White House officials are reportedly “very concerned” about religious persecution in China.
“It seems that the Chinese government is at war with faith. It’s a war they will not win,” said US envoy for religious freedom Sam Brownback. “The Chinese Communist Party must hear the cry of its people for religious freedom.”
China’s long history of curtailing religion has intensified greatly under the leadership of President Xi Jinping, who in 2017 described a plan to Sinicize (make more Chinese) all religions by incorporating socialist values.
In September 2018, Beijing reached a deal with the Vatican giving it the ability to nominate and approve future Catholic bishops. Since Beijing will only nominate individuals whom the Communist Party deems loyal to its interests, the deal will end up advancing China’s “war on faith” throughout the country, explains Brownback.
“About two years ago, they moved the regulation of religion from the government to the Communist Party. The Communist Party is officially atheist.”
Last August, the UN released a report accusing the Chinese government of detaining up to 1 million Uighur Muslims in camps in the Xinjiang province. The Chinese government initially denied the existence of the camps and then in January passed a law to legitimize them. The shocking policy, which seeks to make Islam more compatible with socialist society, describes the camps as “vocational education” facilities designed to wipe out terrorism and help minor criminals get back into the workforce.
According to former inmates, the camps are brainwashing centers where detainees are forced to undergo torture, political indoctrination, and forced labor. Rather than solving an extremism crisis as China claims, “they are creating one,” warns Brownback.
At the start of a recent trip to Hong Kong and Taiwan, Brownback described China’s surveillance techniques as a method of persecution and warned China could sell its tech to “other authoritarian regimes.” He also spoke about the widespread persecution of faith in China, but declined to share details on a possible response from the Trump Administration.
“Honestly, if the US doesn’t stand up, there’s not hardly anybody else in the world that will,” he said.