Last Updated: Friday, 15 December 2017, 16:28 GMT

USCIRF Annual Report 2006 - China

Publisher United States Commission on International Religious Freedom
Publication Date 1 May 2006
Cite as United States Commission on International Religious Freedom, USCIRF Annual Report 2006 - China, 1 May 2006, available at: [accessed 16 December 2017]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

The Chinese government continues to engage in systematic and egregious violations of freedom of religion or belief. Although the number of professed religious adherents has expanded in recent years, conditions for religious freedom have nevertheless remained poor. Moreover, ongoing efforts to implement certain legislative and economic reforms have not rectified the fundamental failures in the legal system that perpetuate religious freedom abuses. Chinese government officials continue to control, monitor, and restrain the activities of all religious communities, including Uighur Muslims, Tibetan Buddhists, various spiritual movements such as the Falun Gong, "underground" Roman Catholics, and "house church" Protestants. Prominent religious leaders and laypersons alike continue to be confined, tortured, "disappeared," imprisoned, and/or subjected to other forms of ill treatment on account of their religion or belief. Since 1999, the Commission has recommended that China be designated as a "country of particular concern," or CPC. The State Department has followed the Commission's recommendations and named China a CPC.

In August 2005, a Commission delegation made an unprecedented two-week visit to China to engage senior government officials on Chinese policies and practices relating to religious freedom. The trip followed three years of diplomatic effort by the U.S. government. During the visit, the delegation traveled to the cities of Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu, Urumqi, Kashgar, and Lhasa. The Commission delegation raised questions about Chinese law and international human rights norms, the control and management of religious affairs, new regulations on "cults" and religious affairs, the situations in Xinjiang and Tibet, religious education of minors, Chinese policy toward unregistered religious communities, and other matters relating to freedom of religion or belief, as well as the condition of North Korean asylum-seekers in China. The Commission also raised specific cases of concern with law enforcement officials. For a full discussion of this visit, see the chapter entitled, "China: Commission Makes First Official Visit" in this report.

In March 2005, the Chinese government promulgated the National Regulations on Religious Affairs, which replaced previous regulations issued in 1994. Though Chinese leaders heralded the regulations as "a significant step forward in the protection of religious freedom," the bulk of the regulations in fact codify provisions previously scattered through several sets of laws, ordinances, and regulations. Provisions in the 2005 regulations specify conditions with which registered religious organizations must comply in order to gain permission to provide social services in local communities, accept donations from overseas, and host inter-provincial religious meetings. Several of the protections laid out in the new regulations, such as the protection of "normal" religious activities, safeguards of religious properties, and democratic election for management committees of religious venues, have been part of Chinese law for several years. Yet, these provisions in the past have failed adequately to protect religious organizations from harassment, intimidation, and interference from state authorities.

After studying the matter, consulting with experts, and discussing the issue in China, the Commission concludes that the new regulations were issued in large measure to regularize the management of religious affairs, thus offering Party leaders more extensive control over all religious groups and their activities. Under the new rules, success with regard to implementation is measured according to the number and proportion of unregistered religious organizations and sites that local officials can succeed in bringing into the structure of officially registered religious groups. Any religious activity outside this official structure is illegal and subject to restriction. Local Religious Affairs Bureaus (RAB) pressure unregistered groups to become registered or to merge with existing registered groups. Groups that persistently resist pressure to register have been shut down and their leaders detained or fined, and in some cases, made to face criminal prosecution.

In practice, the process for registration requires religious groups to affiliate with one of the seven government-sanctioned "patriotic religious organizations." Some groups have resisted such an affiliation due to requirements that they 1) provide the government with the names and contact information of their congregants; 2) receive approval from the relevant patriotic religious organization on leadership decisions; and 3) inform that organization about religious activities and programs. Some religious leaders also report that the patriotic religious organizations sometimes interfere in doctrinal decisions and require them to refrain from teaching on certain subjects or presiding over certain religious rituals. Officials from China's State Administration on Religious Affairs have remarked that while religious organizations and religious venues are required to register, registration is not necessary for small groups of families and friends meeting to worship in private homes. During its visit to China in August 2005, the Commission received varying answers from numerous officials regarding the definitions of what would constitute "small groups of families and friends." Some officials stated that only larger groups and groups that meet on a regular, permanent basis would be required to register; however the criteria continues to be vague, and individuals have still been detained because of worship ceremonies conducted in unofficial settings.

