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CHINA – CCP Cracks Down on Another Heretical Group: Winnie the Pooh and His Friends

Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP’s) ban on Winnie the Pooh, in force since the character has been compared to President Xi Jinping in 2013, reaches new extremes.

Published by Bitter Winter

In China Xi-Jingping was often referred to as Winnie the Pooh (and vice-versa). The president is not amused…

By Massimo Introvigne

Bitter Winter readers may not be familiar with Theme Park University, a publication devoted to Disney and other theme parks around the world. Yet, the issue of November 24, 2018, was well worth reading. It reported rumors that Shanghai Disneyland may be compelled to eliminate all references and attractions featuring Winnie the Pooh, the beloved teddy bear character created by British author Alan Alexander Milne (1882–1956) in 1925 (for a Christmas short story; the first book appeared in 1926) and made famous by Disney’s animated versions that started in 1966.

“That’s right, Theme Park University commented, no more character meet and greets, no more merchandise and the attractions could get rethemed.” This refers to two popular Shanghai Disneyland attractions, The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh and the teacup ride Pooh’s Hunny Pot Spin. The popular news site Inquisitr commented that this may be very expensive for Disney: “the re-theming of the two attractions would be very costly”—“but there may be no choice.”

No, we are not in April and this is not an April Fool’s joke. In fact, the CCP is cracking down on Winnie the Pooh and his friends as if they were a xie jiao, a banned heterodox movement. As CNN had already reported in 2017, in the tightly controlled Chinese Internet, those who search for “Winnie the Pooh” may receive a message telling them that distributing information about Milne’s teddy bear is actually illegal, and references to the Pooh are also banned from popular Chinese platforms such as WeChat and Sina Weibo.

SERIOUS CENSORSHIP: The trailer of Kingdom Hearts 3, with a white spot replacing the censored Pooh

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RUSSIA : NGOs express serious concerns about rights of defense violations in Russian Scientology case

RUSSIA : NGOs express serious concerns about rights of defense violations in Russian Scientology case

Recently Russian courts target religious minority groups with arbitrary prosecution methods that reminds us of the Soviet era

Scientologists are in jail in Saint Petersburg for the sole fact of practicing their faith, which Russian authorities regard as “extremist,” a charge also used against other groups. We have followed with great concern news published in the Russian media about serious irregularities in the case of Scientologist Ivan Matsitsky, who has been in jail in the last seventeen months. The FSB is being accused of fabricating evidence, and the prosecuting judge of having violated the rights of the defense by not providing Matsitsky and his attorneys with the materials of the case within the date required by the law, and by extending Matsitsky’s pre-trial detention beyond any reasonable limit.

We understand that Matsitsky’s attorney has filed complaints against both Judge Evgeny Isakov and the FSB. We urge the Russian authorities to seriously investigate the complaints, to restore Matsitsky’s right of defense, and to abandon their faulty interpretation of the notion of extremism, which is used as a tool to ban unpopular religious minorities.
November 2o, 2018
  • CAP-LC Coordination des Associations et des Particuliers pour la Liberté de Conscience 
  • CESNUR – Center for Studies on New Religions 
  • EIFRF European Inter-Religious Forum for Religious Freedom 
  • FOB – European Federation for Freedom of Belief 
  • FOREF – Forum for Religious Freedom Europe 
  • HRWF – Human Rights Without Frontiers 
  • Soteria International

Related Article:

Scientologist’s attorney complains about the judge and asks for disciplinary action against him

The defense attorney of the spiritual leader of St Pete Scientologists Ivan Matsitsky filed a complaint with the Judiciary Qualifications Board of St Petersburg against St Petersburg City Court judge Evgeny Isakov, who, back in October this year, extended pretrial detention of the Hubbard’s follower who is being charged with organizing of an extremist conspiracy, incitement of hatred or enmity, and illegal entrepreneurship. The attorney believes that the judge neglected his duties, and thus the defense attorney asks the Board to take disciplinary action against Isakov.

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Posted in Alexander Dvorkin, CESNUR, FECRIS, FoRB Violations, FOREF Europe, HRWF, Human Rights, OSCE, Putin, Religious Discrimination, Religious Freedom, Russia, Russian-Orthodox Church | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

THE HOAX:False Demonstrations Against Chinese Refugees in Seoul South Korea

False Demonstrations Against Chinese Refugees in Seoul South Korea


“The Hoax”  is a great new video documentary about the false demonstrations against Chinese christian refugees in South Korea. The video shows clearly how the long arm of the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) reaches into another sovereign country to continue its persecution of Christians who tried to escape surveillance & torture. The producer, a renown Italian  scholar Dr. Massimo Introvigne  brilliantly explains the historical background of state sanctioned religious persecution in China.

