Resolution Adopted by the CCAR
RESOLUTION ON RELIGIOUS PERSECUTION IN
Adopted by the Board of
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.
PERSPECTIVES FOR CHANGE
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.
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:
persecution, including that of members of religious and ethnic
practitioners, and all other victims of religious and ethnic
beliefs and practices, 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:
ongoing dialogue with the U.S. government on religious-freedom
and Political Rights.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.