Within the last two years, Chinese leaders have continued a campaign to root out what they view as "foreign infiltration," a campaign that has, in some cases, targeted religious organizations that attempt to maintain affiliation with co-religionists abroad, although such contact is specifically affirmed in the UN Declaration on the Elimination of Intolerance. The campaign originates from Politburo level leadership and has been carried out more intensively in areas with a greater presence of unregistered religious activity and in certain ethnic minority areas, such as the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) and the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region (XUAR). In fall 2005, reports indicated that Chinese officials considered the case against Protestant house church Pastor Cai Zhuohua, discussed further below, an important part of the campaign to root out "foreign infiltration."

In the largely Muslim XUAR, freedom of religion or belief continues to be severely curtailed by the government, which often conflates peaceful Uighur political opposition with violent separatist activities, extremism, and/or terrorism. The already poor situation deteriorated further in the past year, as a campaign against "terrorism, separatism and religious extremism," perpetuated through orders originating from China's Politburo, targeted politically, socially and religiously active members of Uighur society. Since September 11, 2001, the government has used concerns about international terrorism as a pretext to monitor and control Muslim religious activities. Uighur Muslim clerics and students have been detained for various "illegal" religious activities, "illegal religious centers" have been closed, and police continue to confiscate large quantities of "illegal religious publications." Some religious leaders and activists who attempt to publicize these and other abuses have received prolonged prison terms, or even death sentences, on charges of "separatism" and "endangering social order." All imams in Xinjiang are required to undergo annual political training seminars to retain their licenses, and local security forces maintain a dossier on them to make sure they meet political requirements.

In response to concerted and persistent pressure from the U.S. and European Union governments, Chinese authorities released Uighur businesswoman Rebiya Kadeer in March 2005. Kadeer was arrested in 1999 for trying to deliver a letter to a visiting staff delegation from the U.S. Congressional Research Service. The letter was critical of the Chinese government's policies in Xinjiang, including its suppression of Islam. Since Ms. Kadeer's exile, her family members in Urumqi have been harassed and placed under surveillance. Two of her business associates were taken into custody in June 2005. The authorities have charged the two with tax evasion but have presented no evidence that any crime was committed. In August 2005, Wang Lequan, Chairman of the XUAR and Member of the Chinese Politburo, accused Ms. Kadeer of meeting with terrorist organizations in a plot to sabotage the upcoming celebration of the fiftieth anniversary of the XUAR.

During the Commission's visit to China in August 2005, religious affairs officials in Xinjiang confirmed to Commissioners the existence of a policy that forbids minors from participating in any religious activity before completing nine years of compulsory education. During that same month, human rights groups reported that Aminan Momixi, a woman in a rural area of Xinjiang, was arrested and detained for holding religious classes for 37 students in her home. Throughout Xinjiang, teachers, professors, university students, and other government employees are prohibited from engaging in religious activities, such as reciting daily prayers, distributing religious materials, and observing Ramadan, as well as wearing head coverings, and are reportedly subject to fines if they attempt to do so.

The Chinese government retains tight control over religious activity and places of worship in the TAR. The religious activities of monks and nuns are highly controlled, monasteries are administrated by government-approved management committees, and the Communist Party insists in approving the selection and training of reincarnate lamas. The Chinese government acknowledges that more than 100 Tibetan Buddhist monks and nuns are being held in prison. Tibetan human rights groups claim that these prisoners are subject to torture and other ill-treatment. There have been some high-profile early releases or reduced sentences of Tibetan Buddhists in the past several years. In February 2004, authorities released Phuntsog Nyidron, a nun who had been held in Drapchi Prison since 1989. Phuntsog Nyidron remained under constant surveillance and her freedom of association was extremely limited until she was permitted to leave Tibet for the United States in March 2006. Nevertheless, neither recent prisoner releases nor renewed contact between China and the Dalai Lama's epresentatives have brought any significant changes to the government's overall policy of strict control over religion in Tibet.

