Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Chinese migrant denied refugee status in Canada for inability to describe Jesus

The Ottawa Citizen reported today that a Chinese migrant was denied his refugee claim partly on the grounds he could not sufficiently answer the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada’s request that he describe what Jesus was “like as a person.”

Wu Xin Wang sought refugee protection in January 2008 claiming he faced persecution in China because of his Christian beliefs.

Wu said he had been a member of the Underground Church in China and had acted as a lookout during church services. In immigration board documents, Wu claimed his wife had called him from China informing him that officials from China’s Public Security Bureau had visited their home as part of an investigation into illegal church activities.

During Wu’s refugee assessment, a board adjudicator asked him what Jesus was like as a person. Wu responded, describing Jesus as the son of God conceived through the Holy Ghost and as his personal saviour. The board member said anyone could memorize and recite a creed.

Last August, the board denied Wu’s refugee claim, finding his professed religious beliefs and practices allegedly a mere attempt to bolster his refugee claim. Wu applied to the Federal Court to review the board’s decision. On May 26, a federal court judge said “he could see no reason to overturn the decision.”

This ruling raises the question of whether Christian migrants need to be able to describe Jesus’ human characteristics in order to be granted refugee status.

You can read more about the questions Wu answered here.

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