Spanish Government Denies Religious Asylum to Chinese Christians
Several Chinese Christians have been arriving in Spain since the end of October seeking religious asylum after being denied it in other countries. The lack of response from the Spanish government puts their physical integrity at risk if they are deported to China. Among them is a famous Chinese Catholic actress, Li Yan Li, who has said she would rather die than return to China.
Since 23 October, several Christian citizens from China have arrived at Madrid's Barajas airport seeking asylum from religious persecution in their home country. The Spanish government has already denied asylum to several of the asylum seekers belonging to the "Church of Almighty God", also known as "Eastern Lightning", deporting them to China, while others are still awaiting their fate.
Spain-based Chinese opposition journalist and Human Rights activist Yuan Lee reported the situation on his X (formerly Twitter) account since there was no other media source covering it. He explained that a number of Christians from this Christian Church have been forced to travel to other countries - such as South Korea, Japan or South American countries - seeking asylum from the Chinese government without any result. Now they are trying in Spain, but the Asylum and Refugee Office has not recognised their refugee status and is returning them in batches. Yuan Lee explains that the moment they get back to China they will face all kinds of repression by the State, including torture and probably death.
Among the asylum seekers is 29-year-old Chinese Catholic actress Li Yan Li, known for making Christian films. In the first attempt by the authorities to extradite the actress, once on the plane, she tried to commit suicide to avoid flying to China. So she was returned to the airport and her 'deportation' was postponed until this Sunday 5 November. Meanwhile, Abogados Cristianos, a Spanish Christian lawyer's assassination defending Christian rights in the country, launched a signature campaign to avoid the actress's expulsion. On Sunday the examining magistrate accepted the initial urgent precautionary measures request by Abogados Cristianos, taking her off the plane in which she was to be returned to China in extremis, just a few minutes before take-off. Now she is still waiting for her fate at the airport along with eight other compatriots. Abogados Cristianos announced that the risk of deportation is still grave and it might happen imminently.
A recent tweet by Abogados Cristianos reads: "Li Yan Li came to Spain because of the anti-Christian persecution she was suffering. The government wants to deport her, but Abogados Cristianos is doing everything possible in the courts to prevent this from happening. Meanwhile, Chinese citizens continue to arrive at Barajas T4 to show their support for the actress."
UPDATE: On 10 November Yuan Lee reported that for the time being, Li Yan Li will not be expelled until the new asylum application, handled by Abogados Cristianos, is processed.