WASHINGTON, DC — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) received a standing ovation when she spoke during the second Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom on Tuesday, an initiative of U.S. President Donald Trump’s Department of State.
In a rare show of bipartisanship in today’s hyper-partisan political climate, Pelosi condemned China’s “internment camps” for predominantly Muslim Uighurs in Xinjiang along with former Republican Congressman from Virginia Frank Wolf.
Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom Sam Brownback, who convened the three-day ministerial summit expected to run from July 16 to 18, recognized both Wolf and Pelosi as champions of religious freedoms and human rights.
“Thank you very much Mr. Ambassador for the invitation to be here for this very special ministerial and thank you for bringing everyone together, globally, around a value [religious freedom] that is deep in our hearts,” the pro-abortion Catholic speaker declared.
Pelosi’s appearance came hours after lawmakers booed her on the House floor after attempting to shame them into supporting a Democratic resolution to condemn what she labeled as “racist” messages by President Trump on Twitter, claiming that anything less would amount to “a shameful abdication” of their oath of office to “protect the American people.”
Although the speaker broke the rules of the U.S. House of Representatives by calling the American president a “racist” on the floor, Democrats found a way to bypass the regulations, voting to keep her remarks in the record and restore her speaking privileges.
Ultimately, the House passed the resolution to denounce Trump’s statements in a near party-line vote of 240 to 187 with four Republicans siding with Democrats.
The atmosphere in the House stood in stark contrast to the welcoming Pelosi received at the State Department event.
Attendees of the Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom, touted as the “largest religious freedom event of its kind,” included members from both parties as well as representatives from all major world religions including Christians, Muslims, Jews, Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, and Falun Gong practitioners, and other worshippers.
They packed an auditorium with some watching the event from an overfill room. Video of the summit posted on YouTube shows a glimpse of the standing ovation (39:44 timeline) Pelosi received before and after (1:11:20 timeline) a panel discussion the mistreatment of Muslim minorities at the hands of communist China.
During her appearance, she condemned China for sending at least 1 million Muslim Uighurs into concentration camps where they are subjected to a plethora of human right abuses, including illegal detention, forced labor, torture, communist indoctrination, and extrajudicial killings, among other violations. Beijing has also imprisoned some Uighur Christian converts in the re-education or mind-transformation camps, designed to eradicate their religious and ethnic identities.
Recent news reports revealed that Beijing is also deliberately separating Muslim children from their family, faith, and language to indoctrinate them to be loyal to the country’s inherently atheist Communist Party.
“Certainly, what we see with the Uighurs, we should be implementing the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability [Act against China],” Pelosi suggested, referring to a law passed by Congress in 2012 to impose sanctions on officials from foreign governments believed to be responsible for serious human rights violations, freezing any U.S. assets they may hold and prohibiting their entry into the United States.
Since China launched its latest crackdown on Uighurs in 2017, there have been bipartisan calls in the American Congress to sanction Chinese officials who oversee the detention centers.
In terms of the Uighurs in particular, this is such a massive situation. So many people affected. You would think that some Muslim nations would weigh in as well, but the geopolitical influence that the Chinese have bought … have made it difficult for some countries [to condemn China].
What’s happening in China is a challenge to the conscience of the world, and we cannot let it go because if we do, we have less chance of addressing human rights and religious freedom in other countries as well.
Last week, Foreign Policy (FP) argued, “the Trump administration has done more for the millions in camps than any Islamic leader,” noting that it “has been the most robust in its censure of Beijing over its treatment of the Uighurs.”
Beijing has denied imprisoning its Muslim minorities, claiming the detention centers are vocational and training centers aimed at combating terrorism and religious extremism.