Religious freedom has come under increasing attack in China. U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom Commissioner Gary Bauer said in a recent exclusive commentary, that China has declared war on all religious faiths:
"Christians, house churches, or underground churches, have come under tremendous assault in the last year or so. There have been churches that have been shuttered. Others that have been literally demolished, and then recently they've started moving against the churches that did register and did follow the government's guidelines," said Commissioner Bauer. But it's not just the Christians. There's been a lot of news about what's happening to Chinese Muslims, the Uighurs where internment camps have been set up. Estimates are that between one and three million Chinese Muslims are in these camps."
“The bottom line is that China is sending a message to its people that they will not tolerate Chinese citizens having loyalty to anything above the Chinese Communist Party," said Commissioner Bauer.
Speaking at the recently concluded Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said, “China is home to one of the worst human rights crises of our time:”
“In September of last year, Chen Huixia, a member of the Falun Gong, was sentenced to three and a half years in prison for simply practicing his faith. In December of 2018, authorities arrested Wang Yi, the pastor of Early Rain Covenant Church in Chengdu, for openly criticizing the government’s controls on religious freedom. He’s still in jail today.”
The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom has also called for the release of numerous prisoners of conscience from around the world. One of those is imprisoned Chinese Christian church leader Hu Shigen. Hu is a religious freedom advocate who suffered torture during a previous 16-year prison sentence, was detained again in 2015 and sentenced in 2016 to a 7-and-a-half year sentence for so-called “subversion of government power.”
The United States is vigorously promoting religious freedom as part of its foreign policy. As Secretary Pompeo has said, “Religious freedom is embedded deeply in the American character. But it isn’t exclusively an American idea. Indeed, just the opposite. The UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights affirms religious freedom or belief as a universal right.”