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LIREC webinar: Freedom of Religion

From the USCIRF Report on Persecutions in Russia to Violations in Europe

On 29th January, LIREC's webinar will present and discuss the recent annual USCIRF report, by the Policy Analyst Jason Morton, on the violations of religious freedom worldwide.

The report has confirmed the concerns of LIREC, and other NGOs, for the persecution against religious minorities as Jehovah’s Witnesses, in Russia and elsewhere, carried out by some controversial anti-cult organizations.

This is a problem that LIREC formerly brought to the attention of OSCE/ODIHR in 2013, when Italy was the object of recommendations due, precisely, to these associations’ legal and media-related activism.

On the one hand, the USCIRF Report will hopefully allow for a greater international engagement in support of human rights in those areas; on the other hand, however, some anti-cult organizations like FECRIS (European Federation of Centres for Research and Information on Sectarianism), whose methods and purposes have been censured by the US commission, keep on carrying out its activities undisturbed in Europe.


https://lirec.net/events/2021/1/6/pcqayd8eifc64dj0usvlr21dz6lt64-lhahj

JANUARY 29, 2021 - 3 p.m. Rome Time

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Justice Denied: the Tai Ji Men case in Taiwan

A white paper

CESNUR – Center for Studies on New Religions, Torino, Italy and HRWF – Human Rights Without Frontiers, Brussels, Belgium, 2020

Authors: Massimo Introvigne, Willy Fautré, Rosita Šorytė, Alessandro Amicarelli and Marco Respinti

A WHITE PAPER

This White Paper is about a tax case in Taiwan, which has important international implications. It is an egregious example of how tax laws are used, or rather misused, against spiritual groups some politicians or governmental bureaucrats do not approve of, for whatever reason.

https://www.cesnur.org/2020/tai-ji-men-case-in-taiwan.htm

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The Tai Ji Men Tax Case in Taiwan

Webinar 10 December 2020

CESNUR – Center for Studies on New Religions, Torino, Italy
and HRWF – Human Rights Without Frontiers organize on the Human Rights Day the webinar about the Tai Ji Men Tax Case in Taiwan.

Massimo Introvigne, Willy Fautré, Rosita Šorytė, Alessandro Amicarelli, Marco Respinti and Camelia Marin will present and discusse about the respect of human rights on the mentioned case.

You are invited to join, no registration needed:

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/84145475018

Meeting ID: 841 4547 5018

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The Tai Ji Men Tax Case in Taiwan

Letter of concern

H.E. Dr. Tsai Ing-wen

President of the Republic of China

Office of the President

No. 122 Sec.1. Chongqing S. Rd.

Zhongzheng District, Taipei City

10048 Taiwan, ROC

 

Hon. Premier Su Tseng-chang

Executive Yuan

No. 1, Sec. 1, Zhongxiao E. Rd., Zhongzheng Dist.,

Taipei City 100009, Taiwan (R.O.C.)

 

Honorable Chen Chu

President, Control Yuan

No. 2, Sec. 1, Zhongxiao E. Rd.

Taipei City, 100216, Taiwan (R.O.C.)

 

September 16, 2020

 

Dear President Tsai:

Dear Premier Su:

Dear President Chen:

On July 24, we wrote to President Tsai, expressing our concern for the case of Tai Ji Men. In short, Tai Ji Men is a Taiwan-based spiritual school teaching qigong, with roots in esoteric Taoism, and with a global outreach through its cultural activities. In 1996, Tai Ji Men was among the victims of an ill-fated crackdown on new religious movements, which was started in Taiwan largely for political reasons. The indicted Tai Ji Men leader, Dr. Hong Tao-Tze, the founder and master of the spiritual school, and members were later fully exonerated from all criminal charges.

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USCIRF Exposes European “Experts” Who Support CCP Campaigns Against “Cults”

The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom publishes a document against Russian anti-cultist Alexander Dvorkin and his organization FECRIS, both supporters of religious persecution in China.

by Massimo Introvigne

On July 17, 2020, the USCIRF, the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, unveiled a new document, whose title is “The  Anti-cult  Movement  and Religious  Regulation in Russia and the Former Soviet Union.” The USCIRF is an independent, bipartisan U.S. federal government commission created by the 1998 International Religious Freedom Act (IRFA). Its Commissioners are appointed by the President and by Congressional leaders of both political parties. 

The title may indicate that the document does not concern China, and in fact its main focus is Russia. However, there are three important connections between the new USCIRF report and China.

