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Red China Ramps Up Religious Persecution

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According to Judith Bergman of the Gatestone Institute, China is ramping up its suppression of religious freedom. During a November 2018 hearing of the Congressional-Executive Commission on China, the President of the Religious Freedom Institute, Thomas F. Farr, labeled China’s religious suppression as “the most systematic and brutal attempt to control Chinese religious communities since the Cultural Revolution.”

In December of last year, China’s Communist Party (CCP) unveiled the new “Administrative Measures for Religious Groups“. The measures went into effect on February 1, 2020 and demand that religious organizations promote the CCP and its ideology, per a report  from Bitter Winter, a magazine covering religious liberty and human rights in China.

According to article 17 of the newly rolled-out measures:

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Religious organizations shall spread the principles and policies of the Chinese Communist Party, as well as national laws, regulations, and rules, to religious staff and religious citizens, and educate and guide religious staff and religious citizens to support the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party, support the socialist system, and adhere to the path of socialism with Chinese characteristics…

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“In practice, your religion no longer matters, if you are Buddhist, or Taoist, or Muslim or Christian: the only religion allowed is faith in the Chinese Communist Party,” a Catholic priest stated.

The new administrative measures have been packaged with a re-invigorated educational indoctrination program. Bitter Winter points out that in one city schoolchildren were instructed to sign pledges to stay abstain from religious practices. Their parents were sent letters explaining that children cannot be religious “because they are unable to think independently, as they are at a critical stage of development, both physically and mentally, which is crucial for establishing correct outlook on the world, life, and values.”

Additionally, according to Bitter Winter:

“A variety of government-issued documents order schools ‘to make the most of the adolescence’ and ‘increase anti-religious publicity’ by organizing meetings for students and using broadcasts, bulletins, and other means, to achieve ‘the goal of planting anti-religious thoughts into young students’ minds and hearts’… Anti-religious propaganda is also extended to students’ families and society at large, as communities are encouraged to get involved in the indoctrination of the young ‘by setting examples and influencing each other.'”

One mother, who belongs to The Church of Almighty God, claimed that her son told her to abandon her faith after coming back home from school. “My son told me that if I get arrested, our entire family will be finished. He threatened to jump off the building to end his life if I continued practicing my faith,” she recently revealed to Bitter Winter.

The Church of Almighty God (CAG) is a Christian movement recently established in China. Experts contend that it is arguably the most persecuted religious group in China. According to the Church of Almighty God’s 2019 Annual Report on the Chinese Communist Government’s Persecution of The Church of Almighty God, “between 2011 and the end of 2019, more than 400,000 CAG Christians were arrested by the Chinese authorities, and it is well-documented that the number of believers who have died as a result of persecution since the Church’s establishment has reached 146.”

In 2019, also according to the report:

…at least 32,815 CAG Christians were directly persecuted by the authorities… because they engaged in such normal church activities as attending gatherings and preaching the gospel… at least 6,132 members have been arrested… with 3,824 members suffering all manner of cruel tortures and forced indoctrination; 1,355 members have been sentenced, with 481 members given severe sentences of 3 years or more, 64 members given sentences of 7 years or more, and 12 members having been sentenced to 10 years or more… at least 19 believers died as a result of persecution… The figures above only represent a portion of the CAG Christians victimized by the CCP during the past year…

China insists that its human rights record should not be called into question. According to Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang, “The Chinese people are in the best position to judge China’s human rights condition, which is at its historical best.”

Americans take their rights for granted.

Economic reforms aside, China still denies citizens basic religious freedoms, has no right to bear arms, and does not protect the right to free speech.

People should be a weary of a world where China is the dominant superpower.

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Will Josh Hawley be the Next Champion for an America First Foreign Policy?

America First May Have its Next Leader to End Wars Abroad

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Does America First have a new non-interventionist champion?

Missouri Senator Josh Hawley has been viewed by many as one of the figures who could potentially lead a Trumpist movement after Trump, should Joe Biden end up being installed as president on January 2021.

Hawley has made a name for himself as a champion of Middle America and questioning the neoliberal orthodoxy on immigration and trade. Lately, Hawley has made a pivot towards  questioning the interventionist conventional wisdom on foreign policy. 

In early October of this year, the Missouri Senator called for the American government to withdraw troops from Afghanistan. Hawley tweeted, “Almost 20 years now in Afghanistan. Long past time to draw this war to an end.”

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Hawley’s foreign policy has been a work progress over the past two years. During a 2019 speech Hawley gave at the Center for a New American Security (CNAS), he questioned the nation-building policy prescriptions of previous administrations, demonstrating some degree of skepticism towards non-stop interventionism abroad on the part of the Senator.

That said, it remains to be seen if Hawley’s legislative record will fully match his rhetoric.

Hawley is a staunch China hawk, who fears the rise of China and is a strong voice against China’s expansionist efforts. Hawley’s track record shows that his foreign policy views are rough around the edges. Daniel Larison of The American Conservative is not as optimistic about Hawley judging by his votes on the Yemeni Civil War. Larison cited several of Hawley’s votes that may be cause for concern:

Sen. Hawley voted against the Senate’s resolution of disapproval that opposed the president’s effort to circumvent Congress with a bogus “emergency” to expedite arms sales to Saudi Arabia and the UAE. More important, he voted with the president and most Senate Republicans against the antiwar Yemen resolution that would have cut off all U.S. support to the Saudi coalition.”

Nevertheless, Hawley’s comments on Afghanistan are a good sign that Hawley is catching on to the fact that Americans are tired of foreign wars. Politicians can change their views and behaviors. Hawley is likely recognizing that the America First movement is exhausted by the endless wars and wants candidates and elected officials who offer withdrawal plans. 

After looking at the list of people who have been tapped to join the Biden administration, Hawley tweeted, “What a group of corporatists and war enthusiasts – and #BigTech sellouts.”

Journalist Glenn Greenwald, a fierce interventionist skeptic, maintained cautious optimism about Hawley. In a tweet, he commented, “All kinds of reasons to be skeptical of the authenticity here, but — purely as a matter of rhetoric — just imagine any national Republican speaking this way about a Dem administration even 10 years ago. The framework of politics is radically shifting.”

The jury is still out on Hawley. Regardless of flaws in his voting record, America First advocates should continue to push him and other America First leaning Republicans in the right direction. We should never forget that politicians are still receptive to political pressure and the grassroots holds the keys to political change. 

Young senators like Hawley are the future of American politics and it makes sense for foreign policy restrainers to lobby them and push them in a direction that favors non-interventionism.

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