Religious Persecution in China, Resolution on

Resolution Adopted by the CCAR



Adopted by the Board of


June, 2001


In China, minority

groups have historically been either assimilated or annihilated as a

means for unifying China – a diverse country currently with over 90

minority groups. Today, the Han majority has taken this concept to

heart. Added to this are the efforts at suppression by the Communist

Party, buffeted by the economic change that created social and

political tensions, which people use to organize their identity

outside the control of the government.

Religious minorities particularly have

been targeted. Religious and ethnic harassment and persecution have

increased in the past two years. The U.S. State Department and human

rights groups like Amnesty International have issued reports of

torture, wrongful imprisonment, and other inhumane treatment of

minorities. The People’s Republic of China has enacted criminal

legislation that the China Daily, the government’s official

newspaper, hails as a ‘powerful new weapon to smash evil cultist

organizations, especially the Falun Gong.’

This brutal crackdown by the

Chinese government on ethnic and religious minorities, including Falun

Gong members, Tibetan Buddhists, Uighur Muslims, and underground

Protestant and Catholic churches is in direct violation of the

fundamental freedoms of religion, speech and assembly as outlined in

the U.N. Declaration on Human Rights. China’s already shrill campaign

to discredit the Falun Gong spiritual group has reached new intensity,

with the strongest accusations yet that the group is colluding with

Western forces seeking to vilify and destroy the nation. Despite

widespread arrests and harassment of members, with thousands shipped

to “re-education through labor” camps, large numbers have continued

practicing Falun Gong.

Constantly informed by our history of oppression, we

strive to always remember our commitment to “love the stranger as

yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt. (Leviticus

19:34)” According to our Torah, we must be the champions of the

stranger, in remembrance of our own oppression. While we as North

American Jews are not faced with the oppression of being a stranger,

we must continue, as we promise in our Passover seder, to fight for

the rights of others who are.

A central lesson of our history is the evil that

results when people of good conscience stand by while others are

persecuted because of their religious beliefs and practices.

Throughout its history, the CCAR has spoken with vigor and clarity

against religious persecution and for religious freedom in the United

States and everywhere else in the world.



Chinese legal system does not protect human rights from state

interference, nor does it provide effective remedies for those who

claim that their rights have been violated. Some have argued that only

increased engagement can, in the long run, open China to the political

and legal change that is indispensable to the expansion of fundamental

freedoms, including religious freedom. Others respond that increased

engagement and normalization must be dependant on improvements in

China’s human rights record, particularly religious freedom.

The U.S.

Commission on International Religious Freedom has called for a firmer

American government response to religious persecution in China, and to

document, respond to, and deter persecution.

There is also a need for U.S.

companies to protect their workers’ rights of free association and

assembly by discouraging the presence of the military, and compulsory

political indoctrination in the workplace. Bringing China into the

world market – conditional upon the adherence to several human rights

measures – will enhance transparency and advance human rights.


the Central Conference of American Rabbis resolves to:

1) Call upon

the Government of the People’s Republic of China to:

  • end all

    persecution, including that of members of religious and ethnic


  • release from wrongful imprisonment Tibetan Monks, Falun Gong

    practitioners, and all other victims of religious and ethnic


  • allow individuals freely to pursue their personal and religious

    beliefs and practices, and

  • ratify the International Covenant on Civil and

    Political Rights and to abide by the provisions of the Universal

    Declaration of Human Rights.

    2) Call upon the People’s

    Republic of China to begin with those steps recommended by the U.S.

    Commission on International Religious Freedom:

  • China must agree to establish a high-level and

    ongoing dialogue with the U.S. government on religious-freedom


  • China must agree to ratify the International Covenant on Civil

    and Political Rights.

  • China must agree to permit unhindered access to

    religious leaders, including those imprisoned, detained or under house

    arrest, by the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom and

    respected international human rights organizations.

  • China must provide

    a detailed response to inquiries regarding a number of persons who are

    imprisoned, detained, or under house arrest for reasons of religion or

    belief, or whose whereabouts are not known but who were last seen in

    the custody of Chinese authorities. The Department of State, after

    consultation with human rights and religious groups, should compile a

    detailed list of such prisoners of conscience and make specific

    inquiries to the Chinese government.

  • China must release from prison all

    persons incarcerated for religious reasons.

    3) Urge that Congress

    fund rule-of-law programs, such as training and exchanges of lawyers

    and judges, seminars in how to deal with religious workplace

    challenges and to apply international legal and labor norms.

    4) Require

    that admission of China to the World Trade Organization (WTO) be made

    be made conditional on taking significant steps towards the

    elimination on religious persecution in China.

    5) Urge that U.S. companies be

    required to develop a code of conduct for the protection of their

    workers’ rights of freedom of expression, assembly, association, and

    religious practice.

    6) Support coalitions that speak out for, and keep the

    public spotlight on, the abuses against the Falun Gong practitioners,

    Uighur Muslims, and Tibetan Buddhists, underground Christian churches,

    and other religious and ethnic minorities in China.

    7) Encourage rabbis to

    work in interfaith coalitions to raise awareness of the plight of

    religious liberties in China.