China: British Nationals Abroad

Foreign and Commonwealth Office written question – answered on 5th December 2018.

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Photo of David Simpson David Simpson Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs), Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what recent discussions he has had with his Chinese counterpart on the safety of British Christians resident in China to practice their religion in that country.

Photo of Mark Field Mark Field Minister of State

We remain deeply concerned about the persecution of Christians, Muslims, Buddhists, Falun Gong practitioners and others on the grounds of their religion or belief in China. The freedom to practise, change or share ones faith or belief without discrimination or violent opposition is a human right that all people should enjoy. We believe that societies which aim to guarantee freedom of religion or belief are more stable, prosperous and more resilient against violent extremism.

We raise the full range of our human rights concerns with the Chinese authorities. We recently raised our concerns over restriction of freedom of religion or belief with the Chinese Government in our 27 June 2018 statement at the UN Human Rights Council and during China’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR) in November 2018.

We also highlighted our concerns in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s (FCO) Annual Report on Human Rights and Democracy. The report contains details of work the FCO has carried out during the past year to promote human rights, including freedom of religion or belief in China and globally.

All British nationals travelling and living in China should pay close attention to the FCO Travel Advice in the first instance. Christians with non-Chinese passports who wish to worship in China are granted the freedom to do so, but under certain conditions which include a ban on evangelism and to only worship with other foreign passport holders. We continue to monitor these restrictions.

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