House Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La., urged the Biden administration Wednesday to take stronger action against the Chinese Communist Party as the ruling government’s treatment of a minority group, the predominantly Muslim Uyghurs, continues to invite allegations of genocide, human rights violations, and religious hostility.
Johnson addressed a crowd gathered at the annual International Religious Freedom Summit in the nation’s capital, highlighting his background as a religious freedom litigator and discussing threats to religious liberty worldwide.
“North Korea’s Kim Jong-un, for example, continues to exercise a dark influence in denying all freedoms to his people, especially religious freedom,” Johnson, 52, said.
“The regime in Myanmar continues to engage in genocidal attacks against the Rohingya Muslims. In Nigeria, Christians and minority Muslims are attacked and killed by mobs of terrorists,” the Louisiana Republican said. “Daniel Ortega in Nicaragua and Miguel Diaz-Canel in Cuba hunt down and imprison Catholic priests and Baptist pastors who simply preach the Gospel and speak out against the regime.”
But Johnson singled out the Chinese Communist Party’s religious freedom violations, noting: “Tibetan Buddhists and Falun Gong practitioners are placed in forced labor camps, and they have their organs harvested by the Chinese Communist Party.”
The House speaker detailed how “in the Uyghur Autonomous Region, Uyghur Muslims are suffering under the Chinese Communist Party’s genocidal campaign of forced sterilization, forced detention, and reeducation.”
“Millions of Uyghurs have been detained in these camps where they’re kept in cramped cells, and they’re tortured and brainwashed,” Johnson added. “At this moment, the U.S. has an opportunity and an obligation to prevent genocide and punish those who commit it.”
After the crowd erupted into applause, Johnson issued a plea to the White House: “As China makes its forced labor efforts harder to detect, we call on the Biden administration to fully enforce the letter and the spirit of the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act.”
“This should not be a partisan issue,” he said. “We should all be united on this. It’s who we are as Americans. And we must use all of our resources to prevent American involvement in Uyghur genocide.”
The Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act, signed into law by President Joe Biden in December 2021, was approved by the Senate in a unanimous vote in July 2021 and then by the House in a 428-1 vote in December 2021.
The law established that the policy of the U.S. is to “prohibit the import of all goods, wares, articles, or merchandise mined, produced, or manufactured, wholly or in part, by forced labor from the People’s Republic of China and particularly any such goods, wares, articles, or merchandise produced in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of China.”
Additionally, Johnson shared his belief that a direct connection exists between treatment of religious minorities in the cited countries and lack of opportunity for their citizens.
“All these countries, some of the most repressive in the world, also have the least to offer their citizens in terms of economic prosperity and social mobility,” Johnson said. “And that’s no surprise because if you’re going to restrict and torment people for their religious beliefs, it’s going to be a tyrannical regime.”
“Economic prosperity grows when the people are allowed to follow their faith. Freedom flourishes where freedom is allowed,” he said.
Ryan Foley is a reporter at The Christian Post. This report originally was published by The Washington Stand.
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