From Minsk to Beijing, authoritarian and totalitarian regimes threaten human dignity. Regimes that deliberately oppress their own citizens are behaving increasingly aggressively and pose a security threat to our democracies. What can we ourselves do for freedom in the world? We are inspired by Benedict Rogers, who has long been on the side of the persecuted and oppressed, as evidenced by his latest book China Nexus, which chronicles 50 trips to China and 80 interviews with exiles and dissidents. He will highlight his experiences of the practices of the Chinese Communist Party. He will also discuss the Chinese view of geopolitics and will not omit the controversy over the Holy See's policy towards China.
The event is being prepared in collaboration with the office of MEP Miriam Lexmann, who will open the event with a speech.
Benedict Rogers, a human rights activist and writer, is co-founder and executive director of Hong Kong Watch and senior East Asia analyst at Christian Solidarity Worldwide, an organization specializing in freedom of religion or belief. He is the author of seven books and discusses his faith journey in From Burma to Rome: A Journey into the Catholic Church. His book, The China Nexus: Thirty Years In and Around the Chinese Communist Party's Tyranny, was published in 2022. He received the International Religious Freedom Champion Award in 2021 and the St. Thomas More Award from the International Catholic Legislators Network in 2022. Ben Rogers lives in London and writes about religion and rights issues in Asia, particularly Hong Kong and China, Myanmar, Indonesia and North Korea.
Miriam Lexmann (KDH/EĽS) is a Member of the European Parliament. Her priorities include the protection of freedom, democracy and human dignity in Slovakia, the European Union and the world. She is a member of the EP Committee on Foreign Affairs, the Subcommittee on Security and Defence and the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs. She is also a member of the Delegation for relations with Belarus and of the Delegation to the Euronest Parliamentary Assembly for cooperation with the Eastern Partnership countries. She is one of the founding members and co-chair of the Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China (IPAC), as well as of the Hong Kong Informal Group for the Protection of Freedom and the United For Ukraine Working Group. She is a member of the Board of Directors of the Tuneg, Puchik and Tesar Foundation and a member of the Board of the Forum for Life. She has worked extensively on issues of child and youth safety on the internet and new technologies, with an emphasis on artificial intelligence, where she ensures that the human being and their welfare is always at the centre. She is working to improve the status of carers and better care for the elderly as well as the socially or medically disadvantaged. Prior to her election to the European Parliament, she worked in the field of democracy promotion as Director of the European Office of the International Republican Institute. Prior to that, she worked in diplomacy as Permanent Representative of the Slovak Republic to the EU as well as in other advisory positions within the European Parliament and the Council of Europe.
Matej Šimalčík is the Executive Director of the Central European Institute of Asian Studies, a think tank that focuses on foreign and security policy issues related to East Asia. His research focuses on China's economic and political presence and influence in Central Europe, elite relations, corrosive capital, and the role of European legal instruments in mitigating the risks posed by China. In 2022, he founded the China-Europe Academic Engagement Tracker project, which aims to bring transparency to research collaborations with Chinese entities. He studied law (Masaryk University, 2015) and international relations (University of Groningen, 2016). He is also a senior associate at the Slovak law firm Nechala and partners. Previously, he gained experience as in-house counsel for Transparency International and several Slovak and Czech law firms. In 2021, he was listed on the Forbes 30 under 30 list in the Governance and Social Innovation category. He is also a member of the Expert Group at the European Centre of Excellence on Combating Hybrid Threats (Hybrid CoE), the European Think Tank Network on China and a reporter.