"The past, you'd see people locked up, killed for being a minority faith or this or that. The future of oppression is you're going to be marginalized in the society, that people are going to have your face, and they're going to know your DNA and they're gonna know who you are and you're not going to be able to participate [in society]."
He cited China's development of a "social credit" system over the last 10 years; the system has been used to track and punish religious minorities. If a person has a low social credit score, said Brownback, they could be prohibited from obtaining an education or living in a certain area.
"And it won't just be you. It will be your friends with you, if anyone pings your cell phone, that will be tracked and they'll get the same low social credit score that you get. And these are the systems being modeled and worked on and done now today in China," he said.
The ambassador said that Congressional action against China had established limits on what kind of technology can be sent from the United States to China, and that the Trump administration is "very concerned about the use of technology" in the country.
"The technology is amoral; it's neither good nor bad, it's technology," said Brownback. "But what you do with it has a big moral component to it. And these are things--this is why, on my radar screen, that area of oppression and that growth of oppression and that nature is one of the most fearful things I see coming in this space."
"And we've got to be active and we are active. We just got to do more," said Brownback.
China, he said, is "best in the world" at religious persecution and surveillance of religious groups, and has been engaged in a "war with faith."
In responde, he said, the Trump administration is defending religious freedom "more than any administration has previously."
"And we consider [religious freedom] a God-given human right, not one that's given by governments," he said. Brownback applauded the Trump administration for organizing two ministerials on religious freedom, held in 2018 and 2019, calling them the largest human rights events ever held at the State Department. The 2020 ministerial on religious freedom will be held in Poland.
Christine Rousselle is a former DC Correspondent for Catholic News Agency. Prior to working at CNA, she was the managing web editor of Townhall.com; she has a BA in political science from Providence College.