What follows is Eastern Light reporter’s interview with Mr. Willy Fautré, executive director of Human Rights Without Frontiers International (HRWF Int’l).
Q: As far as you know, how does the CCP persecute The Church of Almighty God?
W: Yes indeed, for a few years, we were really amazed to see that the Church that we didn’t know at all is also persecuted in China. So, not only the Catholics, the Protestants, the Tibetans, Vajra Buddhists, Uyghurs, Muslims, but also The Church of Almighty God is persecuted in China. And, we got conflicting news and reports about the Church. We hesitated a little bit: Okay, what is the group? It is totally unknown. We’ve never seen any list of prisoners coming from that religious group. So, we started some investigation. And we discovered that there were three million people belonging to your Church, having their religious life totally underground because they’re not allowed to worship, to assemble publicly. And so, they meet in houses, and that’s what we usually call house churches. And it’s only people meeting other people, talking about their faith—that was the engine that explains the expansion, rather fast I must say, of your movement. Once you started expanding and becoming visible, visible for the Chinese authorities, then repression started. And, of course, we have a mechanism in our human rights organization that monitors prisoners for religious reasons around the world. China, Iran, North Korea are on the top of that blacklist, unfortunately. And so, we started collecting some information about this religious group, not only names of the prisoners, but also their personal stories and their daily life that was totally disrupted by the authorities. Just meeting in the house or even in a park to share their experiences of God, or reading their Holy books or religious literature was attracting the attention of the authorities and automatically there was the repression. So, we saw that something had to be done. And, we knew we indeed needed to investigate that group. Then we asked some experts about the religion in China to provide us some information. And some scholars made some research, like Professor Massimo Introvigne, but also others. And that was a very good and reliable source of information for us to make one more step.
Q: Due to the CCP’s serious and brutal persecution of The Church of Almighty God (CAG), many CAG Christians fled to other countries to seek political asylum. However, the CCP continues condemning The Church of Almighty God as a “violent religious group” based on the rumors and fake news it fabricated. As a result, some countries are reluctant to grant the CAG Christians political asylum. So, what is your comment on the CCP’s propaganda against The Church of Almighty God?
W: Frankly speaking, as you said, China started spreading some sort of propaganda against your Church. And, that’s what disturbed us at the beginning. So, what to do? Where is the truth about your religious movement? And then we realized that it was all fake news about your religious group. And the second point is that we saw a number of those members of your Church coming to Europe, for example, to France, to Germany, to Italy, to Greece, to Switzerland, and many others, but also in South Korea. They were complaining because the authorities of those countries, democratic countries, were not granting them political asylum. They were waiting for a long time, 1 year, 2 years, 3 years sometimes. And then suddenly in South Korea, they got an order, saying, “Well, your application is rejected, and you must leave the country.” “Must leave the country” means being sent back to China. Being sent back to China means to be arrested, to be imprisoned, to be beaten, and then maybe without any trial, to be sent to prison for a number of years. We thought this is a humanitarian situation that must be revealed to the outside world, because the fake news had influenced everybody around the world, the radios, the television channels, the authorities deciding about whether or not to grant political asylum, and so on. And it is time to deconstruct the negative impact and effect of the fake news of China, to reveal the reality, in order to be able to convince the authorities of the countries where they’re looking for a safe haven: They should be accepted as politically persecuted Christians and they should be granted a safe haven in all the countries where they apply for asylum. And, that’s what we are now in the process of. So, we’re convincing not only public opinions, but also political decision-makers, and others that those people are peaceful, they don’t represent any threat to the state security or to human security in any country where they are. They’ve not committed any act of violence. But, if they are sent back to China, they would be victims of acts of violence. So, that’s the process that we’re now engaged in.
Q: We know you have been working in the field of human rights for over 20 years. So, what would you like to say to the authorities of the countries reluctant to grant the political asylum?
W: The message we have started to send to the authorities of France, Germany, Italy, the three worst countries in the European Union that reject those applications, is that they have nothing to fear from those Christians. Because they abide by the rules of law, they just want to have a place where they will feel safe, and they should grant them political asylum. And then they will become citizens, beautiful, peaceful citizens of the country, and they will contribute through their work to the development of the economy. They will not be there just to receive money from the State. They will want to take part in the life of the country. I’ve met a number of them in France, in Poland, in Germany, and others coming from Italy as well. Those are young people. They are peaceful. They just want to have a normal life, quiet life, and to contribute to the society where they want to live.
Source: Eastern Light