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A Letter to the Foreign Minister of South Korea on the Situation of Shincheonji

Dear Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha:

We represent NGOs and academic research centers specialized in the defense of freedom of religion and belief. We write to you as we are aware of your distinguished career at the United Nations, and appreciate your attention to human rights.

We have followed with great concern the problems in South Korea of a new religious movement known as Shincheonji. Some of us have studied Shincheonji for years, and some have produced academic studies about it. We are aware that Shincheonji is regarded by conservative Christians as “heretic,” and that they resent its success, which happened mostly at their expenses, and its active proselytization methods.

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COVID-19 and Religious Freedom: Scapegoating Shincheonji in South Korea

A webinar organized by the Center for Studies on New Religions (CESNUR) and Human Rights Without Frontiers (HRWF)

Date/Time: Monday, July 20, 2020, 17:00 (UTC +2, Brussels time)

The fact that one member of Shincheonji, a Christian new religious movement in South Korea, was not timely diagnosed with COVID-19, attended church services, and set in motion a chain of events where thousands of her church’s members were infected, led to the government’s requests for lists of all members of the group and massive testing.

While it is possible that mistakes were made by Shincheonji, health and police authorities acknowledged that the movement submitted substantially accurate lists of its members, and tried to cooperate as it could. Shincheonji, however, is at the receiving end of an aggressive hostility by conservative Christians, who have tried for decades to have the movement, which has been very successful in converting Protestants, banned in South Korea.

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Shincheonji, a South Korean New Religious Movement: Expansion, Social Activism, and Coronavirus Controversies

At the 4th Conference of the Baltic Alliance of Asian Studies was devoted a session to Shincheonji.

In view of the interest, you can find the video recording following the link of CESNUR website:

https://www.cesnur.org/2020/shincheonji-baas-conference.htm?fbclid=IwAR3-EKbfUnqfmP6uQIxaBTCGBD7Id_pmjaQEMXmAttp_c6qFlGNyJCoCzlA

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CESNUR: Coronavirus and Shincheonji: Stopping the Witch Hunt

Coronavirus and Shincheonji: Stopping the Witch Hunt

To:
H.E. Michelle Bachelet, UN High Commissioner of Human Rights
H.E. Ambassador Sam Brownback, US Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom

Dear President Bachelet:
Dear Ambassador Brownback:

We represent international NGOs specialized in the defense of religious liberty. We are deeply concerned with a growing number of instances of intolerance and discrimination against Shincheonji, a South Korean new religious movement, after a number of its members were diagnosed with COVID-19.

Shincheonji is a South Korean Christian new religious movement, founded by a Korean preacher called Lee Man Hee. Chairman Lee, as its members call him, is not regarded as God nor as the second coming of Jesus, but as the promised pastor who will lead humanity into the kingdom of peace that many Christians call the Millennium. Shincheonji has experienced a rapid growth in the last decades, and now has more than 200,000 members.

Arch-conservative and fundamentalist Protestantism, marginal in other countries, is the largest segment of Protestant Christianity in South Korea and a powerful voting bloc. It has promoted virulent campaigns against minorities it has labeled as “cults,” as well as against Roman Catholics, homosexuals, and Muslim immigrants and refugees. Shincheonji has been particularly targeted, for the good reason that its growth has largely happened by converting members of conservative and fundamentalist Protestant churches.

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Synthesis - Spiritual Human Rights Conference - December 2019

Soteria International hosted on 11 December 2019 a new conference on the series “Spiritual Human Rights”, with the topic: “Base and Debasement of Human Rights  - Rights, Obligations and Society”.

The conference brought together important keynote speakers, experts in the human rights field, sociologists and politicians:

  • Prof Massimo Introvigne - Editor-in-Chief - Bitter Winter, Director - CESNUR
  • Jens Peter Bonde, Former Danish MEP
  • Anette Refstrup - Church of Scientology, DENMARK
  • Prof Aaron Rhodes, President FOREF
  • Ivan Arjona - European Office of the Church of Scientology
  • Advaitananda Stoian – ATMAN Federation
  • Konrad Swenninger – Soteria International
  • Bashy Quraishy – ENAR, EMISCO
  • Calistrat Atudorei PHD
  • Prof Alesandro Amicarelli – Director FOB
  • Camelia Marin and Konrad Swenninger from Soteria International.

After important contributions presented by the speakers, the debate went smoothly towards the fundament of human rights and their integration in institutional and social system.

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