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ICC Note: Taiwan played host to the first ever Asia-Pacific Religious Freedom Forum in late February where notable politicians and religious leaders met to discuss the rise in religious persecution throughout the region. Just the past week saw the deadly Lahore, Pakistan bombing that killed more than 70 people, including at least 19 Christians and the terrorist perpetrators claimed they were targeting believers. From China to Pakistan, Vietnam and Thailand, to India, North Korea and beyond, the rise of religious extremism and stalwart authoritarianism has increased the heat on the Christian church, among other religious minorities persecuted in different cultural contexts.

By Asif Aqeel

3/31/16 Taiwan (World Watch Monitor) – Persecution due to people’s faith has increased over recent years in the Asia-Pacific region, said speakers addressing the first Asia-Pacific Religious Freedom Forum, held from February 18-21 in Taiwan.

The conference, hosted by former Vice-President of Taiwan Annette Lu, was timed during Chinese New Year celebrations and right after the general elections in Taiwan.

A declaration, presented by the President of US-based Freedom House, Mark P. Lagon, affirmed a “commitment to establish and reinforce networks of advocates dedicated to promoting freedom of religion or belief in their respective countries and in the Asia-Pacific region, including the creation of both governmental and non-governmental mechanisms to promote freedom of religion.”

ChinaAid President Bob Fu, a former Chinese dissident himself, said the declaration was a roadmap “for those who wish for a free world”.

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