Washington D.C., Oct 18, 2021 / 15:01 pm
The Chinese Communist Party is targeting organized religion as a threat – even seeking to “change” or “transform” it into a loyal party apparatus, a panel of foreign policy experts said on Monday.
The party, which “historically managed religion” in China, is now taking a much harsher approach and “trying to change it or destroy it,” said Nury Turkel, vice-chair of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, at a panel event of the Hudson Institute on Monday. Turkel, a Uyghur-American human rights advocate, was born in a re-education camp in China.
To the party, any organized religion “is perceived as a threat,” Turkel said, adding that the party is trying to “create a new type of religion.” Panel members noted that Chinese president Xi Jinping called for the “sinicization of religion” in a 2016 speech, warning that his party is actively seeking to change religious practice to promote its socialist interests.
The panel referenced developments such as the mass internment of mainly-Muslim Uyghurs in the country’s northwest province of Xinjiang, as well as allegations of forced organ harvesting of ethnic and religious minorities, including Falun Gong practitioners, Uyghurs, Tibetans, Muslims, and Christians.