In its 2021 annual report, released April 21, the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) called the Chinese regime one of the world’s leading “egregious violators” of religious freedom and asserts that conditions in China deteriorated further in 2020.
The report, developed by an independent Commission of experts on religion, highlights concerns about violations of religious freedom under China’s communist regime, which, it warns, extends its influence and repressive activities beyond its borders.
Indeed, this year’s report highlights not only Beijing’s abuses against its own people but also its growing international influence to condition religious freedom and human rights around the world negatively.
“Tactics include harassment, intimidation, and detention of human rights activists, ethnic and religious minorities, and other critics and dissidents,” the report says.
One of the most paradigmatic cases is the relationship with the Uighur Muslim minority and its neighboring country Turkey, which has been pressured by the Chinese communist regime to silence critics and even repatriate Uighur refugees to China.
In this regard, Tony Perkins, vice president of USCIRF, stated that the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) violations of religious freedom and its increasing threats and intimidation abroad “represented the most troubling developments we saw in 2020.”
The Communist regime’s manipulation even reaches large international companies, which the CCP is forcing to ignore human rights abuses in China, threatening company executives with “a choice between complying with U.S. laws and Chinese laws,” the report states.
The report also highlights the advancement in technology used by the regime to fulfill its mission to spy, control, and steal information both within China and abroad.
Several repressive regimes worldwide seek to replicate a “China model” and import the regime’s “digital authoritarianism,” using Chinese technology companies such as Huawei and ZTE to implement and deploy the necessary actions for repression, the report states.
Among the persecuted minorities highlighted is the Falun Dafa spiritual practice, also known as Falun Gong. It was banned by the CCP in the 1990s and continues to be banned and systematically persecuted even today. Its practitioners have filed numerous complaints in international and domestic courts, alleging persecution, confinement in forced labor camps, torture, and forced organ removal followed by death.
“According to reports, 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.”
Given the reported atrocities, among other recommendations, the commission urged the Biden administration not to send officials to the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, citing religious persecution, including China’s crackdown on Uighur Muslims, which Washington, during the Trump era, has called genocide.
He also encouraged Washington to continue to impose targeted financial and visa sanctions on Chinese government agencies and officials responsible for “systematic, ongoing and egregious violations.”
Gayle Manchin and Tony Perkins, president and vice president of USCIRF, wrote a story in Sunday’s Wall Street Journal announcing that the Chinese Communist regime imposed sanctions on them for their work in an attempt to silence allegations of human rights abuses in China.