(Clearwisdom.net) The report of Special Rapporteur Asma Jahangir on freedom of religion or belief for the 61st session of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights exposed and condemned the fact that the Chinese communist regime abuses the party-appointed committees to control traditional religious activities or belief. As a result, all religious organizations have to be led by the party in order to be legitimized.

Meanwhile, the United Nations condemned the Chinese Government's Golden Shield Internet firewall which denies access to religious web sites. It pointed out that the Chinese government abuses the firewall to censor internet information and deprive people of their freedom of expression. The internet censorship not only prevents people in Mainland China from accessing international discussions on some issues of China, but it also suppresses those individuals and groups in China who have different opinions from that of the government. The "Golden Shield Internet Firewall" marks the reversion of China's human rights status and the international community should pay close attention to this.

In China, although there are various religious beliefs, all of these organizations are administrated and controlled by the Chinese Communist Party's dictatorship. It appears that there are Taoist temples, Buddhist temples and churches, but believers there are all under the party branches' surveillance. This has brought attention from the United Nations and international human rights organizations.

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The 2005 report of the Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief, by Asma Jahangir, can be found at: http://daccessdds.un.org/doc/UNDOC/GEN/G05/129/13/PDF/G0512913.pdf?OpenElement

Excerpt of the report of the Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief

The report stated, "Reports indicated that the Party-appointed committees, also called the mosque's 'democratic management committee', must conduct regular sessions for religious professionals and lay persons disseminating legal regulations and Party policies. Such committees allegedly oversee activities in places of worship and are also known to exist in Tibetan Buddhist temples."

The report continued, "Finally, it was alleged that national-religious committees, which form part of the administration of every city, also maintain control over the lives of believers. Communities may only function once they have registered with the national-religious committee, and their leaders have to be drawn from people whose candidacy has been approved by the authorities. The leaders of all religious communities reportedly have to attend meetings of the national-religious committees during which officials explain to them what policy they should pursue with believers.

According to the report, the Special Rapporteur also brought to the Government's attention information she had received according to which, following what was believed to be the largest survey to date on the extent to which the Chinese Government's Golden Shield Internet firewall denies access to religious web sites, certain religious web sites appear to be consistently blocked, although Chinese Internet users do have access to a range of web sites based outside the country that cover religious themes in Chinese or other languages. The tests that led to this conclusion were reportedly carried out from mid-May to mid-July 2004 and monitored Internet access in a variety of locations in China. The web sites to which access is reportedly automatically barred included those relating to the persecution of Christians and other religious faiths, the Dalai Lama, the Falun Gong [spiritual] movement, the Muslim Uigurs of Xinjiang and a number of Catholic sites, including the web site of the Hong Kong diocese and the Divine Word Missionaries in Taiwan. However, the web sites in European languages covering religious freedom issues, including those covering repression within China, were not blocked.

It was further reported that, in an alleged attempt to help remove "unacceptable" content from the web, the authorities launched a web site in June 2004 encouraging users to report "illegal" sites, including those on religious cult activity. Reports indicated that while "reporters" were assured of the confidentiality of the information they provided, they were warned that they would bear personal responsibility for reporting erroneous information.