Vice President Mike Pence gathered with an interfaith group of religious freedom activists this week to talk about how the U.S. can challenge China as the country continues the persecution of various religions.
Pence met with about 15 advocates, including Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission president Russell Moore, as part of the International Religious Freedom Roundtable.
Other attendees included: Bob Fu, head of the Christian persecution watchdog organization China Aid; David Curry, head of the international Christian persecution advocacy group Open Doors USA; and Greg Mitchell, co-chair of the International Religious Freedom Roundtable and longtime lobbyist for the Church of Scientology.
"There were a handful of leaders from the world dealing with religious liberty who voiced concern about the shocking rise of religious liberty violations in China in the last six years," Curry said.
"We had people from different faith backgrounds but we joined together to give an in-depth briefing on the series of issues that are happening against Christians, Muslims, the Falun Gong and other religions that are being persecuted in China right now."
Fu tweeted that he was grateful the Trump administration took time for the meeting.
"The resolve and courage you & @realDonaldTrump have shown to tackle the [Communist Party of China] regime on trade and freedom related issues are unparalleled," Fu tweeted Monday afternoon. "Thx 4 hearing us. Time 2 take actions."
Thx @VP Pence for today’s meeting with our coalition for #IRF. The resolve and courage you & @realDonaldTrump have shown to tackle the CCP regime on trade and freedom related issues are unparalleled. Thx 4 hearing us. Time 2 take actions.looking forward 2 your second speech. pic.twitter.com/PKVROca3zl— Bob Fu傅希秋 (@BobFu4China) August 5, 2019
The Chinese communist government has shut down underground churches and imprisoned Christians and people of other faiths. There are also reports that China has imprisoned millions of Muslims and Falun Gong practitioners in concentrations or labor camps.
"Up until this point, the United States never had a strategy against China's violations of human rights," Curry said. "They've recognized them as a country of particular concern, but it's not escalated. And there haven't been any punishments directly associated with it. So we think that might be something they would consider, as far as punishments go."
Photo courtesy: Getty Images/Ethan Miller/Staff