The Trump Administration celebrated International Religious Freedom Day with a call to raise awareness of persecution that occurs today of people of faith in different parts of the world, emphasizing the human rights violations perpetrated by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).
The Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, highlighted that the United States, “inspired by the vision of America’s founders,” has added the promotion of religious freedom worldwide as part of its foreign policy.
“Today, our commitment to defending this right has never been stronger,” he noted on his Twitter account on October 27.
Twenty-two years ago, inspired by the vision of America’s founders, the U.S. enacted the International Religious Freedom Act, expanding our foreign policy toolset to advance religious freedom globally. Today, our commitment to defending this right has never been stronger. #IRFDay pic.twitter.com/TAojiXxRuG
— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) October 27, 2020
In 1998, the United States enacted the International Religious Freedom Act as part of its commitment to promote and defend the fundamental right to religious freedom worldwide.
“Our government understood that an individual, irrespective of their religion or beliefs, should be free to organize their lives in accordance with their consciences,” Pompeo said.
“Religious freedom and other themes of human dignity are—and will always remain—a core U.S. foreign policy priority,” he said.
In this context, he noted that currently, “three of the world’s most egregious religious freedom abusers—the People’s Republic of China (PRC or CCP), Iran, and North Korea—have tightened their coercive measures to silence their own people.”
“Worse, the PRC has sought to eradicate all forms of faith and belief that don’t align with Chinese Communist Party doctrine,” he said.
The Trump administration has been strongly critical of human rights violations in China, particularly the religious persecution. In one of its latest measures, the U.S. government tightened its blockades on imports from China’s forced labor camps.
Since the CCP took power by force in China in 1949, spiritual beliefs have been one of its main repression targets.
As far as Christianity is concerned, many Chinese believers refuse to go to the Three Autonomies churches—whose pastors and leaders are appointed by the CCP—and congregate in Protestant churches called “house churches,” which are persecuted by the authorities.
Other religious groups brutally persecuted in China include Tibetan Buddhists, Uighur Muslims, and Falun Dafa (also known as Falun Gong) practitioners.
In fact, leading British human rights lawyer, Sir Geoffrey Nice QC recently convened an independent court in London to investigate whether the CCP’s abuses against the Uighurs constitute genocide or crimes against humanity.
Nice, who previously led the prosecution of former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic at the International Criminal Court, presided over the Independent Court on the Forcible Removal of Organs of Conscience in China, known as the China Court. This court determined that it was “beyond doubt” that the state-authorized forcible removal of organs for profit has been taking place in China for years and “on a significant scale.”
The Chinese court argued that these organs come primarily from imprisoned believers, most of whom are practitioners of the Buddha School discipline called Falun Dafa.
Alliances against the Chinese regime
In recent years, and generally under the Trump administration’s leadership, numerous initiatives have emerged globally that call for investigation and condemnation of China’s religious persecutions.
Weeks ago, the British Parliament debated imposing sanctions on the CCP for the Uighur situation.
Earlier, Germany, on behalf of 39 countries, presented a statement to the United Nations (U.N.) Commission on Human Rights demanding that Beijing allow “unfettered access” to the Xinjiang region—where the Uyghur minority is located. The request was based on “increasing numbers of reports of gross human rights violations.”
In Sept. 2020, a coalition of 160 human rights groups delivered a letter to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) urging it to revoke China’s organization of the Beijing Winter Olympics.
The Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China (an international multi-party group of legislators working to reform the way democratic countries approach China), led by British parliamentarian Sir Iain Duncan Smith, is also campaigning for the sports event to be moved.
“The world must ask whether China, slowly strangling an entire people, has the moral standing to host the 2022 Winter Olympics,” a Washington Post editorial said. “We think not,” according to its editorial board.
Last month, more than 300 NGOs urged the U.N. to establish a mechanism to investigate human rights violations in China.
In an open letter to U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet, and member states, these organizations—including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch denounced—“China’s [the CCP’s] massive human rights violations in Hong Kong, Tibet, and Xinjiang, its suppression of information in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, and its attacks on rights defenders, journalists, lawyers, and government critics across the country.”
Likewise, British MP Chris Evans (Islwyn) urged the United Kingdom to impose Magnitsky sanctions on Chinese officials involved in the Uighur scandal.
“The Chinese regime is undeniably an economic powerhouse, but we cannot let its strength in world economics shield it so as to allow atrocities and human rights violations,” Evans said, concluding “… that the time for action had come.”
Mike Pompeo announced in late September the creation of a global coalition against the CCP.
“The free world must triumph over this new tyranny,” Pompeo declared, referring to the CCP, arguing, “If the free world doesn’t change—doesn’t change, communist China will surely change us.”