Vice President Mike Pence, in a speech to a friendly audience Thursday at Ave Maria University, decried attacks on religious freedom.
“Freedom of religion is increasingly under attack,” Pence said. “These attacks on believing Christians and Christian education are wrong and they must stop.”
Ave Maria University
Ave Maria, Florida
The following is the Vice-president’s remarks regarding China:
Religious persecution is also growing in the world’s most populous nation: China. The State Department’s annual International Religious Freedom report has labeled China as a religious freedom violator every year since 1999.
As we stand here today, Beijing is holding possibly millions of Muslim Uighurs in so-called “re-education camps” in Western China. Chinese authorities have banned the sale of Christian Bibles. They’ve destroyed thousands of crosses and other church symbols. And they’ve jailed pastors.
Even now, the Chinese government is using the power of cutting-edge technology to develop large-scale systems of surveillance to track its citizens — an effort that our Ambassador-at-Large for Religious Freedom, Sam Brownback, called “the future of repression.”
These are historic human rights abuses, and I want to promise all of you: Our administration is going to continue to stand strong and speak out and work to convince China that these practices are abhorrent and they should be stopped. (Applause.)
But despite the heavy hand of that government, the good news is, the good news is spreading. (Laughter.) And the truth is, nowhere in its history has the Church grown as quickly as it’s growing in China. Seventy years ago, when the Communist Party took power, there were less than half a million Chinese Christians. Today, just two generations later, some estimate that there are 130 [million] Christians living throughout China, proving once again what’s been true throughout the history of the Church: When persecution comes, faith grows.
Persecuted Christians around the world deserve our prayers. And they will always have the support of the American people. (Applause.)
US Vice-president Mike Pence
Secretary Pompeo’s Meeting With Uighur Muslims Impacted by Human Rights Crisis in Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region of China
Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo met yesterday with Mihrigul Tursun, a Uighur Muslim who survived horrific conditions and abuse in a Chinese internment camp in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region. Secretary Pompeo also met with three other members of the Uighur Muslim community: Gulchehra Hoja, Ferkat Jawdat, and Arfat Erkin, whose relatives have been detained in the camps or criminally sentenced by Chinese authorities. These individuals’ family members are among the more than one million Uighurs, ethnic Kazakhs, and members of other Muslim minority groups whom the Chinese government has detained in internment camps since April 2017. The Secretary commended their bravery in speaking out about China’s abuses, and pledged U.S. support to end China’s campaign of repression against Islam and other religions.
These survivors’ stories are just a few of among hundreds of other stories from survivors of China’s repressive campaign in Xinjiang. They speak for the million or more voices in Xinjiang who are unable to speak for themselves, move freely, think for themselves, and undertake even the most basic practices of their religion. The Department of State’s 2018 Human Rights Report on China detailed abuses in these camps, such as torture, repressive surveillance measures, homestays and forcible service of pork and alcohol by Chinese government officials in Muslim homes, confiscations of Qurans, and instances of sexual abuse and death. We call on the Chinese government to release immediately these individuals’ family members and all others arbitrarily detained in the camps.