Sending Office: Bilirakis, Gus M.
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 “A Final Attempt to Defend Human Rights in China”

Hosted by the International Religious Freedom Caucus (IRFC) and the IRF Roundtable

October 11, 2018

2:00 PM-3:30 PM

340 CHOB

You are invited to join the IRFC and the IRF Roundtable for a timely briefing on human rights and religious freedom in the People’s Republic of China.  

In November 2018, China will be receiving their “Third Cycle Review” under the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) by the United Nations (UN) Human Rights Council, specifically by the UN Members assigned to the “Troika”: Kenya, Hungary, and Saudi Arabia.

As the U.S. continues to engage China in bilateral discussions on trade, economic and security issues, and as the UN prepares for China’s UPR, it is critical that religious freedom be raised and highlighted throughout these conversations.  

Despite continued efforts through diplomacy, public attention, sanctions, and consistent Country of Particular Concern (CPC) designation, the Chinese government continues to deny its citizens the fundamental right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion.
Moreover, the government violates the 1951 UN Refugee Convention by repatriating refugees as they escape North Korea.

Recently, the government’s strategy to cleanse the country of unfiltered religious beliefs intensified with new and repressive approaches to further restrict religious activities for groups such as the Uyghur Muslims, Tibetan Buddhists, Christians, and the
Falun Gong. Human rights activists, lawyers, and influential religious leaders have also become prime candidates for human rights abuses.

Each religious group receives different types and standards of persecution. For instance, in Xinjiang province as many as one million Uyghurs and other predominantly Muslim ethnic minorities have been arbitrarily detained and placed in a secret system of
‘political reeducation’ centers or internment camps. Chinese officials have installed QR codes on the homes of Uyghur Muslims to get instant access to the personal details of people living there, have imposed regular “home stays” on families, and reportedly
scan the “smart” doorplates with mobile devices before entering homes to monitor the inhabitants. Authorities are also collecting biometric data, such as iris scans and DNA and voice samples.

Christians are constantly at risk of unjust detention and interrogation, where they’re routinely beaten and tortured; and the Falun Gong continue to be forced into Chinese labor camps and prisons where they suffer medical experimentation, sexual assault
and violence, and reported organ harvesting.

This requires a coordinated global response.

U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) and U.S. Representative Chris Smith (R-NJ), chair and co-chair of the bipartisan Congressional-Executive Commission on China respectively, released a letter on  August 28, 2018 to U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Treasury
Secretary Steve Mnuchin urging them to “swiftly act” to sanction Chinese government officials and entities complicit in or directing the “ongoing human rights crisis in China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR).” The letter includes a list of Chinese
officials who should be considered for sanctions under the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act.

Given the International Religious Freedom Caucus’s interest for the well-being of persecuted communities worldwide, this timely briefing will explore the current risk to religious freedom throughout China and consider the following important issues:

  • What is the current Constitutional law in China regarding religious freedom, and what international agreements can the Chinese government be held accountable to?
  • Who are the religious minorities in China and how are they targeted differently?
  • Why should the U.S. consider a nation’s fundamental beliefs regarding religious freedom when engaging on issues of trade and national security?
  • And, finally, what positive steps can Congress take to strengthen its relationship with China while strongly supporting human rights? 

Featuring policy experts and representatives of faith communities that are being persecuted in China; 

Kunrui Li, Church of Almighty God

Omer Kanat, World Uyghur Congress

Mr. Erping Zhang, Falun Gong

Bob Fu, China Aid

Please RSVP to Miranda Robinson at

We look forward to seeing you at the briefing.

Most sincerely,

International Religious Freedom Caucus

Co-Chair Gus Bilirakis                      Co-Chair Juan Vargas

International Religious Freedom Roundtable

Managing Co-Chair Greg Mitchell

Related Legislative Issues

Selected legislative information: Armed Services, Foreign Affairs, Trade

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