Chinese Regime Is 'Leading the World in Persecution' of Faith Groups: US Ambassador Sam Brownback

Chinese Regime Is 'Leading the World in Persecution' of Faith Groups: US Ambassador Sam Brownback
Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom Sam Brownback speaks at the Department of State in Washington on June 21, 2019. (Samira Bouaou/The Epoch Times)
Cathy He
Jan Jekielek

The Chinese communist regime has been able to "perfect" its machinery of repression against faith groups over the years and now seeks to export its authoritarian model around the world, U.S. ambassador for international religious freedom Sam Brownback warned.

The regime touts itself as a global leader, "yet they're leading the world in persecution—the global leadership is in persecution," Brownback said in a recent interview with The Epoch Times' "American Thought Leaders" program.

He said the Chinese Communist Party's (CCP) successive persecution campaigns of Falun Gong practitioners, Tibetan Buddhists, House Christians, and most recently, Uyghur Muslims in the region of Xinjiang, have allowed it to fine-tune its methods and technologies used for surveillance and oppression.

"We really see the future of oppression being fewer people in concentration camps and more people controlled in a society with 24-hour surveillance systems on people and limiting what they can do in that society," he added.

The ambassador said the Trump administration's recent sanctions against Chinese officials and a paramilitary construction group involved in Xinjiang human rights abuses shows the United States is serious about sending a message to Beijing. The U.S. commerce department has also blacklisted more than 30 Chinese companies and government entities over their role in aiding the repression of Uyghurs in the region.

Brownback expressed concern that the CCP is looking to export its model of high-tech suppression.

"They're going to start marketing and selling these sorts of authoritarian control systems to other authoritarian regimes around the world to control their population through the use of these advanced technologies," he said.

The atheist CCP has been against faith since its founding, the ambassador said.

"It doesn't have a space for the believing in a higher moral authority," he said. "The higher moral authority is the Communist Party."

Brownback said that the regime may appear to malign and persecute minority groups, but its tactics don't stop there.

"That's been true throughout history. If you don't stand up to the bully, they just keep coming," he said.

For instance, the world had for years turned a blind eye to allegations that the CCP was forcibly removing organs from imprisoned Falun Gong practitioners for the transplant market, Brownback said. But "the circumstantial evidence was there," he said, adding that now there are credible institutions saying that state-sanctioned organ harvesting is taking place.

In 2019, an independent people's tribunal, after a yearlong investigation, concluded that forced organ harvesting had taken place in China "on a significant scale," and continues to persist. The principal source of organs was from imprisoned Falun Gong practitioners, it found.

"Think about that just mentally, that you're taking and persecuting this individual. You're going to kill them, and then harvest their organs to sell them. This is just horrific [what's] taking place," Brownback said.

Cathy He is an editor focusing on U.S. and China-related topics. She previously worked as a government lawyer in Australia. She joined The Epoch Times in February 2018. Contact Cathy at [email protected].