New UN Special Rapporteur on Religion Criticizes Chinese Regime (Video)
New UN Special Rapporteur on Religion Criticizes Chinese Regime (Video)

The Chinese regime is a permanent member of the Security Council
and a chronic abuser of religious freedom.
NEW YORK—In his debut statement to the United Nations General Assembly’s Social, Humanitarian, and Cultural Affairs Committee, the recently appointed Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief Heiner Bielefeldt, boldly demonstrated that he won't ignore China, at once a permanent member of the Security Council and a chronic abuser of religious freedom.

Bielefeldt spoke at the General Assembly in New York on Thursday, Oct. 21. In a U.N. release translated from French, he is quoted as saying that members of religions or belief systems in some countries are recognized only based on "particular lists of religions," leaving followers of other religions or belief systems "facing problems.”

"Small communities such as Jehovah's Witnesses, Baha'i, Ahmadi, Falun Gong, and others are sometimes stigmatized as ‘cults’ and are frequently confronted with prejudices that can escalate into becoming conspiracy theories," he said according to the release.

While Bielefeldt’s predecessor Asma Jahangir identified the Chinese regime’s persecution of Falun Gong as one of religion or belief, Bielefeldt’s statement marks the first time the concept was brought to the General Assembly.

None of this was missed by the Chinese delegation, which issued a strong response.

The recently appointed Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief, Heiner Bielefeldt. (Photo courtesy of the United Nations OHCHR)
The recently appointed Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief, Heiner Bielefeldt. (Photo courtesy of the United Nations OHCHR)
The Chinese regime representative said that the Chinese state had identified Falun Gong as a "cult" and was justified in its quest to suppress and, according to Reuters, "eradicate" the group.

The Chinese representative was on script, one that hasn't changed since mid-1999, when the Chinese regime launched its persecution against Falun Gong, an ancient Chinese meditation practice that was popularized in the early 1990s, attracting some 70 million-100 million practitioners by early 1999, according to state estimates. One common analysis is that when the number of Falun Gong practitioners exceeded membership in the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), then-dictator Jiang Zemin felt threatened by the practitioners’ sheer numbers.

Another analysis, is that "atheist Party vanguards could not accept the fact that after more than 40 years of Marxist indoctrination so many people, including Communist Party members, would look elsewhere for moral and spiritual guidance," writes the Falun Gong Human Rights Working Group in their publication "Falun Gong, Humanity's Last Stand."

In a bid to justify the persecution of the popular practice, according to a Nov. 9, 1999, Washington Post report, in October of that year, Jiang, "ordered that Falun Gong be branded a ‘cult’ and then demanded that a law be passed banning cults.” With this, the CCP’s standard propaganda line of Falun Gong being an “evil cult” began.

Jiang's order represents exactly the sort of abuse Special Rapporteur Bielefeldt was speaking about in his statement.

"We applaud the special rapporteur for calling out the misuse of ‘cult‘ and other terms that the Chinese Communist Party specifically employs to dehumanize Falun Gong practitioners," said Levi Browde, executive director of the Falun Dafa Information Centre (FDI).

"They [the CCP] threw out this label, and then proceeded to say it is correct to ‘eradicate' Falun Gong, essentially reiterating the genocidal intent behind an 11-year-old, nationwide campaign that has involved the systematic abduction and torture of millions of innocent people," continued Browde.

Next: The significance of Bielefeldt's statement, Page 2

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