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China: Religious Freedom

Foreign and Commonwealth Office written question – answered on 4th October 2019.

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Photo of Emily Thornberry Emily Thornberry Shadow Foreign Secretary

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what recent representations he has made to his Chinese counterpart on the persecution of Christians in that country.

Photo of Dominic Raab Dominic Raab The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs

On 26 September during an Urgent Question on Hong Kong, I set out the UK's position on the persecution of groups in China on the grounds of religion or belief. As I stated in the House, we are concerned that Chinese Government guidelines on unapproved religious activity, education and travel may restrict the peaceful observation of those rights. We take a proactive approach to influencing on freedom of religion or belief; in July 2019, the UK attended a US-led Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom. The UK also signed a declaration to address religious persecution and discrimination worldwide, and to promote freedom of religion or belief for all.

Furthermore, at the 41st session of the UN Human Rights Council in July 2019, we raised our concerns about freedom of religion or belief in our 'Item 4' national statement. At the 40th session of the UN HRC in March, the Prime Minister's former Special Envoy for Freedom of Religion or Belief, Lord (Tariq) Ahmad, highlighted our concerns about restrictions on FoRB in China – including on Muslims in Xinjiang and Christians. Lord Ahmad also set out the Government's position when answering an Oral Question in the House of Lords on 4 April.

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