Human Rights Experts Call for Canada to Speak Out About Religious Persecution in China


Experts decry “the worst assault on human rights in China since the Tiananmen massacre of 1989”


October 27, 2020 

OTTAWA, ON – Mere days after a parliamentary committee labelled the China’s treatment of its Uyghur Muslim minority a genocide, human rights experts are warning about other rights violations by the Chinese government.

“Without doubt, across the board, we are witnessing the worst assault on human rights in China since the Tiananmen massacre of 1989, and the most severe crackdown on religious freedom in China since the Cultural Revolution,” says Benedict Rogers, co-founder and chief executive of Hong Kong Watch and a member of the advisory group for the Stop Uyghur Genocide Campaign.

Rogers was a panellist at the Cardus Religious Freedom Institute online seminar Mao vs. God: State Control of Churches in China under Xi. Worsening persecution in China includes ongoing assaults on the country’s Christians:

  • Chinese authorities are tearing down thousands of crosses from Christian churches in the last five years, as well as destroying church buildings and imprisoning many Christian clergies.
  • Low-income Christian families in China face threats of losing state support payments if they do not give up their religious beliefs.
  • Forcing registered and unregistered Christian churches to install closed-circuit video cameras inside their worship spaces to allow remote government monitoring of activities.

The webinar also heard from David Mulroney, a distinguished fellow at the University of Toronto’s Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy and former Ambassador of Canada to the People’s Republic of China. He says Canada must speak out boldly against religious persecution in China.

“Canada has been less than resolute when it comes to speaking up about religious persecution in China,” says Mulroney. “The notion that you can advance a cause by not speaking honestly about it is simply bad diplomacy. The Chinese government will not somehow moderate its behaviour in exchange for our silence; it will shrewdly equate our silence with consent. The silent treatment never works with the Chinese Communist Party.”

Rev. Dr. Andrew Bennett, Director of the Cardus Religious Freedom Institute, says the webinar highlighted a reality that should worry all Canadians who support and defend human rights.

“We need to speak about Christians being persecuted by the Chinese Communist Party,” he says. “This is a largely untold story in North American media. It merits greater attention.”


 Daniel Proussalidis
 Cardus – Director of Communications
 613-241-4500 x508

About the Cardus Religious Freedom Institute
 The CRFI researches Canadian religious freedom issues in order to educate Canadians and to strengthen the national network of religious freedom advocates. Central to the Institute’s work is the understanding that religious freedom is the fundamental right of all people, their communities, and their institutions to live out their most deeply held beliefs in both public and private contexts without interference from the state or other authorities. To learn more, visit the Cardus website.


Cardus is a non-partisan think tank dedicated to clarifying and strengthening, through research and dialogue, the ways in which society's institutions can work together for the common good.