The religious freedom conditions in China deteriorated in 2020, according to the newest annual report published by the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) on April 21, 2021.
“Although the CCP has long repressed religious freedom, in recent years it has become increasingly hostile toward religion, resulting in campaigns to “sinicise” Islam, Tibetan Buddhism, and Christianity to rid the religions of alleged “foreign” influences. These policies require religious groups to support CCP rule and its overall objectives and interests, including by altering their teachings to conform to CCP ideology and adopting architectural and other changes to their sites and symbols. Both registered and unregistered religious groups and individuals who run afoul of the CCP face harassment, detention, arrest, and imprisonment,” said the report.
It found that “thousands of Falun Gong practitioners were harassed and arrested during 2020 for practicing their faith, and some likely died due to abuse and torture while in custody. Credible international reports also suggested that organ harvesting, including from Falun Gong practitioners, likely continued.”
The report listed China as a “Country of Particular Concern” (CPC) for 22 consecutive years for “engaging in systematic, ongoing, and egregious violations of religious freedom,” as defined by the International Religious Freedom Act (IRFA). It also urged the U.S. government to “enforce to the fullest extent existing U.S. laws … and continue to impose targeted financial and visa sanctions on Chinese government agencies and officials responsible for severe violations of religious freedom.”
USCIRF also expressed concern about China’s hosting the 2022 Winter Olympic Games and they recommended U.S. government officials not to attend the games if the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) continues its crackdown on religious freedom.
Domestically in the U.S., the USCIRF report noted that the U.S. government should also “continue and intensify efforts to counter Chinese government influence operations in the United States—including the Confucius Institutes—that suppress information or advocacy regarding religious freedom violations in China.” And the Congress should “support legislation to promote religious freedom in China.”
The USCIRF report applauded the tough stand taken by several senior U.S. government officials, including former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, on the CCP’s deteriorating human rights abuses and religious persecution.
The U.S. Department of State not only designated China and nine other countries as Countries of Particular Concern (CPC) for their intolerance or violation of religious freedom, but also imposed visa restrictions against human rights abusers and violators of religious freedom. Among them was Huang Yuanxiong, a police officer of the Wucun Police Station in Fujian Province, and his spouse, who were both involved in the persecution against Falun Gong practitioners.
The USCIRF Commissioner Gary L. Bauer said that the Chinese people have many of their basic human rights deprived by the CCP, including the right to seek and worship God.
He calls on the American public to take immediate actions against the CCP’s threats to humanity. “I appeal to my fellow citizens to act now, individually. To U.S. corporate CEOs, stop putting your desire for greater profits in China ahead of the interests and values of our country. To the presidents of our great universities, stop accepting Chinese Communist money that will inevitably threaten academic freedom. To American consumers, don’t buy products made by suffering workers in Communist China’s slave labor camps and factories. You are subsidizing their persecution and strengthening an adversary of our country.” he said.
“The United States has faced and defeated great threats to human liberty before, including Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union. The Communist Chinese don’t think we have the same courage today. They will be proven wrong, but only if each of us stands for American values,” he added.
Another USCIRF Commissioner Johnnie Moore said that the CCP is initiating a cultural revolution and enabling genocide through technological tactics. The CCP isn’t a “strategic competitor,” but “a hostile actor whose actions imperil the world.”
Commissioner Moore commented that it’s time for the U.S. and its allies to see through the CCP’s nature, recognising that it is singular and distinct in its disregard for human life—not just human rights and religious freedom.
“We cannot allow the international order, in pursuit of self-interest, to continue to let China play by its own rules. Those nations around the world that ignore the CCP’s malevolence will eventually find themselves subservient to it. It is past time for our world bodies and our liberal democracies to stand up to the CCP,” he said.
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