OTTAWA — With Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Canada’s new ambassador to China, John McCallum, ambitious to pursue ever greater engagement with the world’s most populous nation, two former ambassadors on April 3 addressed the annual parliamentarians’ forum on religious freedom concerned about rights violations in that country.
“China remains one of the world’s most egregious violators of freedom of religion,” former religious freedom ambassador Andrew Bennett told a packed audience. Bennett is a senior fellow at think tank Cardus, where he chairs a group dedicated to celebrating the importance of faith in Canadian society.
“Let’s be clear, there is no debate about the lack of religious freedom in China. Its government is tightly controlled by an avowedly atheist party,” said David Mulroney, Canada’s former ambassador to China and current president of St. Michael’s College at the University of Toronto.
Completing the panel were human rights advocates and representatives from various faith groups, including the Falun Gong, Tibetan, and Uyghur communities, along with reigning Miss World Canada Anastasia Lin, whom Chinese authorities declared persona non grata for her outspoken views on rights abuses in China.