Trump Administration Strongly Urged to Condemn China’s Persecution of Christians and Other Religious Minorities During Trade Talks

The Trump administration was strongly urged by a congressionally-mandated commission to bring up the continued persecution of Christians and other religious minorities with China’s top trade negotiator during this week’s trade talks in Washington.

The bipartisan U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, which includes three evangelical leaders who’ve engaged informally with the Trump White House, called for administration officials to discuss China’s systemic persecution of Christians, Uighur Muslims and others minorities with Vice Premier Liu He during his visit.

Liu’s visit comes as the U.S. Department of Defense estimates that as many as 3 million Uighur Muslims have been sent to detention camps in the Xinjiang province of China, while countless Christians, Buddhists, Falun Gong practitioners and other religious adherents continue to face arrest, imprisonment and the closing of their houses of worship.

“The communist Chinese government’s brutal campaign to ‘sinicize’ all religions is one of the worst abuses of religious freedom taking place today,” USCIRF Commissioner Gary Bauer, a veteran social conservative activist, said in a statement.

“During these talks about our trade relationship with China, religious persecution and human rights more broadly must be on the table.”

The Trump administration believed that it was nearing a trade deal with China that would have opened up the Chinese market to U.S. companies. But after days of negotiation between Liu, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, no deal was reached.

Additionally, the U.S. increased tariffs on up to $200 billion of Chinese goods by 15 percent as China was accused of backtracking on months of negotiations when it submitted drastic edits to a draft trade agreement. Chinese officials blamed the U.S. for the deal not being reached and vowed to counter the U.S. tariffs.

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SOURCE: Christian Post, Samuel Smith