The Chinese government continues to deny repeated international requests for access to the 17-year old boy whom the Dalai Lama designated as the 11th Panchen Lama. Government officials have stated that he is being "held for his own safety," while also claiming that another boy, one of their choosing, is the "true" Panchen Lama. In January 2003, Tenzin Delek Rinpoche was arrested on charges related to a 2002 bombing incident and later sentenced to death. U.S. officials were promised that the evidence used to convict Tenzin Delek would be reviewed by the Supreme People's Court. After more than two years, the case has never been reviewed, though Tenzin Delek's death sentence was commuted to life imprisonment in January 2005. Additionally, Pawo Rimpoche, a reincarnate lama recognized by the Karmapa Lama in 1994, remains under strict surveillance and is not permitted to leave his monastery.

Reports indicate that official campaigns to promote "patriotic education" in Tibet, and especially in Lhasa, have intensified in the past year. In July 2005, 18 monks were expelled from Sera Monastery in Lhasa for refusing to participate in "patriotic education" sessions. Additionally, 40 nuns were expelled from Gyarak Nunnery in October for similar reasons. In November, five monks from Drepung Monastery in Lhasa were arrested and detained after they, along with several other monks, refused to renounce their loyalty to the Dalai Lama. During the Commission's visit to Lhasa, Tibetan officials in charge of religious affairs and of public security informed the Commission that although it is not illegal for citizens to possess pictures of the Dalai Lama, it is illegal to distribute them or to display them, since that could be interpreted as incitement to separatist activities. In January 2006, authorities in Shigatse Prefecture reportedly arrested Phuntsog Tsering, the chant master of Magar Dhargyeling Monastery, on charges of possessing a portrait of the Dalai Lama. In April 2005, the Tibet Information Network reported raids in a Tibetan border town in which officials reportedly entered the homes of Tibetan residents and confiscated pictures and books that contained speeches of the Dalai Lama.

Beginning with the banning of Falun Gong in 1999, the Chinese government has conducted a campaign against what it calls "evil cults" and "heretical sects." Tens of thousands of Falun Gong practitioners have been sent to labor camps without trial or sent to mental health institutions for re-education due to their affiliation with an "evil cult." Falun Gong practitioners claim that between 1,000 to 2,000 practitioners have been killed as a result of police brutality. Given the lack of judicial transparency, the number and treatment of Falun Gong practitioners in confinement is difficult to confirm. Nevertheless, there is substantial evidence from foreign diplomats, international human rights groups, and human rights activists in Hong Kong that the crackdowns on the Falun Gong continue to be widespread and violent. During the Commission's August 2005 visit, several high level Chinese government officials reiterated official support for these crackdowns and defended labeling Falun Gong an "evil cult." In the past year, a growing number of reports have surfaced regarding the re-arrest of Falun Gong practitioners who have been released after completing terms of imprisonment originating from the original crackdown in 1999 and 2000. In addition, the Chinese government has reportedly continued to pressure foreign businesses in China to sign statements denouncing the Falun Gong and to refuse to emply the group's followers.

The campaign against "evil cults" has, in recent years, expanded beyond the Falun Gong and similar groups to those religious communities that have refused to register and become part of the system of officially-sanctioned religious organizations. This campaign has targeted leaders and members of newer, as well as long-established, Protestant and Catholic groups which, for various reasons, have not registered with the government. Religious leaders have been imprisoned and followers detained and fined for "cultist activity." Many of the congregants of the unregistered South China Church, including its pastor, remain in jail facing serious charges and are allegedly subject to torture and other ill treatment in prison. In August 2005, about 40 members of the South China Church were reportedly detained in Hubei when they met to receive religious training from expatriate co-religionists. In March 2006, 17 leaders of the Three Grades of Servant Church, which the government has labeled an "evil cult," were tried on charges of murder and fraud after authorities accused them of killing members of the Eastern Lightening Sect. Lawyers in that case claim that confessions from the 17 men were coerced through torture.

