CHINA – Panelists warn China’s repression could spread

Baptist Standard | August 25, 2020

The Chinese government’s repression of Uyghur Muslims is a foretaste of the world’s future if there is not a change, human rights advocates warned Aug. 21 in a Southern Baptist-sponsored panel discussion.

Sam Brownback, the U.S. State Department’s ambassador at large for international religious freedom, and other panelists told a webinar audience hosted by the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission the systematic oppression used against an ethnic minority group in western China threatens to spread to other parts of the globe.

Battle between ‘democracy and dictatorships’

Brownback said the suppression of the Uyghur Muslims—which includes the imprisonment of more than a million people in “re-education” or concentration camps—disturbs him, but he also is concerned it will be duplicated by “authoritarian regimes around the world.”

“We’ve got this huge battle going on between democracy and dictatorships, and dictatorships have been doing pretty well lately, unfortunately,” he said.

It is important for the United States and others to take a stand, because China’s system of repression of the Uyghurs is “the future of oppression, the future of religious oppression,” he said. The Uyghurs are suppressed by a system in which they cannot buy or sell if they practice their faith, “and that is a threat to all of us,” he said.

“It’s the future of the world if we don’t stop this.”

Rushan Abbas, a Uyghur and the executive director of Campaign for Uyghurs, told those watching, “This tragedy of the Uyghur people will be the future of the entire world if [it] is not addressed, and if we don’t take action.”

‘High ambitions toward evil ends’

The Chinese Communist Party tracks Uyghur Muslims in the Xinjiang region with a high-tech surveillance system that has obtained genetic data on many residents. Activity considered suspicious by CCP officials can result in detention in the camps, which have served as prisons to an estimated 1 million to 3 million people.

Life in the camps can result in indoctrination, as well as rape, torture and coercive organ harvesting. Uyghur women are also at the mercy of a population control program of forced abortions and sterilizations.