US Religious Freedom Report Highlights CCP’s Oppression of Religious Communities

US Religious Freedom Report Highlights CCP’s Oppression of Religious Communities
Falun Gong practitioners appeal next to the United Nations headquarters in New York City on Sept. 20, 2023. (Chung I Ho/The Epoch Times)

The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) singled out communist China as one of the world’s “worst violators” of religious freedom, according to its 2024 annual report released on May 1.

“Religious communities are suffering under Chinese Communist oppression,” the report reads. “The government of a world power does not have the right to threaten anyone advocating for religious freedom and human rights. There must be consequences for the trampling of anyone’s fundamental right to freedom of religion or belief.”

The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has been waging a war against people of faith, targeting Christians, Falun Gong adherents, Muslims, Tibetans, and Uyghurs. Many have been imprisoned, tortured, coerced into forced labor, and subjected to other inhumane treatment, while some have lost their lives.

“China is officially an atheist state,” the report says. “China’s religious regulations and policies explicitly require state-controlled religious organizations to be loyal to the CCP and to serve its political objectives and interests.”

The report noted that the CCP is committing “cultural genocide” in Tibet, where Buddhist monks have died in prison. In the far-western region of Xinjiang, the CCP is committing “physical genocide” against Uyghurs, with millions in detention camps and children taken from their parents, according to the report.

Falun Gong

“Organs are harvested from Falun Gong and Uyghurs, some while still alive,” the report reads.

Given how Chinese hospitals can offer unusually short waiting times for matching organs, China has long been an attractive destination for transplant tourists. This phenomenon is made possible because the Chinese regime has built up an organ bank by forcibly and unethically harvesting organs from prisoners of conscience.

The China Tribunal, an independent people’s panel in London, concluded in 2019 that the CCP had been forcibly harvesting organs from prisoners of conscience for years “on a substantial scale,” with Falun Gong practitioners being the “principal source” of human organs.

Falun Gong, also known as Falun Dafa, is a spiritual practice that encourages its adherents to live by the principles of truthfulness, compassion, and tolerance. By 1999, 70 million to 100 million people had taken up the practice, according to official estimates at the time.

Instead of viewing the practice’s popularity as beneficial for society, the CCP perceived it as a threat to its rule. Consequently, the regime launched a brutal campaign in July 1999 to eliminate the practice.

Since then, millions of practitioners have been illegally detained inside prisons, labor camps, and other facilities, with hundreds of thousands tortured while incarcerated, according to the Falun Dafa Information Center.

The USCIRF report, citing data reported by the U.S.-based website, said that there were 209 documented deaths of Falun Gong practitioners due to the persecution in 2023. Also, last year, there were 1,190 cases of Falun Gong practitioners receiving prison sentences for their faith.

To address the CCP’s crimes of organ harvesting, the House passed the Stop Forced Organ Harvesting Act of 2023 (H.R. 1154) in March last year. If enacted, the legislation would sanction anyone involved in forced organ harvesting and require annual government reporting on such activities taking place in foreign countries.

Transnational Repression

The Chinese regime has extended its oppressive influence outside of its borders. According to the report, the CCP has been “among the most active perpetrators of cross-border repression and other malign activities abroad, including in the United States.”

As an example of Beijing’s transnational repression, the report pointed to the Justice Department’s decision in May last year to charge two Chinese individuals who allegedly tried to bribe a public official in a scheme to “topple” Falun Gong in the United States.

“The Chinese government’s malign political influence campaigns, particularly its lobbying efforts in the U.S. Congress, represent a particularly insidious form of political influence, aimed at shaping federal policymaking to further the Chinese government’s interests and goals,” the report reads.

The USCIRF urged Congress to ban foreign lobbying agents representing China and continue to impose sanctions on CCP officials and entities responsible for severe religious freedom violations.

“It is imperative to ban lobbying for the Chinese government, its state-affiliated commercial entities, and their interests while the government continues its egregious acts of religious persecution,” it said.

Additionally, the USCIRF called on the State Department to continue designating China as a “Country of Particular Concern” under the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998.

From The Epoch Times

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