On 4th April 2019 the Bishop of St Albans, Rt Revd Alan Smith, asked a question he had tabled on religious freedom in China. The exchanges, and the follow-up questions from other Members, are below:
China: Religious Freedom
The Lord Bishop of St Albans: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their current assessment of freedom of religion in China.
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon) (Con): My Lords, there are several recognised religions in China, with tens of millions of practising Christians, Muslims and Buddhists, among others. However, we are deeply concerned about developing restrictions on freedom of religion or belief in China, including reports that authorities are tightening control over how certain religions are practised. At the United Nations Human Rights Council last month, I raised directly our concerns about restrictions on freedom of religion or belief in China, including on Muslims and Christians in Xinjiang.
The Lord Bishop of St Albans: I thank the Minister for his reply. There are deeply worrying reports coming out of China, not least about persecuting the Christian churches there—an ancient Christian church there was founded in the 7th century. Will he comment particularly on the developing situation concerning Uighur Muslims and the development of the network of re-education camps in Xinjiang province? What representations have Her Majesty’s Government made and what are they planning to do?
Continue reading “Bishop of St Albans asks Government about freedom of religion in China”
On 7th December 2017 the Bishop of Coventry, Rt Revd Christopher Cocksworth, received written answers to four questions on human rights and freedom of religion or belief in China:
The Lord Bishop of Coventry:
(i) To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the revisions to the regulations on religious affairs in China, and of their potential impact on freedom of religion or belief in that country.
(ii) To ask Her Majesty’s Government what representations they have made to the government of China about the disappearance and current situation of Chinese lawyer Gao Zhiseng, who went missing in August.
(iii) To ask Her Majesty’s Government what representations they have made to the government of China concerning restrictions on freedom of religion or belief for Tibetan Buddhists in China, including the detention of religious leaders and the demolition of places of worship.
(iv) To ask Her Majesty’s Government what information they hold about the demolition of religious sites and buildings in China, including Tibetan Buddhist institutions and Christian churches in the past two years. Continue reading “Bishop of Coventry asks about China – human rights and freedom of religion or belief”
On 25th April 2017, Lord Oates asked Her Majesty’s Government “what measures they intend to take to promote United Kingdom–Africa trade and development co-operation in the transitional and post-Brexit periods.” The Bishop of Southwark, the Rt Revd Christopher Chessun, asked a supplementary question:
The Lord Bishop of Southwark: The Minister may know that I am a regular visitor to Zimbabwe, where my diocese has links with four of the five Anglican dioceses there. How do Her Majesty’s Government propose to respond to the preponderance of Chinese investment both there and in other African nations, both in infrastructure and major economic undertakings? Continue reading “Bishop of Southwark asks Government about Chinese investments in Africa”
On 28th February, Lord Alton of Liverpool asked the Government, in the light of the sanctions imposed by China against North Korea following the assassination of Kim Jong-nam and the recent ballistic missile test, whether they will call in the North Korean Ambassador. The Bishop of Peterborough, the Rt Revd Donald Allister, asked a follow up question about the Government’s engagement with China over their policy to return North Korean refugees to the country. Continue reading “Bishop of Peterborough asks whether Government is addressing China’s North Korean refugee policy”
On 30th December 2015, the Bishop of St Albans, the Rt Revd Alan Smith, received an answer to a written question concerning the detention of Chinese Human Rights lawyer, Pu Zhiqiang.
The Lord Bishop of St Albans: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the detention and trial of human rights lawyer Pu Zhiqiang in China. Continue reading “Bishop of St Albans raises detention of Chinese human rights lawyer”
“There are huge numbers of practising Christians in China, amounting to many tens of millions, although I agree that the exact figure is very hard to determine…. The Chinese Government have a close interest in how religion helps in building a harmonious society, now that communism is not the only player in China’s major global role.”
On 7th November 2013 the Bishop of Guildford, the Rt Revd Christopher Hill, took part in Lord Dobbs take-note debate on the recent developments in the relationship between the United Kingdom and China. He focused on the long-standing relationship between the West and China, particularly in terms of the long history of Christianity in China. He noted contemporary initiatives to strengthen the relationship between the Church of England and the church in China, particularly the role of the Bishop of Birmingham as the Archbishop’s envoy to China.
The Lord Bishop of Guildford: My Lords, the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Birmingham deeply regrets that he cannot be in his place today. He is the envoy of the most reverend Primate the Archbishop of Canterbury in relation to China. I am sorry that he is not here speaking, and not only because I am speaking in his place.
We are hearing, and shall continue to hear, many fascinating things in this debate about China, not least from the two maiden speeches, to which we look forward. The importance of student academic exchanges, stressed by some noble Lords, particularly resonates with me. I declare an interest in the University of Surrey with its developing—indeed burgeoning—links with China. That is wonderful. Continue reading “Bishop of Guildford highlights long history of Christianity in China”