I have great respect for Dr. Bob Fu, the president and founder of China Aid, a watchdog organization monitoring religious freedom in China. On July 24, Fu testified before Congress
Others that spoke at the hearing, led by Congressmen Chris Smith, (R-N.J.) and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), included Anastasia Lin, actress, human rights advocate and Miss World Canada 2015; Rebiya Kadeer, president of the World Uyghur Congress; and Losang Gyatso, service chief of Voice of America’s Tibetan service.
This is the third year of President Xi Jinping’s Administration in China, whose policies and actions have raised alarm, and in some cases astonished the international community. Domestically, Xi has purged his political rivals through a “selective anti-corruption campaign” and monopolized power within the leadership of the Communist party, the government and the military. In foreign policy, Xi has adopted a dangerous and aggressive agenda, challenging existing international law and creating his own when deemed necessary, including the national security law, which is being viewed by may as a pretext for human rights abuses. This antagonistic and arrogant approach to governance over the past two and half years has earned Xi the nickname “Chairman Mao Junior” and “Xi-tler.”
In the past two years, human rights and rule of law in China have rapidly deteriorated. The number of dissidents taken into police custody, arrested and convicted since Xi took power has exceeded the total number that occurred during the 10-year reign of President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao. Chinese citizens who peacefully criticize the government or defend the rights of citizens; lawyers who dare to represent “sensitive cases” without cooperating with the government; and activists who assemble in a peaceful manner, attempt to request the government’s permission to establish a nongovernmental organization (NGO), or peacefully protest against government policies or judicial injustices are subsequently “invited to drink tea,” summoned for interrogation, detained or arrested, and eventually tried in a corrupt judicial system. To be sure, the Chinese government has intensified its harassment of NGOs, civil society organizations, law firms representing human rights cases, charitable organizations, and political organizations such as the “New Citizen Movement.”
During the Xi Administration, and particularly in the past 18 months, religious freedom abuses have reached a level not seen since the Cultural Revolution. Not only have house churches continued to experience intensifying persecution, but now “Three-Self” churches, that is, government-sanctioned churches are being subjected to government-sponsored persecution campaigns. The Chinese government’s persecution of Tibetan Buddhists, Uyghur Muslims, and Falun Gong practitioners has also worsened. The Chinese government perceives religious practitioners as being guided by “foreign influence” and has subsequently pursued absolute control over religious communities.