China’s Repressive Motives Don’t Discriminate: Testimonies from CCP Roundtable
The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is not merely a threat to religious freedom. They are an active persecutor of the church of many religions — and the problem is far worse than many are aware, say a roundtable of experts.
It’s easy to be oblivious to the threat when it doesn’t seem to cross over U.S. borders. However, while the CCP is not hiding their hatred of religion throughout China, their oppression of religion — like a cancer untreated — could spread throughout the world. This is a threat to America as well and has already boiled into a genocide elsewhere.
Last week, Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-Wis.) invited men to a roundtable at the Capitol to discuss these circumstances. These men represented various religions seen throughout the U.S. and China. What’s significant about this discussion is how many diverse testimonies were shared about people facing the same kinds of repression from different backgrounds, and how unaware the general public is about the CCP’s regime.
One of the testimonies shared was by a pastor of a church in China, Pan Yongguang. He explained his firsthand experiences of Christians being shamelessly punished in China. He spoke about churches being banned, closed, and threatened and about the threats he has received personally. Yongguang closed his comments by urging Congress to pay attention. “This situation is worsening,” he pleaded with the men sitting around the table with him.
There are Christians in China, our brothers and sisters in Christ, who are being oppressed. We read in Romans 12:5 that “So we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another.” We are all members of the same body, and it is our duty to stand for them in prayer and spread the word about the dark realities of what is actually happening to our brothers and sisters in China.
Considering the numerous testimonies that were shared, a large aspect of the conversation — in which all men agreed to be a prominent problem — focused on the lack of awareness to the issue. The CCP is responsible for several attacks, bombings, and burnings of churches and places of worship. They are to blame for the imprisonment of people of faith — including children. They are responsible for throwing religious people into concentration camps. The list goes on. This is not only persecution; it’s genocide.
As was stated at the table with unanimity: There is a lack of information and people can become immune to thinking about this problem. “We need to do whatever is possible to shed light on this situation,” Father Kurt Klismet emphasized.
To shed light on the harsh truth of the situation, a Uyghur named Imam Hajim shared his story with the group.
The Uyghurs — a predominantly Muslim, Turkic-speaking ethnic group — are heavily persecuted by the CCP. Hajim shared how he and many of his friends traveled outside of their country to study but, due to Chinese policy, were unable to return home. Many of his friends were seized and placed in concentration camps. Some were arrested at the airport, but many of Hajim’s friends and family disappeared. “Unlike the rest of you,” he said, “I cannot communicate with my friends or family” and hasn’t talked to them for years now. Even in the U.S., “We are not safe,” he added.
Hajim continued to share a story of how his mentor died in a concentration camp, and the 14-year-old son of his mentor was sentenced to life in prison simply by being associated with his religious father. For the Uyghur population, “Many see suicide as the answer,” Hajim said.
Other men at the event shared how the CCP burned religious books and buildings, pulling nursing babies from their mothers, bringing fugitives back to the country to torture them, forcing Muslims to go against their practices by eating pork, enforcing heavy surveillance on technology such as personal phones, and stalking and spying on religious people by living in their homes.
The CCP are relentlessly pursuing the destruction of all religion. As Rep. Carlos A. Giménez (R-Fla.) said, “People of faith are persecuted because we have a higher calling.” The CCP finds religion threatening because, to them, the highest calling is to that of the state, and religion puts faith higher than the state.
With that mentality, the CCP plans to dissolve any religious group in China, hoping to gain more allegiance from and control over the Chinese people — and they will do whatever it takes to destroy and manipulate. They will lie, cheat, steal, and dominate — by whatever means are possible. They have even gone as far as to rewrite the Bible.
Gallagher remarked, “In churches across Henan province, local CCP officials replaced the Ten Commandments with Xi Jinping quotes. “‘Thou shall have no other God before Me’ became dictates like, ‘Resolutely guard against the infiltration of Western ideology.’”
The agenda of the CCP is disingenuous and evolving. Their repressive motives do not discriminate against religion, but they destroy all mediums of hope. After hearing the firsthand accounts of the religious persecution, Father Kurt closed the discussion with this, “Christians that hear about religious persecution elsewhere are motivated to act and help.” So let us do just that, and act and help — in whatever ways we can.