US Supports Coalition Formed to Advance Religious Freedom in China

From The Epoch Times

March 5, 2019 Updated: March 25, 2019
WASHINGTON—For the first time, persecuted faith groups in China and human rights organizations are forming a coalition to advance religious freedom in China, with the backing of the Trump administration and members of Congress.

Sam Brownback, the U.S. ambassador at large for International Religious Freedom, and Rep. James P. McGovern (D-Mass.), the newly appointed chairman of the Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC) and co-chairman of the bipartisan Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission, joined representatives from persecuted faith groups in China, in vowing to advocate for and defend religious freedom in China at a press conference to announce the formation of the Coalition to Advance Religious Freedom in China (CARFC) in Washington.

“I am here to add the administration’s support,” Brownback said on March 4. “We are deeply concerned by the Chinese government’s tightening restrictions on religious practice, including for Protestants, Catholics, Tibetan Buddhists, Muslims, the Falun Gong, and others.”

Brownback pointed out that in recent years, new regulations were implemented to penalize all unregistered religious activities, including actions by foreigners.

“We are here today to give you a chance to hear from the groups that are affected by these actions, and to officially recognize the launch of the Coalition to Advance Religious Freedom in China by the International Religious Freedom Roundtable,” he said.

A United Force

Greg Mitchell, chair of the International Religious Freedom Roundtable, said that Wolf, Brownback, and others had been recommending for some time that all the persecuted groups be united and become “one unit, one team and speak with one voice … and we are finally doing it now.”

“By forming a Coalition to Advance Religious Freedom in China, persecuted faith communities again unite their voices in support of religious freedom for all in China,” he said.

Mitchell said that while the coalition is still in its initial stage, he anticipates that more groups will join, and they will organize more activities to “try to put pressure on the U.S. government to take further concrete actions, to put sanctions on China.”

Mitchell says he thinks the coalition will have a strong impact as a united force.

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