Freedom Advocates: U.S. Condemnation of China Persecution Long Overdue

WASHINGTON – Religious freedom and Christian persecution experts applauded a House-approved resolution condemning China for rising religious persecution, saying it was ‘‘long overdue.’’

“I think it is appropriate and long overdue,” said Nina Shea, director of Freedom House’s Center for Religious Freedom, on Tuesday. “The U.S. should speak up about the barbaric and primitive treatment of its citizen over the most fundamental of human rights.”

In the move that Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.) declared as “unprecedented, but wholly appropriate,” the House of Representatives on Monday approved resolutions condemning Beijing for rising religious persecution, condemning China’s appointment of Catholic bishops without the Vatican’s approval, and urging for the remembrance of the 1989 Tiananmen Square pro-democracy protestors.

According to Reuters, Smith said the purpose of the three resolutions are “to remember, and seek freedom for all prisoners of conscience, all believers, democrats, and human rights activists, who will one day triumph in China, but now suffer grievously.”

“The American congress always expresses concern about the need to modernize China’s economy,” commented Shea. “It is about time we vocalize about human rights and religious freedom.”

Also responding to the resolutions was China's Foreign Ministry, which expressed “strong dissatisfaction and firm opposition” to the "groundless accusation[s]," saying they constitute a “gross interference in China’s internal affairs.”

"The Chinese government protects the freedom of religious beliefs of citizens in accordance with the law," argued Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu, according to The Associated Press. "After reform and opening up ... we have made great progress in our human rights and people's livelihoods. This is obvious for all to see."

Jeff King, president of International Christian Concern, however, stated otherwise.

“Many people think that China is a modernized country, but ICC reports daily on incidents on government persecution against Christian there,” King said.

China has been noted for its human rights and religious freedom violations and was recommended by the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) in May to be re-designated as a Country of Particular Concern (CPC) for “particularly severe violations of religious freedom” that are “systematic, ongoing, and egregious.” Moreover, the communist state is listed as number ten in Open Doors USA 2006 World Watch list for worst Christian persecution.

“We heartedly applaud the U.S. House’s resolution condemning China’s human rights abuses,” ICC’s King said, but added that “it is now for concrete actions applying consequences for those abuses.”

Christian Post Reporter Joseph Alvarez in Washington contributed to this report.