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Senator Lankford Joins Bipartisan Group of Senators to Denounce China’s Human Rights Abuses

WASHINGTON, DC –Senator James Lankford (R-OK) and a bipartisan group of 17 Senators condemn the Chinese Communist Party’s persecution of religious minorities and actions to limit the free expression and practice of faith in the People’s Republic of China. Joining Lankford in this effort are Senators David Perdue (R-GA), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Tom Cotton (R-AR), John Cornyn (R-TX), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), Ted Cruz (R-TX), Steve Daines (R-MT), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Jim Inhofe (R-OK), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Jerry Moran (R-KS), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Mike Rounds (R-SD), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), and Ron Wyden (D-OR).

“The US should continue to be a leader in international religious freedom,” said Lankford. “Freedom of conscience cannot be bound by law. China should uphold its own constitution to let its citizens live out their faith or have no faith at all. This resolution is an important message that the world is watching China’s human rights abuses and any extreme limitations on religious freedom.”

“The Chinese Communist Party continues to engage in a violent crackdown on religion, employing tactics reminiscent of Mao’s Cultural Revolution,” said Perdue. “From burning Bibles and demolishing Christian churches to the mass internment of hundreds of thousands of Uighur Muslims, the Chinese government is inflicting terror on its own people. The United States must condemn these egregious human rights abuses. I urge my colleagues to work alongside President Trump and Secretary Pompeo to hold them accountable.”

“China has a miserable record on human rights and the United States should be a leading voice confronting them,” said Baldwin. “We must send a clear message that China’s persecution of religious minorities and suppression of religious freedom is wrong.”

“The persecution of religious minorities anywhere must be condemned, and the perpetrators of abuses must be penalized. China has repeatedly violated fundamental human rights and disregarded religious liberties enshrined in its own Constitution, subjecting religious practitioners to surveillance, censorship, arbitrary detentions, and torture,” said Blumenthal. “The United States is uniquely obligated to champion religious freedoms, and I will continue to work with my colleagues in a bipartisan manner to condemn and hold accountable those responsible for grotesque human rights violations.”

“The Chinese Communist Party continues to demolish Christian churches, torture Falun Gong practitioners, and transfer entire Muslim communities into concentration camps,” said Cotton. “Beijing must end its horrific repression of Chinese believers of all faiths.”

“The Chinese Communist Party is persecuting millions of its own people because it fears religion,” said Cruz. “It cannot abide an authority higher than the Party. Christians, Uighurs, Falun Gong practitioners, and many others live under threat of imprisonment, torture, and death. America must always stand for the free exercise of religion and I am proud to join Sen. Perdue and my colleagues in this effort.” 

“The persecution of religious minorities at the hands of some Chinese government officials is wrong and must stop,” said Grassley. “People, no matter where they live, should be able to freely express their religious beliefs. As we work with China on issues of trade and intellectual property, we need to also make fighting for religious liberty a central part of the United States’ relationship with China.”

“Communist China must not be allowed to continue their campaign of persecution against men and women of all faiths,” said Inhofe. “Sadly, the atrocities in Xinjiang province are just part of the story. In an attempt to maintain their grip on power, the government is censoring religious texts, forcing religious minorities into internment camps and forcing religious conversions. That’s unacceptable. President Trump has proven already that a tough approach against China, as we’ve seen with trade, gets results. I urge him to use the tools Congress has provided to take action against China’s ongoing abuses towards Christians, Muslims and all religious minorities.”

“The ability to practice one’s faith freely is one of our nation’s most sacred values and a universal human right,” said Kaine. “I have heard from many Virginians who are concerned about the persecution of religious minority groups by the Chinese government, especially the Uyghur community and Falun Gong practitioners. This resolution reinforces the importance of religious freedom as a critical part of the relationship between the United States and China, as both nations work to find common ground to solve global challenges.” 

“This resolution reaffirms that the right to freely practice one’s religion is a universal right enshrined in international law, as well as China’s own constitution, and it is unacceptable for the Chinese government to persecute those who wish to worship according to their faith,” said Senator Moran. “China’s leaders must uphold its obligations; otherwise, America should enact penalties for those responsible for ongoing abuses.”

“Religious persecution can never be tolerated,” said Rounds. “The Chinese Communist Party has a history of human rights’ abuses against its own citizens. We must work together to put an end to this oppressive behavior.” 

“Religious persecution is unacceptable—and should be condemned—in of its all forms. China must address their dismal human rights record and its brutal treatment of religious minorities, including Uighur Muslims and Christians,” said Senator Van Hollen. “I am glad the Senate came together, in a bipartisan manner, to speak out against China’s oppressive actions.”

This resolution:

  • Condemns violence against religious minorities in China and actions that limit free expression and practice of faith;
  • Reaffirms America’s commitment to promote religious freedom and tolerance around the world;
  • Calls on China to uphold its Constitution in addition to internationally recognized human right of freedom from religious persecution and to end violence and discrimination against religious minorities;
  • Condemns the use of re-education centers and internment camps as punishment for religious practice;
  • Condemns the restriction and censorship of religious materials like the Bible, the Quran, and any other religious articles or literature sacrosanct to religious practice or expression; and
  • Urges the President to take appropriate actions to promote religious freedom of religious minorities in China, using the powers provided to the President under the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998, the Frank R. Wolf International Religious Freedom Act, and the Global Magnitsky Act.

Click here for the full resolution.