|WASHINGTON — The third annual International Religious Freedom (IRF) Summit — the world’s premier annual gathering of religious freedom advocates and activists — concluded Wednesday in Washington, D.C.
China’s state-run Global Times asked spokesperson Mao Ning during the Chinese Foreign Ministry’s daily press briefing Friday about U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s video remarks at the IRF Summit, which cite China’s egregious human rights record:
Former U.S. Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom Sam Brownback and former United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) Chair Dr. Katrina Lantos Swett, the Summit’s co-chairs, had this to say about the Foreign Ministry briefing:
“They attack us because we hit them where it hurts—with the truth. The truth about China’s oppression in Xinjiang and elsewhere, and the IRF Summit will continue to give a voice to the CCP’s victims. Now it’s up to leaders in the United States and other countries to do something about it.”
IRF Summit highlights include:
- Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, asserted in remarks Tuesday:
- “The Chinese communist party is conducting an all-out assault on religion. As we speak here today, they are attempting to completely dismantle Tibetan Buddhism and the Dalai Lama. They persecute Christians who refuse to turn their backs on their faith and join government-controlled churches. And they are committing genocide against Uyghur Muslims. The stories of forced sterilizations, forced abortions, brainwashing and even murder are horrifying.”
- “The Uyghur Muslims, it’s really horrific what they’re doing to them. Slave labor…when you talk about solar panels, batteries, most of that is being manufactured in Xinjiang province, where they commit genocide. They have biometrics to follow all their people within China. Organ transplants where they force people, where they sedate them and take their organs out — it’s just horrific.”
- You Si-Kun, president of Taiwan’s Legislative Yuan, accused China of a range of religious freedom violations, saying “there is a comprehensive, systematic repression of religion” in China. Referencing CCP actions against Christians, Tibetan Buddhists, Uyghur Muslims and other Muslims within China, You went on to say, “the Chinese Communist Party’s attempts to extinguish the mother tongues, cultures and faiths of different groups cannot be enumerated.
Speaker You’s remarks are available here.
- A bipartisan House Resolution introduced by Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ), co-chair of the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission, was a focus of a Summit event on persecution in Nigeria, hosted by the 1792 Exchange. The Resolution calls on the Biden administration to add Nigeria back to the State Department’s annual list of Countries of Particular Concern because of “egregious” violations of religious freedom and would establish a Special Envoy to report on conditions in Nigeria. The Resolution can be viewed here.
BIPARTISAN COALITION CRUCIAL TO GLOBAL RELIGIOUS FREEDOM
- Noted by Deseret News, USAID Administrator Samantha Power’sappearance and remarks at IRF Summit underscored the “determinedly bipartisan, multifaith effort” underway at the IRF Summit. Administrator Power applauded the platform provided by IRF Summit for survivors of persecution to share their stories and band together in advocacy. Power called for even greater unity, saying, “We have to break down the walls within the broader rights-promoting community. I think that’s happening already by necessity, because the sense of persecution and the growing repression is forcing that.”
Photos from mainstage plenary sessions and select side events are available here. Permissions are granted; please credit IRF Summit/Matt Ryb Pictures.
Video of all plenary sessions will be available soon, upon request.
More information about the IRF Summit is available here.