The Chinese government also continues its repression of the unregistered Roman Catholic Church in China, which maintains its allegiance to the Vatican. There are at least 40 Catholic bishops or priests under arrest, imprisoned, or detained, including 74-year old Bishop Su Zhimin, who has been in prison, in detention, under house arrest, or under strict surveillance since the 1970s. Bishop Su's Auxiliary Bishop, An Shuxin, has not been seen since he was detained in 1996, although Bishop Jin of Shanghai reported to the Commission in August 2005 that he had been permitted to visit Bishop An in Hebei in 2001. In August 2004, Bishop Gao Kexian died of unknown causes in a prison where he had been since 1997. In March 2005, Bishop Zhao Zhendong of Hebei was detained along with two other priests. Their current whereabouts remain unknown. Clergy in Hebei, Fujian, and Shaanxi provinces were harassed, detained, and arrested during the past year. In November 2005, authorities in Hebei arrested six priests who serve with underground Bishop Jia Zhiguo, who himself remains under house arrest. Also in November, at least 16 nuns were beaten in Shaanxi province in attempts to prevent the demolition of a Catholic school. One of the nuns was paralyzed in the incident. In December, police reported that 11 people had been arrested and charged in the beatings, although the nuns claim that at least 40 persons were involved.

Despite tensions in some parts of the country, an ongoing effort continues for reconciliation between registered and unregistered communities of Catholics. In late 2005, at ordination ceremonies for two auxiliary bishops, one in Shanghai and one in Xian, the candidates publicly stated their allegiance to Rome during the ceremony with no reported repercussions from the government. The Vatican claims that Pope Benedict had played a role in the appointment of these two bishops, although the Chinese government refuses publicly to acknowledge such a role. In October 2005, three Chinese bishops were denied permission from the Chinese government to attend a Vatican Synod in Rome.

Conditions for unregistered Protestant groups in China remained poor during the last year. According to the State Department, in some regions of China, members of Protestant house church groups that refuse to affiliate with the national patriotic religious association on either theological or political grounds, are subject to intimidation, extortion, harassment, detention, and the closing of their churches. In the last year, the Chinese government continued to carry out large-scale raids on several meetings of house church pastors in various parts of the country. In January 2006, a well-established house church that has been meeting for several years in Beijing was raided by police. Authorities reportedly cited the March 2005 Regulations on Religious Affairs and declared the venue an "illegal religious gathering." In addition, in the past year, dozens of pastors were arrested, detained, and, in some cases, released in Hebei, Hubei, Henan, Xinjiang, and Anhui provinces. At least 15 pastors remain in custody from this series of mass arrests. In March 2006, a registered church in Henan was reportedly raided and three of its leaders taken into custody because it was conducting activities outside the framework of an official agreement with the Three Self Patriotic Movement of Protestant Churches, considered the sole body through which Protestant congregations may worship and engage in religious activities. However, in some parts of the country, unregistered house churches with hundreds of members meet openly, with the full knowledge of local authorities. For example, in Yanbian Korean Autonomous Prefecture, Protestant leaders report that unregistered house churches are able to maintain their activities without interference from authorities.

In September 2005, house church historian Zhang Yinan was released from a reeducation-through-labor facility in Henan Province after completing his two year sentence. In the past year, Xu Yonghai and Zhang Shengqi, house church activists who had been sentenced to prison in August 2004 for sending materials on the persecution of Christians in China to organizations in the United States, were both released. However, their colleague, Liu Fenggang, who was also arrested at that time, reportedly continues to be ill treated inside the prison. The UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention has examined the cases of Zhang Yinan and Liu Fenggang and has determined that both cases were arbitrary detentions. In November 2005, House Church pastor Cai Zhuohua received a three year sentence on charges of "illegal business" after authorities confiscated over 200,000 copies of the Bible and other religious books from his storage facility in Beijing. Three of Cai's relatives received lesser sentences in this case. In September 2005, Tong Qimiao was reportedly beaten at a public security substation in Kashgar, Xinjiang while police interrogated him regarding the activities of house churches in the region. In June 2004, a local Chinese newspaper reported that a woman, Jiang Zongxiu, detained in Guizhou for distributing Bibles, died in police custody and that her body showed signs of torture.

In November 2005, the Commission held a press conference with Members of Congress to release the Commission's findings and recommendations resulting from its August 2005 visit to China. In addition to its visit in August 2005 and its earlier visit to Hong Kong in January 2004, the Commission has carried out a number of activities on China. In November 2005, several Members of Congress released a letter urging the Chinese government to issue all necessary documents and facilitate procedures for the travel to the United States of Tibetan nun and former political prisoner Phuntsog Nyidron, with whom the Commission met in Lhasa in August. At that time, the Commission pressed the Chinese government to allow her to travel abroad to seek medical attention. The Commission was the first group to be allowed to see Phuntsog Nyidron following the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention in February 2004. In April 2006, Commission Chair Michael Cromartie offered remarks at a reception held by the International Campaign for Tibet to welcome Phuntsog Nyidron to the United States following her arrival in Washington in March.

