Two Stories – One System
At the conclusion of the Washington Summit on religious freedom Lord Alton heard two stories which illustrate repressive nature of the Chinese Communist Party system.
Dr. Bob Fu of China Aid introduced me to Ovalbek Turdakun and his wife.
Ovalbek comes from Xinjiang and is ethnically Kyrgyz. His wife is a Kyrgstan citizen. He was arrested in 2018 and is the first Christian to escape from the concentration camps – where over one million Uyghur Muslims are incarcerated- and has publicly testified. Kept in a windowless cell with 23 other inmates he experienced torture – strapped to a “tiger chair” – forced starvation and dubious medical procedures.
After release he was under house arrest for a year and forced to work without pay. He ultimately escaped with his wife and son to Kyrgyzstan and after being pursued by CCP officials they reached Turkey and then the USA.
His story gives the lie that the camps were set up to deradicalise Jihadists.
Dr.Bob Fu is himself no stranger to CCP violence and repression.
Bob (Xiqiu) Fu is one of the leading voices in the world for persecuted faith communities in China. He was born and raised in mainland China and was a student leader during the Tiananmen Square demonstrations for freedom and democracy in 1989.
Bob was imprisoned by the CCP and fearing that their child would be a victim of the one child policy he and his family escaped to the US where Bob is President of China Aid.
A Chinese pastor who is currently in prison is Wang Yi. His pen name is Wang Shuya. He is the founding pastor of the Early Rain Covenant Church, a Calvinist house church in Chengdu. He is also a writer, editor, and social activist, and was a legal scholar at Chengdu University. In 2018 he was arrested along with dozens of church leaders as part of an continuing crackdown on all unauthorized religious groups in China. He was given a 9-year prison sentence for “inciting to subvert state power” and “illegal business operations”.
The CCP’s persecution of religious believers has now reached Hong Kong.
CCP propaganda media such as Ta Kung Pao publish articles attacking churches in Hong Kong and threatening further restrictions One church, the Good Neighbour North District Church, has been raided by police and the bank account of the church and its pastor were frozen by HSBC under pressure from the authorities.
One of China’s most venerable Christian leaders, Cardinal Joseph Zen, has been arrested – while Christians who have been at the forefront of the movement for democracy, human rights and the rule of law languish in prison or face further court cases.
Speaking at the Washington Summit, Lord Alton said that “ religious persecution is a hallmark of the CCP. Think of Tibet’s Buddhists; Xinjiang’s Uyghur Muslims; Chinese Christians, Falun Gong practitioners. Think of the arrest of the venerable Cardinal Joseph Zen.
“That the CCP regime is a member of the United Nations Human Rights Council is a sick joke. Every minute of every day the CCP breaks Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which guarantees freedom of religion or belief for every citizen, everywhere.”