China’s Religious Suppression Could Spread if Not Challenged—Crossroad’s Interview with William L. Saunders, RFI Senior Fellow

January 15, 2021

In a recent interview with Crossroads, a show produced by Epoch Times, William Saunders, Director of the human rights program of the Institute for Human Ecology, Co-Director of the center for Religious Liberty at the Catholic University of America, and RFI Senior Fellow, discussed the dire situation for religious freedom in China, and the tremendous threat the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) poses internationally if not challenged.

After highlighting numerous aspects of religious persecution perpetrated by the regime against Christians (Catholic and Protestant), Falun Gong practitioners, Muslim Uyghurs, and Tibetan Buddhists, among others, Saunders stresses that religious freedom does not exist in China. 

Their aim is to control the entire society, and just about the only source of challenge to them is religion, that is, someone who has a God who is higher than President Xi or an allegiance that competes for communist party allegiance.

The CCP is not merely trying to suppress religion but rather seeking to establish itself as God, Saunders explains. For example, the words of President Xi are preached from pulpits, and images of him and his family are placed as deities in houses of worship. 

When asked why America should be concerned about China’s human rights crisis, Saunders notes that the regime poses a great threat to freedom not only in China, but “wherever it operates.” Particularly, CCP leaders view America as their greatest enemy, and they are working tirelessly to strengthen China’s capacity to displace the United States as the global leader. 

America is at risk – its domestic institutions are at risk, its economic system, its educational system…threats are not just military or strategic, but they are also internal….We should care about human rights abuses everywhere, but…China’s might and power, its control by an authoritarian government…make it a world challenge on a level we have not seen. I am not even sure the Soviet Union during the Cold War presented this level of challenge to freedom, and religious liberty…For that reason, America should care, but also because of their determination to change us.

Crossroads’ full interview with Saunders is available here.