In October 2005, the Commission wrote a letter to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales expressing its concern over the decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in the case Li v. Gonzales, which involved an asylum claim by a Chinese Christian who organized an unregistered house church in China. The Commission remained active in correspondence with the Justice Department regarding this case until the court's decision was vacated in November. Detailed information about the Commission's actions on the Li case can be found in the chapter on "IRFA and the U.S. Refugee and Asylum Programs" in this report.

S. Res. 91, introduced in March 2005 and passed by unanimous consent in the Senate, contains Commission findings that the People's Republic of China remains a primary supplier of weapons to countries such as Burma and Sudan, where the military has played a key role in the suppression of religious and ethnic minorities.

In April 2006, the House passed H. Con. Res. 365, which urges the Chinese government to lift restrictions on and end harassment of Chinese lawyers defending individuals whose freedom of religion or belief has been violated, as well as human rights activists. The Resolution includes several of the Commission's recommendations for improving religious freedom and expanding the rule of law in China.

In addition to recommending that China be designated a CPC, the Commission offers the following recommendations concerning U.S. policy toward China.

I. Ending Human Rights Abuses in China

The U.S. government should urge the Chinese government to end severe violations of religious freedom and other human rights. To this end, the U.S. government should urge the Chinese government to:

  • end its current crackdown on religious and spiritual groups throughout China, including harassment, surveillance, arrest, and detention of persons on account of their manifestation of religion or belief; the detention, torture, and ill-treatment of persons in prisons, labor camps, psychiatric facilities, and other places of confinement; and the coercion of individuals to renounce or condemn any religion or belief;
  • release all those imprisoned or detained on account of their manifestation of religious belief in contravention of international human rights standards; and
  • establish a mechanism for reviewing cases of persons detained under suspicion of, or charged with, offenses relating to state security, disturbing social order, "counterrevolutionary" or "splittist" activities, or organizing or participating in "illegal" gatherings or religious activities. This mechanism should also review cases of detained or imprisoned religious leaders, many of whom have been charged with specious criminal offenses.

In addition, the U.S. government should:

  • raise publicly concerns about Chinese human rights abuses in multilateral fora, including at appropriate UN bodies or other international and multi-national fora, and ensure that preparations for such actions be made at appropriately high levels; and
  • fully implement the March 2005 bilateral agreement between the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the U.S. Department of State. To this end, the U.S. government should urge the Chinese government to:
    • issue a national decree guaranteeing the right of minors to manifest their religion or belief and the liberty of parents to ensure the religious and moral education of their children in conformity with their own convictions;
    • undertake measures to ensure that this decree is implemented fully and fairly in all regions of the country and among members of all religious groups;
    • provide a clear definition of "religious gatherings at home," including the circumstances under which such gatherings are required to register as religious venues; and
    • determine dates for a visit to China by the new UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief, in accordance with the terms of reference required by the Special Rapporteur.

II. Building on Existing Efforts to Improve the Rule of Law in China

The U.S. government should make the promotion of the rule of law a greater priority of U.S. human rights diplomacy in China. To this end, the U.S. government should continue to urge the Chinese government to:

  • ratify and implement the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), which China signed in 1998;
  • amend or repeal Article 306 of the Criminal Procedure Code, which has been used against attorneys who have vigorously defended the rights of their clients;
  • amend or repeal Article 111 of the Criminal Procedure Code, which labels as "state secrets" any published information deemed embarrassing to the government, and raise the issue of China's use of "state security" as a rationale for suppressing dissent in bilateral and multilateral discussion;
  • investigate allegations of abuses of power by law enforcement officials and the use of torture to extract confessions in criminal cases, including the cases raised by the Commission with the Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, report publicly on the results of the investigations, and punish those found responsible for such abuses; and
  • end the use of government filters on web sites and e-mail and remove official restrictions on Internet message boards and text messaging, including blockage of access to certain web sites related to religion, belief, or human rights; revise the September 2000 State Council regulations on Internet Content Providers (ICP) and offer ICPs clear and consistent guidelines for web site content and usage to ensure that Chinese law and practice in this area conform to international standards on the freedoms of opinion and expression.

