Hong Kong Church seeks UN help to end repression in China
A church Commission said that four priests from ‘unofficial’ Catholic communities in China detained in August were the latest in a list of those being held in various parts of the country.
A report of the Justice and Peace Commission of the Catholic diocese of Hong Kong has accused Beijing of grave human rights violations, apart from suppression of political and religious freedom. The report was submitted on September 2, ahead of the scheduled periodic review of the mainland's human rights record, set for October 22.
In its submission to the UN, the commission report says, "Chinese authorities have imposed political and religious policies that have been against the principles and practices of the Catholic faith and have gravely violated human rights."
It says that these policies lie at the basis of the split in the Catholic Church in China into groups that have registered with the government's Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association and those which have refused. "This brings pain and suffering within the Church," the submission from the commission states.
The report said that four priests from ‘unofficial’ Catholic communities in China detained in August were the latest in a list of those being held in various parts of the country.
Both the registered, or ‘official communities’, and the unregistered, or ‘unofficial communities’, have suffered violation of human rights. Priests have been placed under illegal surveillance, house arrest, detention, abducted without trace, illegally confined in hotel rooms, forced to attend political classes, conferences or religious activities contrary to Church teaching, tortured and their religious freedom abused, the report alleged.
"The faithful in China have not only their religious freedom distorted, but also their personal liberty and freedom of association violated," the report said. The commission pointed out that was in direct conflict with Article 18 of the UN Declaration on Human Rights and also Article 18 of the Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
The report listed eight priests or bishops who have been illegally detained for years/decades. Others have been tortured by sleep deprivation and physical beatings. Two at least are suffering long term illness and disability from their maltreatment.
The Justice and Peace Commission wants the UN review panel to urge the Chinese government to investigate ill-treatment and torture of Church leaders, compensate and apologise to the injured and stop such torture and inhumane acts.