- Leaders of the free world
Pressure China to Uphold the Freedom of Religion, Conscience, and Belief
Add your voice to support the rights of Chinese citizens to freely practice their chosen religion and belief systems. As part of the 2016 Solidarity Sabbath, the Lantos Foundation will forward this petition to political leaders of each of our signer’s countries, demanding that the basic human right of religious freedom is a priority in diplomatic relations with China. We must act collectively to put an end to the harassment, torture, and imprisonment that faithful communities in China are subjected to everyday. You can also visit www.solidaritysabbath.org to find out how you can personally take part in the 2016 Solidarity Sabbath during the weekend of May 20-22. Let’s stand in solidarity with our faithful brothers and sisters in China.
We, the undersigned, respectfully petition our respective national governments to undertake to use all diplomatic, social, cultural, and technological means available to prevail upon the Chinese government, the Chinese Communist Party, and its leadership to fully respect the fundamental right to freedom of religion, conscience, and belief;
By taking such measures as:
- Urging the unconditional release of prisoners of conscience, including those falsely accused of crimes as a pretext to punish them for their religious and spiritual beliefs or for their religious freedom advocacy, and publicly identifying such prisoners both in interactions with the Chinese government and through the media;
- Including discussion of the Chinese government’s record regarding the freedom of religion, conscience, and belief as a key agenda item in bilateral and multilateral meetings, foreign dialogues, international summits, and other inter-governmental encounters with the Chinese government;
- Educating all Foreign Service officers regarding the importance and priority of advancing the freedom of religion, conscience, and belief in all dealings with the Chinese government;
- Using all methods available to tear down China’s “Great Firewall,” which refers to China’s multi-pronged efforts to restrict free access to the Internet and to censor Internet content. Efforts to tear down the firewall should include robust and increasing financial support for new and existing technologies that enable Chinese citizens to circumvent China’s Internet firewall;
- Sanctioning specific Chinese government officials who have been responsible for the persecution of those seeking the freedom of religion, conscience, and belief. Examples of targeted sanctions include visa bans, asset freezes, and other similar actions;
- More robustly utilizing the tools of public diplomacy to advance and advocate for the protection of the fundamental, universal, and inalienable right of freedom of religion, conscience, and belief; and
- Otherwise using all means available in support of the fundamental right of freedom of religion, conscience, and belief for the people of the People’s Republic of China;
For the Following Reasons:
- The Chinese Communist Party has a well-documented history of infringing upon the fundamental right to freedom of religion, conscience, and belief for the citizens of China;
- The Chinese Communist Party has undertaken an increasingly aggressive nation-wide campaign to 1) harass and imprison religious and spiritual practitioners for merely practicing their beliefs; 2) destroy or deface religious and spiritual buildings on false pretexts; 3) continue its practice of torturing detained Chinese citizens of various religious or spiritual persuasions; and 4) continue its policy of cultural genocide in places such as Tibet that historically were populated by a majority non-Han people;
- The Chinese Communist Party views the fundamental human right of freedom of religion, conscience, and belief as a privilege subject to state control;
- Even when the Chinese Communist Party does authorize religious and spiritual organizations to function, it requires such organizations to subordinate their governance and teachings to the dictates of the state;
- Robust protection and tolerance of different faiths is often a leading indicator of whether or not a society will be peaceful, stable, democratic, and prosperous, leading to the economic and social well-being of nations and their people.
- The People's Republic of China represents nearly one fifth of the global population; and
- The world’s governments, including that of the People’s Republic of China, have a responsibility under numerous international agreements, including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, to uphold the freedom of religion, conscience, and belief;
We believe that in order for China to fully reclaim its place as one of the great civilizations of the world, the Chinese government, the Chinese Communist Party, and its leadership must begin to reform their policies so as to reflect their obligation to respect and uphold international standards of fundamental human rights including the right of freedom of religion, conscience, and belief.
- Leaders of the free world
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