In addition, the U.S. government should:

  • appoint a new Counselor for Human Rights and the Rule of Law at the U.S. Embassy in Beijing and ensure that U.S. funded programs advance the priorities of U.S. human rights diplomacy, including the promotion of religious freedom, with China; and
  • vigorously promote international human rights norms in legal reform and religious affairs by supporting:
    • programs with U.S. human rights experts and Chinese government officials, academics, representatives of religious communities, and non-governmental organizations on international standards relating to the right of freedom of religion or belief, and the importance and benefits of upholding human rights, including freedom of thought, conscience, and religion or belief;
    • programs with international human rights experts and Chinese scholars, judges, attorneys, and government officials on reforms to the Chinese criminal justice system, including planned changes in the criminal procedure code, the role of defense lawyers, and international norms on criminal justice standards; and
    • consultations between international human rights experts and Chinese officials and others on the compatibility of Chinese laws, regulations, and practices with ICCPR standards on freedom of religion or belief. These consultations should occur within the 2006 calendar year.

The U.S. Congress should authorize the State Department's Human Rights and Democracy Fund to initiate new human rights and rule of law programs on freedom of religion or belief, targeting both religious and ethnic minorities in consultation with the Commission and with the Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom.

III. Strengthening International Coordination for Technical Assistance Programs

The U.S. government should:

  • encourage international coordination of internationally funded technical assistance programs in China to ensure that programs advance 1) Chinese compliance with its international human rights commitments, and 2) the objectives of the bilateral and multilateral human rights initiatives with China.

IV. Expanding U.S. Outreach and Public Diplomacy in Tibet and Xinjiang

The U.S. government should:

  • urge the Chinese government to allow a U.S. government presence, such as consulates in Lhasa, Tibet and Urumqi, Xinjiang, which would be able to monitor religious freedom and other human rights conditions; and
  • strengthen its efforts to highlight conditions faced by Uighur Muslims and Tibetan Buddhists by:
    • addressing religious freedom and other human rights concerns in bilateral discussions;
    • increasing the number of educational opportunities in the United States that are available to religious and other leaders from these regions, in order to enhance their understanding of religious freedom and other human rights according to international standards;
    • creating legal clinics to assist those in areas of high concentrations of Uighur Muslim and Tibetan Buddhist populations to enforce their human rights under the Chinese Constitution and international law, building on existing programs that serve other ethnic minority areas in China;
    • expanding ongoing assistance to civil society programs that promote Tibetan culture, language, and social welfare and developing similar programs for Uighurs;
    • increasing the number and frequency of broadcasts in the Tibetan and Uighur languages by the Voice of America and Radio Free Asia; and
    • using official U.S. delegations traveling in the region and other means to disseminate among local populations documents on international human rights standards in local languages.

V. Enhancing the U.S.-China Bilateral Human Rights Dialogue

The U.S. government should:

  • ensure that congressional oversight of U.S.-China Bilateral Human Rights Dialogue is maintained by requiring the State Department to submit an annual public report to the appropriate congressional committees detailing issues discussed at the previous year's U.S.China human rights dialogue and describing progress made toward a series of "benchmarks" specified by Congress.

VI. Addressing the Conditions of North Koreans in China

The U.S. government should:

  • continue to urge the Chinese government to protect North Koreans in China by:
    • upholding its international obligations to protect asylum seekers by (1) working with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to establish a mechanism to confer at least temporary asylum on those seeking such protection; (2) providing the UNHCR with unrestricted access to interview North Korean nationals in China; and (3) ensuring that any migrants who are being returned pursuant to any bilateral agreement are not potential asylum seekers refouled in violation of China's obligations under the 1951 Refugee Convention and its 1967 Protocol;
    • granting legal residence to the North Korean spouses of Chinese citizens and their children; and
    • allowing international humanitarian organizations greater access to North Koreans in China to address growing social problems experienced by this vulnerable population, including child and sexual trafficking and forced labor;
  • place a higher priority on working with China and other countries in the region to provide safe haven, secure transit, and clear resettlement procedures for North Koreans; and
  • ensure that the Department of State and the Department of Homeland Security work with China, South Korea, and other countries in the region to resolve quickly the remaining technical and legal issues surrounding the resettlement of North Koreans in the United States and other countries.

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