US looks at Asian faith problems

November 23, 2011 by  
Filed under newsletter-asia

USAUSA, November 21, 2011: Problems faced by people of religious faith in Myanmar, Indonesia, North Korea, China and Vietnam were highlighted at a US congressional hearing last week.

In Myanmar, Buddhist monks had been imprisoned for opposing the regime, said Benedict Rogers, East Asia team leader of Christian Solidarity Worldwide.

The Muslim Rohingyas also faced persecution there and a Christian church had come under attack in Kachin state, he told a House of Representatives sub-committee on human rights.

“There is some talk of change. However, as long as the regime holds Buddhist monks and other prisoners of conscience in jail, attacks civilians in the ethnic states, and violates religious freedom, the United States should maintain pressure,” he said.

Rogers also told the committee of attacks on the Ahmadiyya Muslim community and on Christian churches in Indonesia, and noted that “serious concerns exist over the rule of law”.

There is complete absence of religious freedom in North Korea, he added, urging the United States to increase pressure on China to stop forcibly repatriating North Korean refugees, some of whom are Christians and who, when returned to North Korea, “face severe penalties and violations.”

On China, Rogers highlighted the cases of jailed Christians such as Pastor Shi Enhao and Alumijiang Yimiti. He added that proposed amendments to the law effectively legalizing forced “disappearances,” were a cause for serious concern.

Religious freedom in Vietnam remains “fragile,” Rogers told the committee.

– ucan

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