Sending Office: Honorable Jody B. Hice
Sent By:
Nicholas.Brown@mail.house.gov

 

Protect Religious Minorities in China

Dear Colleague,

It is with deep concern that I write to you regarding the increased persecution of religious minorities in the People’s Republic of China.

As you are aware, international law recognizes the right to religious liberty, the right to worship, and the right to practice without fear of discrimination. Moreover, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights adopted by the member states
of the United Nations General Assembly recognizes the right to religious belief and practice, as does Article 36 of the Constitution of the People’s Republic of China.

Despite the public commitment by the People’s Republic of China to these doctrines, religious minorities in the People’s Republic of China have come under an ever-increasing threat. Since the introduction of my resolution, H.Res. 434, condemning violence
against religious minorities in China, on July 11, 2017, conditions there have worsened considerably with the introduction of state-run “thought reform” campaigns and “re-education camps.”

Due to this unfortunate trend of increased religious persecution, I am leading a letter to Honorable Samuel D. Brownback, Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom, to request information from the Department of State as to their monitoring
of these troubling reports and any planned actions to deter further discrimination.

This letter will close on Thursday, September 27 at Noon. If you have questions or would like to cosign, please contact Nicholas Brown in my office at
Nicholas.Brown@mail.house.gov or (202) 225-4101.

                                                                                    Sincerely,

                                                                                        /s/

                                                                                    Jody Hice
                                                                                    Member of Congress

———————————-

Honorable Samuel D. Brownback
Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom
U.S. Department of State
2201 C Street, Northwest
Washington, D.C. 20520

September XX, 2018

Dear Ambassador:

The threat to religious liberty and religious toleration in the People’s Republic of China continues to be a troubling issue. The current trend toward increased intolerance of religious minorities over the past year has reached alarming levels and should
be of considerable concern to the United States. I ask for your thoughts and remarks on the United States’ strategy to engage on this matter.

Since the introduction of my resolution, H.Res. 434, condemning violence against religious minorities in China, on July 11, 2017, conditions there have worsened considerably. The Chinese government’s actions seem to be at considerable odds with its stated
commitments, such as China’s adoption of Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and that Article’s commitment to religious liberties; the confirmation of the United Nations’ International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights; and Article
36 of the People’s Republic of China’s own Constitution.[1]

While government officials once tolerated “house churches” – places of Christian worship operating outside of China’s state-sanctioned religions – President Xi Jinping’s government has introduced a new policy of “thought reform,” in which citizens face imprisonment
for beliefs of conscious.[2] In one example, the government sent posters to be hung in town instructing residents to replace Christian imagery with portraits of President Xi. A committee official confirmed to the
Associated Press that, “Thought reform is aimed at Christian families in poverty, and we educated them to believe in science and not in superstition, making them believe in the party.”[3] Moreover, there is alarming
news of growing “re-education camps” in Xinjiang Province where the United Nations has reported China is holding roughly one million Uygurs without charge.[4] Those formerly interned within these camps have testified
to being bound and interrogated for hours while being repeatedly told that God does not exist and who were fed only after acknowledging the greatness of communism.[5]

I would appreciate your remarks on the following issues:

  • What does this shift from religious toleration mean for the United States’ relationship with China?
  • What soft power tools can the United States use to curb these trends?
  • Should religious toleration continue to decline at its current rapid pace, what options are available to the United States to encourage a positive course correction in China?

The United States has always maintained the importance of promoting democratic ideals in its geopolitical relationships, of which the freedom of religious belief is paramount. Thank you for your consideration of these important matters and I look forward
to your response.

 


[1] “International Religious Freedom Report for 2017,” U.S. Department of State, https://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/irf/religiousfreedom/index.htm.

[2] “Another Attempt, Another Failure of Suppression of Faith,” The Washington Times, August 20, 2018, https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2018/aug/20/another-attempt-another-failure-of-suppression-of-/.

[3] Id.

[4] “China Holding 1 Million Uygurs in ‘secret Internment Camps’, Reports to UN Say,” South China Morning Post, August 11, 2018, , https://www.scmp.com/news/china/policies-politics/article/2159258/un-cites-reports-china-holding-1-million-uygurs-secret.

[5] Eva Dou in Beijing, Jeremy Page in Almaty, Kazakhstan and Josh Chin in Turpan, China, “China’s Uighur Camps Swell As Beijing Widens the Dragnet,” The Wall Street Journal, August 17, 2018, https://www.wsj.com/articles/chinas-uighur-camps-swell-as-beijing-widens-the-dragnet-1534534894?ns=prod/accounts-wsj.

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