On August 31, 2018, agents assigned by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) organized some relatives of Christians from The Church of Almighty God (CAG) who had fled to South Korea from China, to hold a press conference at the Jeju Parliament under the pretext of “seeking for relatives.” They strongly requested the Korean authorities to deport the displaced Christians back to China. Between September 1 and September 4, Ms. O (吴某, Ms. Wu), a pro-Chinese Korean activist, recruited professional demonstrators along with some relatives of CAG Christians to stage false “spontaneous” demonstrations respectively at the CAG communities in Seoul and Chungcheongbuk-do, and before the Blue House, the executive office of the President of South Korea.

During the demonstrations, Mr. Peter Zoehrer, an Austrian reporter and the executive director of the Forum for Religious Freedom Europe (FOREF Europe), was one of the witnesses on site. He witnessed the hateful representations of the self-styled demonstrators, and had interviews with some CAG Christians who are in South Korea. He stated that the CAG has been subjected to persecution in China, and that CAG members had fled to South Korea and sought asylum there for religious freedom. He also pointed out that it is the Chinese Communist Party that had disrupted their families, while The Church of Almighty God had not been responsible for family disruption. Please join us for the footage of his interviews.

Follow us on:
FOREF Europe Twitter https://twitter.com/FOREF_EU
FOREF Europe Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/foref/
The video is from the new YouTube Channel “Bitter Winter”, the online magazine that reports on religious persecution in China:
“Bitter Winter”
on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCEy7…
“Bitter Winter” Online Magazine: https://bitterwinter.org


Posted in CESNUR, China, Christians, Falun Gong, FoRB Violations, FOREF Europe, HRWF, Human Rights, Interviews, Kidnapping, Peking, Religious Discrimination, Religious Freedom, religious persecution, Torture, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

PRESSEMITTEILUNG – ÖSTERREICH: Werden Blasphemiegesetze aus der Mottenkiste geholt?

ÖSTERREICH: Werden Blasphemiegesetze aus der Mottenkiste geholt?

Europäischer Gerichtshof für Menschenrechte rechtfertigt Bestrafung einer Frau wegen Islamkritik

Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff spricht bei der American Freedom Alliance Konferenz in Los Angeles, USA

Wien, 29.10.2018 (FOREF) – Das Forum für Religionsfreiheit Europa (FOREF), ein unabhängiger Verein (NGO) mit Sitz in Wien, erhebt vehement Einspruch gegen die jüngste Entscheidung des Europäischen Gerichtshofes für Menschenrechte (EGMR). Der EGMR bestätigte das Urteil gegen Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff, eine österreichische Staatsbürgerin, wegen einer Bemerkung über die Tatsache, dass der Prophet Mohammed eine Minderjährige ehelichte.

In einem Seminar zum Islam hatte die Beschuldigte darauf hingewiesen, dass der Prophet Mohammed pädophil gewesen sei, da er ein 6-jähriges Mädchen geheiratet hatte. Am 25. Oktober 2018 hat der EGMR das gegen die Frau von einem Wiener Gericht gefällte Urteil betreffs „abfällige Äußerungen zu religiösen Glaubensinhalten“ bestätigt. Das Wiener Gericht hatte 2011 befunden, dass die Meinung von Sabaditsch-Wolff nicht durch den Artikel 10 der Europäischen Menschenrechtskonvention geschützt sei. Provokante Bemerkungen über Glaubensinhalte und Gegenstände der Verehrung, „welche imstande sind die Gefühle der Anhänger einer Religion zu verletzen, können als böswilliger Verstoß gegen den Geist der Toleranz gewertet werden“, heißt es in der Begründung. Der Europäische Gerichtshof für Menschenrechte argumentiert, dass das österreichische Gericht „sorgfältig die Freiheit auf Meinungsäußerung seitens der Beschwerdeführerin mit den Rechten der anderen, welche ihre religiösen Gefühle geschützt sehen wollen, abgewogen hat.“ Das EGMR behauptete weiters, dass die Entscheidung mit der Absicht gefällt worden sei, den „religiösen Frieden“ in der österreichischen Gesellschaft zu bewahren.

