RFI President Appears on EWTN to Discuss Religious Repression in China

February 7, 2020

In a recent interview on EWTN News Nightly, RFI President Thomas Farr stated that “all of China’s religious minority groups are going to be absorbed into the Chinese state and into the Communist Party.” This disturbing move, which has been in Beijing’s plans for many decades, is another major blow to religious freedom in China.

Addressing these regulations and the context of religious repression in which they would be promulgated, Dr. Farr wrote last month in First Things:

…[Chinese President Xi Jinping] has placed the State Bureau of Religious Affairs firmly under party control and initiated a policy of surveillance, communist-style ‘reeducation,’ and terror. The latest set of regulations, which go into effect February 1, make utterly clear (lest anyone in China or the West missed the point) the subordination of all Chinese religions to the Party and the state

Not surprisingly, the language in the regulations themselves is alarming:

Religious organizations must spread the principles and policies of the Chinese Communist Party, as well as national laws, regulations, rules to religious personnel and religious citizens, educating religious personnel and religious citizens to support the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party, supporting the socialist system, adhering to and following the path of socialism with Chinese characteristics (Article 17).

Dr. Farr emphasizes in the interview that these regulations are “draconian” and signify a contemporary “Cultural Revolution” unfolding in China. Priests and pastors there are facing ever-growing restrictions. Their decisions are all-too-often reduced either to assimilating into government-approved churches or risking imprisonment and destruction of their places of worship.

Turning to a foreign policy lens, Dr. Farr states that western countries are not giving enough attention to this crisis. To hold the Chinese government accountable, he asserts that President Trump should incorporate these issues into U.S. trade negotiations with China and bring them before the U.N. Security Council to show that “we are really serious about what is a very serious situation.”

Watch the EWTN interview with Dr. Farr.