China’s Regime Continues to Abuse Human Rights and Religious Freedom
According to a senior State Department official, China’s ruling regime remains one of the worst abusers of human rights and religious freedom in the world. The department recently released its annual report on international religious freedom, which highlights the regime’s ongoing genocide and crimes against humanity against Uyghurs, as well as its repression of Tibetan Buddhists, Protestants, Catholics, Falun Gong, and Hui Muslims.
The report features a string of stories of believers struggling to survive under the regime’s unceasing efforts to suppress their faith. For example, Gao Heng of the Guangzhou Bible Reform Church was secretly tried and sentenced in February on charges of “provoking trouble and picking quarrels” for holding up a sign reading “pray for the country” at a subway station in 2021.
Tools to Combat Religious Persecution
The State Department official emphasized that the department has a number of tools, such as financial sanctions, visa restrictions, and collaboration with international allies around the world, in response to the regime’s treatment of religious minorities. “We continue to see the situation worsening, and we’ll continue to use all the tools that I described to do everything that we can to help the people of China as they face repression at the hands of the government.”
Persecution of Falun Gong Practitioners
Falun Gong, a meditation practice featuring the tenets of truthfulness, compassion, and tolerance, had an estimated following of 70 million to 100 million by 1999, when the regime began a brutal campaign of persecution. The Human Rights Without Frontiers organization estimates that Chinese authorities imprisoned 2,649 individuals for exercising their freedom of belief, including more than 2,100 adherents of Falun Gong.
The State Department report cited the death of Falun Gong practitioner Ji Yunzhi, who was taken from her home, abused, and beaten while in custody in February. Police force-fed her and repeatedly slapped her in the face after she went on a hunger strike to protest her treatment. She died seven weeks later in a hospital in Inner Mongolia, and police transferred her body to a crematorium against her family’s wishes.
Other imprisoned adherents died in custody after police denied them medical parole. Cui Jinshi, 88, was studying Falun Gong at home with six others when police broke in and arrested her. Hours later, her son learned that she had died in an emergency room. Her son, after seeing her body, said her throat had been cut.
The situation in China continues to worsen, and the regime’s persecution of religious minorities remains a pressing concern. The State Department’s report serves as a reminder of the ongoing abuses and the need for continued efforts to combat religious persecution in China.
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