USCIRF Annual Report Highlights China’s ‘Tragedy’ of Religious Freedom

Thursday, May 2, 2019

by George Whitten, Worthy News Correspondent

(Worthy News) - The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) released its annual report Monday, detailing religious rights abuses around the world and recommending state actors for the U.S. State Department to earmark as “Countries of Particular Concern” (CPCs).

An alarming trend, the report noted, was the recurrence of the Chinese Uighur Muslim crisis in three separate editions of the Commission’s annual publication, in 1999, 2010, and 2019, a disturbing illustration of China’s wide-ranging, systematic program for destroying religious freedom across the two decades of the USCIRF’s existence.

“Policy and practice now must focus on holding the responsible parties accountable, ceasing China’s myriad abuses against all faith communities, and documenting the evidence of the atrocities that have occurred” in the Communist nation’s detention of between 800,000 and 2 Million Uighurs in forced reeducation camps, according to the report, a blight which it says ought to merit “swift” and “resolute” U.S. sanctions.

Another common trend the report discovered among countries like Vietnam, Russia and Tajikistan was the use of “national security” as a pretext for apprehending religious undesirables, who were accordingly framed as “extremists” working for foreign powers.

It also found that religious persecution tends to go hand in hand with the “politicization of religion,” as in India where Hinduism and jingoistic nationalism are inextricably linked.

Aside from 16 countries that the State Department already includes on its list of CPCs, the report recommended that Central African Republic (CAR), Nigeria, Russia, Syria, Uzbekistan, and Vietnam be added as newcomers for “systematic, ongoing, egregious violations” of the right to freedom of conscience in belief.

Notably, amidst a dearth of coverage on persecuted Christians in the West, the report called on the Chinese government to release Wang Yi, a Chinese Christian Pastor detained in December for “inciting subversion of state power,” who will also populate the USCIRF’s forthcoming database for religious prisoners of conscience.