tibet that included an emphasis on sinicizing religion there. In July, CCP General Secretary Xi Jinping visited Tibet and stressed the importance of ‘fully implementing’ the Party’s religious policies. Local authorities organized seminars to indoctrinate monks and nuns at Tibetan Buddhist monasteries, restricted Tibetans’ access to temples with heavy security presence, destroyed sites and symbols of religious significance, and detained and punished Tibetans for listening to the Dalai Lama’s teachings or possessing his portrait.”

The report recommended that the US administration work with like-minded countries in international fora, including the United Nations Human Rights Council, to collectively hold the Chinese government accountable for severe religious freedom violations.

The other countries the USCIRF has recommended for designation as a country of particular concern are Afghanistan, Burma, Eritrea, Iran, Nigeria, North Korea, Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, India, and Vietnam.

The US administration is not bound by the USCIRF recommendations and on the last two occasions the Trump as well as the Biden Administration had declined to go by its recommendations to put India on the Red List, noted the Apr 26.


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