Religious Freedom Worsened in China—USCIRF

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The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) released its annual report on April 21 stating that religious freedom conditions in China have worsened.

According to USCIRF, China, among other 13 countries, engage in or tolerate “systematic, ongoing, and egregious violations.” With the communist government targeting religious minorities—demolishing houses of worship, installing surveillance equipment to monitor people, imprisoning believers, and carrying out other unjust acts, China has been listed as one of the ‘countries of particular concern.’

“China remains of utmost concern to USCIRF,” said Commissioner Nadine Maenza. She called on the U.S. government and international businesses “to pressure China to end the horrible situation there.”

China remains of utmost concern to USCIRF. —Commissioner Nadine Maenza

In addition to China’s sinicization policy, the government it set to implement a new decree on May 1st mandating all religious leaders to “follow the lead of and support the Communist Party.”

The official order, “Measures on the Management of Religious Professionals,” bans any religious teaching that endangers China’s national security, promotes extremism or divides the country, reports Big News Network. Religious practitioners are urged to resist the “infiltration of foreign forces” through religion and anyone who violates the ruling will face administrative sanctions and criminal charges.

Xu Yonghai, an elder at the Divine Love Fellowship of the Beijing House Church, criticized the latest edict saying, “This decree goes against our religious beliefs and the separation of politics and religion.” He fears that, “There will be a further narrowing of religious freedom and more severe crackdowns on believers.”

The decree coincides with another measure by government-registered religious associations of Protestantism, Catholicism, Taoism, Buddhism and Islam that demands members to study the history of the Chinese Communist Party, the People’s Republic of China and socialism.

The USCIRF submitted its recommendations to the U.S. government regarding China’s infringement of religious freedom. Aside from classifying the communist nation as a “country of particular concern,” the commission proposed the implementation of existing U.S. laws such as the Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act and Tibetan Policy and Support Act to protect religious minorities in China, and continue with the financial and visa sanctions on the Chinese government.

Campaigns against religious minorities are intensifying in China and the USCIRF urges other countries to investigate and hold China accountable for the violations of human rights it has committed.

Should the atrocities continue, another recommendation is for U.S. government officials to publicly express concerns about the violations and boycott the 2022 Winter Olympics which will be held in Beijing.

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