Week Ahead: 5 - 9 December 2022

Recent demonstrations in China; Qatar: Addressing the limitations of religious freedom for Bahá’is and Christians

Recent demonstrations in China

On Monday, the Committee on Human Rights will hold an exchange of views on the recent demonstrations in China. On 24 November a fire in an apartment building in Urumqi, the capital of China’s Xinjiang province, killed 10 people. Internet users began to speculate that firefighters had been prevented from reaching the burning building, or that residents had been prevented from escaping, by COVID-19 lockdown procedures in the city that has been under lockdown for weeks. The tragedy sparked large-scale protests in the country. People are demanding an end to the stringent zero COVID policies but the protests quickly snowballed into general demands for freedom, improved socio-economic outlook, human rights, and democracy. Many protesters held up blank sheets of paper in their marches, a protest tactic that serves as an indictment of censorship. The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is cracking down on the protests by arresting people, applying strict censorship on anything related to the protests on social media, and drawing zero attention to the social unrest in state media. At the same time there is little sign that authorities are willing to diverge from the path they have taken. The ECR group is concerned with the Chinese people that suffer from the stringent CCP policies, including those of pervasive surveillance and social controlling, that drastically limit their freedoms and deeply intervene in their personal lives.

When: Monday @ 15:45

Where: PHS 4B001

Qatar: Addressing the limitations of religious freedom for Bahá’is and Christians

On Tuesday, Dutch ECR MEP Bert-Jan Ruissen, together with NGO Open Doors, will host a discussion focused on the situation of Christians and Baha’i in Qatar and what the EU could do to promote freedom of belief in the country. Currently, all eyes are on Qatar for the World Cup, partly because of the deaths of many construction workers building the stadiums. An underexposed problem in Qatar, however, is that Christians and Baha’i in Qatar do not have the freedom to express their faith. Moreover, apostasy (changing religion from Islam) is a criminal offence and even punishable by death. During the event, several pastors that have been expelled from Qatar will share their experiences.

When: Tuesday @ 14:00

Where: ASP 1H1

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