On 29th June Baroness Falkner of Margravine asked Her Majesty’s Government “what plans they have to reassess their relationship with the government of China.” The Rt Revd Dr Christopher Cocksworth, Bishop of Coventry, asked a follow up question focusing on religious persecution in China.
Lord Bishop of Coventry: My Lords, with Christian pastors made to preach on patriotism as a condition for restoring worship after Covid-19, the new ethnic unity law to sinicize Tibetan Buddhism, and reports of birth control forced on Uighur Muslims, does the Minister accept that firm, co-ordinated international effort is required to challenge Beijing’s abuses of its religious minorities and that such human rights abuses should not be overlooked in our trade negotiations with China?
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On 23rd June the Rt Revd Alan Smith, Bishop of St Albans received a written answer to a question on religious freedom in China.
The Lord Bishop of St Albans: HL5718 To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of reports that priests in China have been forced to preach Chinese nationalism in return for the opening of religious spaces.
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On 17th June Baroness Northover asked Her Majesty’s Government “what assessment they have made of their relationship with the government of China; whether they intend to alter that relationship; and if so, how they intend to do so”. The Rt Revd Alan Smith, Bishop of St Albans asked a follow up question, focusing on freedom of religion and belief.
Lord Bishop of St Albans: My Lords, inevitably, trade and defence issues will play an important part in our relationship with China. Will the Minister assure us that issues of freedom of religion or belief will not be overlooked? Estimates suggest that between 900,000 and 1.8 million Uighurs, Kazakhs, Kyrgyz and other Muslims have been detained in Xinjiang province. What plans have the Government made to join our American allies in sanctioning those responsible for the oppression of Uighurs in Xinjiang?
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On 18th May 2020 the Bishop of St Albans, Rt Revd Alan Smith, received a written answer to a question about demolition of churches and arrest of Christians in China:
The Lord Bishop of St Albans: HL3843 To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of reports of (1) churches being demolished, in particular the demolition of the Donghu Church, Qinghai Province, and (2) Christians streaming religious services at home being arrested, in China Continue reading “Bishop of St Albans asks Government about demolition of churches and arrests of Christians in China”
On 12th May the Rt Revd Christopher Cocksworth, Bishop of Coventry, received a written answer from Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon to a question on Hamed bin Haydara and five other Yemeni Baha’i, currently imprisoned.
Bishop of Coventry: HL3684 To ask Her Majesty’s Government what representations, if any, they have made to President Mahdi al Mashat that the pardon for Hamed bin Haydara and five other Yemeni Baha’i, and their release from jail, be expedited.
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On 12th May the Rt Revd Christopher Cocksworth, Bishop of Coventry received a written answer to a question on what Government was doing to ensure humanitarian assistance reached religious minorities.
The Lord Bishop of Coventry: HL3767 To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they are taking to ensure that religious minorities in countries affected by the COVID-19 pandemic have equal access to humanitarian assistance.
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On 23rd March 2020 the Bishop of Carlisle, Rt Revd James Newcome, received a written answer to a question on the persecution of Falun Gong practitioners in China:
On 6th February 2020 the House of Commons debated a Government motion “That this House has considered the matter of the persecution of Christians.”. The Second Church Estates Commissioner, Andrew Selous MP, spoke in the debate. The full text of the debate can be seen on the Hansard website.
Andrew Selous (South West Bedfordshire) (Con): It is a pleasure, albeit a sad necessity for many of us, to speak on a debate on this issue yet again in this House. The analysis I have seen from Open Doors and others shows that in the past three years alone more than 10,000 Christians have been killed for their faith—that is a staggering number. We are right to hold this debate today, because, as others have mentioned, the evidence shows that Christians are the target of about 80% of all the acts of religious discrimination or persecution around the world.
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On 6th February 2020 Lord Suri asked the Government “what plans they have to ensure the protection of the right to freedom of religion or belief in their international development plans.” The Bishop of Southwark, Rt Revd Christopher Chessun, asked a follow up question:
The Lord Bishop of Southwark: My Lords, following the previous supplementary question*, I understand that in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, there is a champion for promoting freedom of religious belief at director-general level. In the light of the report just mentioned, commissioned by the previous Foreign Secretary, will the Minister consider appointing a similar champion to influence policy formation at the most senior level in her department?
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On 4th, 5th and 6th February 202o the Bishop of Leeds, Rt Revd Nick Baines, received written answers, to questions on freedom of religion and belief.