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PRESS RELEASE

Center for Studies LIREC's Press Releases

An Open Letter to the Italian Minister of Economy, Mr. Giovanni Tria

Raffaella Di Marzio

While Discussing Economy with China, Do Not Forget Religious Liberty

 

Dear Mr. Tria:

We wish you a fruitful visit to China on behalf of Italian economic interests.

Last July, Italy was an official participant in the Washington D.C. “Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom”. There, 82 countries solemnly agreed that religious liberty should be regarded as a non-negotiable cornerstone of international relations.

We hope that the good economic relationships between China and Italy may help you in raising with your Chinese counterparts the matter of the gross violations of religious liberty in China, which became even worse with the new laws on religion that came into force in 2018.

Reliable academic sources report that one and a half million Chinese are detained in “transformation through education” camps because of their religious beliefs. They include Uyghur and non-Uyghur Muslims, Tibetan Buddhists, Christians of several denominations, and members of new religious movements banned as “heterodox teachings” (xie jiao) and continuously defamed through fake news campaigns, including The Church of Almighty God and Falun Gong. Several NGOs documented numerous instances of mass arrests, extra-judicial killings, and torture. Even in the government-controlled religious communities, religion is treated in the same way as pornography, since it is entirely forbidden to minors, who are not even allowed to enter places of worship.

Laudably, Italy is a leading country in defending religious liberty internationally. We trust that your visit to China will be an opportunity to reiterate this position.

CAP-LC Coordination des associations et des particuliers pour la liberté de conscience

CESNUR – Center for Studies on New Religions

EIFRF – European Inter-Religious Forum for Religious Freedom

FOB – European Federation for Freedom of Belief

FOREF – Forum for Religious Freedom Europe

HRWF – Human Rights Without Frontiers

LIREC – Center for Studies on Freedom of Belief, Religion and Conscience

ORLIR – International Observatory of Religious Freedom of Refugees

Soteria International