FOREF wendet demgegenüber ein, dass es kein Menschenrecht darauf gibt, welches persönliche Gefühle vor gesprochenen Worten schützen würde. Vielmehr seien alle Mitglieder einer Gesellschaft dafür verantwortlich, umstrittene Sachverhalte in zivilisierter Weise zu diskutieren. „Das Ganze ist ein weiterer Übergriff auf das Gesetz, um die Freiheit über Fakten zu diskutieren und Meinungen auszudrücken, weiter einzuschränken“, kritisiert der renommierte Menschenrechtsexperte Dr. Aaron Rhodes. „Diese Entscheidung bedeutet, dass unsere Freiheiten beschnitten werden, und zwar aus Rücksicht auf jene, die mit gewaltsamen Reaktionen drohen. Aber es sind gerade diese Drohungen, die den gesellschaftlichen Frieden gefährden, und nicht irgendwelche Diskussionen über historische und moralische Streitpunkte,“ betont der Präsident von FOREF.

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Posted in Aaron Rhodes, Austria, blasphemy laws, Court Decisions, ECtHR, Europe, FOREF Europe, Hate Speech, Human Rights, Islam, Legislation, Muslims, Religion, Shariah | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

PRESS-RELEASE: ECHR Upholds Ruling that Criminalizes Islam-Critique

AUSTRIA: Subjugating Free Speech to Blasphemy Laws?

ECHR Upholds Ruling that Criminalizes Islam-Critique

The European Court of Human Rights is an international court set up in 1959. It rules on individual or State applications alleging violations of the civil and political rights set out in the European Convention on Human Rights.

Vienna, 29.10.2018 (FOREF) — The Forum for Religious Freedom Europe (FOREF Europe), an independent nongovernmental organization based in Vienna, today voiced its strong disagreement with the latest decision of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR). The ECHR upheld the conviction of an Austrian citizen for her remarks about the Prophet Mohammad’s marriage to a young child. Will this case move Europe one step closer towards subjugating free speech to blasphemy laws?

In seminars about Islam, the defendant had suggested that the Prophet Mohammad was a pedophile for having married a six-year old girl when he was 56 years old. On October 25, 2018, the ECHR  upheld Vienna Regional Criminal Court’s  decision (2011) on her conviction for “disparaging religious doctrines.” The local court ruled that the woman’s speech was not protected as freedom of expression under Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

Provocative remarks about religious doctrines or objects of worship “capable of hurting the feelings of the followers of that religion could be conceived as a malicious violation of the spirit of tolerance,” according to the ruling.The European Court concluded that the Austrian courts “carefully balanced the applicant’s right to freedom of expression with the rights of others to have their religious feelings protected.” It also claimed that the ruling was meant to preserve “religious peace” in Austrian society.

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Posted in Aaron Rhodes, Austria, ECtHR, Europe, Hate Speech, Human Rights, Islam, Legislation, Religious Freedom, Shariah | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

CHINA’S BLACKLIST OF FORBIDDEN RELIGIONS – The Chinese Communist Party’s War on Religious Liberty

The Black-Lists: The Evolution of China’s List of “Illegal and Evil Cults”

Xi Jinping

Edward A. Irons

The Hong Kong Institute for Culture, Commerce and Religion

Bublished by CESNUR:

ABSTRACT: In China, departments under the central government have published lists of banned and illegal religious groups since 1995. This practice can be seen as an extension of traditional ways of categorizing heterodox associations dating back to imperial times. Groups on the current list are often identified as xie jiao—normally translated as “evil cults.” The list is thus directly connected to questions of the categorization of religion in China. The study of the lists provides insight into the government’s evolving policy on religion, as well as the legal environment for religious activity.

Over the past quarter century, China has sporadically published lists of banned religious groups. These lists as they have been consolidated and published reflect the government’s evolved thinking on religious policy, and illuminate significant aspects of the contemporary religious scene in China while offering insights into the government’s official policy toward religion. The consolidated lists were published in 1995, 2000, again in 2014, and most recently in September of 2017. These published announcements constitute the “lists” proper. They are supplemented by a number of individual circulars that speak to a more limited number of the banned groups, which provide content that would be subsequently compiled into the longer lists.

A range of agencies are involved in these circulars, but the major lists are published by Public Safety, the State Council, both government agencies, and the General Office of the Central Committee, a department of the party. Recent lists appear under the aegis of the recently-established agency established to counter xie jiao groups, the Anti-Cult Association.

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Posted in CESNUR, China, Christians, Falun Gong, FoRB Violations, FOREF Europe, Human Rights, Peking, Religious Discrimination, Religious Freedom, Religious Intolerance, religious persecution, Torture, Unification Church | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment