Pompeo: Religious repression in China 'continues to intensify,' following release of annual report

Chinese Party now ordering religious groups to infuse 'communist dogma' in teachings - Secretary of State Pompeo

Updated: June 15, 2020 - 9:19am

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Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says the Chinese government’s long-standing practice of denying its people religious freedom is only worsening and now includes ordering religious organizations to infuse “communist dogma” into their teachings. 

Pompeo leveled the sharp criticism earlier this week in announcing findings in the State Department’s annual Report on International Religious Freedom. 

“In China, state-sponsored repression against all religions continues to intensify,” Pompeo said about the report, which reviews the previous year. “The Chinese Communist Party is now ordering religious organizations to obey CCP leadership and infuse communist dogma into their teachings and practice of their faith.”

The 2019 report – based in large part on information from religious groups and nongovernmental organizations and international media reports – also found evidence that the Chinese communist government physically abused and tortured those taken into custody for violating laws on organized religion. 

“Despite Chairman Xi Jinping’s decree that all members of the Chinese Communist Party must be ‘unyielding Marxist atheists,’ the government continued to exercise control over religion and restrict the activities and personal freedom of religious adherents that it perceived as threatening state or CCP interests,” the report states.  

The government recognizes only five official religions – Buddhism, Catholicism, Islam, Protestantism and Taoism.

Members of non-recognized religious groups also reported being harassed, imprisoned and having been beaten by police during arrests – often on “vague or insubstantial charges.” 

The report each year reviews religion freedom in restrictive countries and this year also included Hong Kong, Macau, Tibet and Xinjiang.

In China, the harassment, threats and other cruelties last year, in efforts to crack down on religions the government doesn’t recognize, in some instances led to suicide. 

There was also evidence found of “forced disappearances” and those imprisoned being the victims of “organ harvesting.” 

Wang Yi, a pastor advocating for religious freedom, was secretly sentenced to nine years in prison. And The Church of Almighty God detailed being labeled as an “evil cult” by the Chinese government, in the report. 

China has been flagged as a “Country of Particular Concern” under the International Religious Freedom Act since 1999, according to the report. 

Prior to this year's publication of the report, President Trump signed an executive order instructing the U.S. government to make a priority of protecting the religious freedom of people around the world.

“While America is not a perfect nation by any means,” Pompeo said, “one of the good things that we do in this administration is our dedication to the protection of religious freedom all around the world.”