Thomas F. Farr, RFI president, testified today before the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission. Co-Chair Christopher H. Smith presided over the hearing titled, "Violations of the International Right to Freedom of Religion: Christians."
The hearing addressed ways Christian minorities are targeted for their faith in many parts of the world. During his testimony, Dr. Farr focused on challenges facing Christians and other religious minorities in China, characterizing conditions there in stark terms:
Many Christians – like many Uighur Muslims and Tibetan Buddhists – are being targeted for harsh and often violent repression. Why is this happening now? There are many reasons, all of them centered in the native communist need to control and maintain power. . . I would suggest that President Xi’s policy is showcasing a major danger signal, one that is getting too little attention.
Dr. Farr continued, "At the Religious Freedom Institute we argue that if you want to defend the religious freedom of Christians, or Muslims, or Jews, or anyone else, you've got to defend the religious freedom of everyone." In addition to emphasizing this vital commitment to religious freedom for all, he also made the case that in order to counter the "natural communist suspicion of all religion," U.S. diplomacy should employ "self-interest arguments that might appeal to the practical strain in Chinese communism." Such arguments, Dr. Farr explained, involve highlighting the linkages between religious freedom and key national priorities for China such as social stability and economic development.
Read Dr. Farr's full written testimony.
The video of the hearing is available at: “Violations of the International Right to Freedom of Religion: Christians”