Totalitarian governments fear religious freedom

 Washington Examiner:

United States activists say religious liberty is a deepening fault line in international affairs, as Chinese and Russian officials align to repudiate Western condemnation of their human rights abuses.

"The religious factor is increasingly becoming a serious foreign policy weapon,” Russian ambassador-at-large Gennady Askaldovich told the upper house of the Russian Legislature this week. “There is a growing tendency on the part of a number of external players to play on the factor of protecting the rights of believers in order to fight against their international opponents.”

That allegation dovetailed with a subsequent outburst from China, which imposed sanctions on a former member of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom in retaliation for Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s condemnation of Beijing’s repression of the Falun Gong. The specific disputes reflect a deeper disagreement about the relationship between religious activity and political stability — a dispute that all sides agree could organize diplomatic blocs and intensify geopolitical competition, according to a religious freedom commissioner.

“We have a treaty obligation as a country to speak out when we see acts of genocide, crimes against humanity committed against a religious minority,” said USCIRF’s Nury Turkel, an Uyghur-American lawyer appointed to the commission by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, to the Washington Examiner. "So, it is a national security concern for us.”

CHINA ALIGNS WITH PALESTINIANS TO DEFLECT CRITICISM OF UYGHUR MUSLIM GENOCIDE

Russian and Chinese officials agree that religious freedom is relevant to national security, but they apply the principle in the opposite direction. Chinese officials have justified their atrocities against the Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang as a legitimate counterterrorism strategy.

China banned the Falun Gong in 1999, just days after 10,000 of the spiritualists angered Chinese Communist officials by staging “the largest [protest] since the Tiananmen Square demonstrations of 1989,” according to a 2014 account of the history of the crackdown. The ensuing repression has ranged from arbitrary arrests and torture to, as the State Department religious liberty report acknowledged, allegations of organ harvesting.

“China broadly criminalizes religious expression and continues to commit crimes against humanity and genocide against Muslim Uyghurs and members of other religious and ethnic minority groups,” Blinken said on May 12, when he announced the sanctioning of a Chinese Communist official implicated in the abuse of the Falun Gong.

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China's siding with Hamas is interesting since Hamas does not allow any Jews in Gaza.  None.  What we see are totalitarian entities who oppose the freedom to worship anyone other than the state. 

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