Side Event at the United Nations, Geneva, March 1, 2018 – Religious Freedom and Anti-Cult Persecution in China: The Case of The Church of Almighty God.
The difficulties that the members of The Church of Almighty God face with respect to their asylum requests in France are not very different from those they encounter in other European countries. Nevertheless, I am going to list the main, and in my opinion wrong, reasons for which an overwhelming percentage of requests have been denied in France. I will explain briefly why, and how France could improve its vision of the members of The Church of Almighty God as well as its knowledge of this Church, review its decisions, and grant asylum to the genuine refugees.
HRWF (17.01.18) – Since early 2017, the Chinese government has increased nationwide arrests of members of The Church of Almighty God (CAG), under an initiative they call “Door-knocking Action”. Security officials and police officers search from house to house, arresting, detaining and sometimes torturing and even killing members of the Church of Almighty God.
178 have already received a departure order; arrest, imprisonment and torture are awaiting themHRWF (18.01.2018) – Seoul has seemingly decided to deport over six hundred Chinese members of the Church of Almighty God seeking a safe haven in South Korea, despite the fact that there is a high risk for them to be arrested, detained, and tortured in China. Up until now, none of the applicants have been granted asylum, whereas 178 have received a departure order. How have these individuals suffered upon their return to China?
As of 1 December 2017, over 1600 members of the persecuted Church of Almighty God in China, who left their country in search of a safe haven in Europe, were under threat of being sent back to their country where they will be arrested and sent to prison for years. So far, 780 applications have been rejected and 156 people have received a departure order. The cases of almost 900 others are still pending.
Thousands of members of the Church of Almighty God (CAG) have been incarcerated in China, following a further crackdown on unauthorized religious organizations. According to the rough statistics, more than 300,000 members of CAG were incarcerated and detained in China from the beginning of the persecutions in the 1990s to 2017. Many have been tortured and at least 30 died in custody in suspicious circumstances, according to a report just released by CAG and published by several human rights organizations internationally (see e.g, http://www.cesnur.org/2017/almighty_china_report.pdf). In the last few days, we have seen unprecedented media attacks against CAG published simultaneously in Korea, Hong Kong, and Taiwan, which seem to be an answer to the publication of this report.