As the U.S. and its allies debate how to respond to the military and economic threats posed by China, they must not ignore the Chinese Communist Party’s “shredding of human rights and religious freedom,” Russell Moore wrote in a Wall Street Journal op-ed Sunday.
While in some areas the U.S. can be elastic in its negotiations with China, “we must not allow China to confiscate what belongs only to God: the lives, souls and consciences of vulnerable human beings,” wrote Moore, who is president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention.
Mincing no words, Mr. Moore compared the Communist Party under Xi Jinping to post-revolutionary France under Maximilien Robespierre.
“China is imposing a reign of terror on religious minorities — Christian, Tibetan Buddhist, Uighur Muslim, Falun Gong and others,” he wrote. “The state is using everything from concentration camps to facial-recognition technology to ensure that the only worship and belief allowed is that which submits to Chinese Communist orthodoxy.”
“People who resist this mandate are ruthlessly plowed over,” he said.
As Breitbart News has chronicled, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) under General Secretary Xi Jinping has engaged in systematic repression of religious practice throughout the nation.
Recently, Christian churches across Henan province were forced to replace the Ten Commandments with quotes from President Xi as part of efforts to “sinicize” religious practice in the officially atheist country.
One pastor from a state-run Protestant church said that the CCP’s latest move is part of a systematic plan to erode Christian doctrine in the country, adding that the ultimate goal of the party is to “become God.”
“The Communist Party’s ultimate goal is to ‘become God.’ This is what the devil has always done,” he said.
The United States has a particular responsibility to “counter China with a resolute commitment to advance not only economic fairness, but also human rights and freedom of conscience,” Moore said Sunday.
This commitment could be shown in a series of very concrete steps, he proposed, including a visit by Sam Brownback, U.S. ambassador at large for international religious freedom, to the Xinjiang province and the Tibet Autonomous Region and the levying of financial penalties on the Chinese government officials responsible for the persecution.
U.S. lawmakers should also impose sanctions on nations like China that it deems systematic violators of religious liberty as well as demanding the release of China’s prisoners of conscience.
Surely Americans can agree that “we must begin the long and good work of confronting China morally,” Moore wrote. “The persecuted people there do not bear the image of the Chinese Communist Party membership card,” but the image of almighty God.