By Rep. Chris Smith
Mihrigul Tursun said she pleaded with God to end her life as her Chinese jailers increased the electrical currents coursing through her body. Tursun, a Muslim Uighur whose escape led her to the United States in September, broke down weeping at a Nov. 28 congressional hearing as she recounted her experience in one of China’s infamous political “ re-education centers.”
It is an appalling story but one that is all too familiar as existential threats to religious freedom rise in President Xi Jinping’s China. The world can’t ignore what’s happening there. We must all stand up and oppose these human rights violations.
The ruling Chinese Communist Party has undertaken the most comprehensive attempt to manipulate and control — or destroy — religious communities since Chairman Mao Zedong made the eradication of religion a goal of his disastrous Cultural Revolution half a century ago. Now Xi, apparently fearing the power of independent religious belief as a challenge the Communist Party’s legitimacy, is trying to radically transform religion into the party’s servant, employing a draconian policy known as sinicization.
Under sinicization, all religions and believers must comport with and aggressively promote communist ideology — or else.