US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo noted that the human rights situation in China has deteriorated in recent years, and that the “moral witness” of the Vatican in support of religious believers is sorely needed.
“The human rights situation in China has deteriorated severely under the autocratic rule of Xi Jinping, especially for religious believers. Credible reports have exposed the Chinese Communist Party’s program of forced sterilizations and abortions of Muslims in Xinjiang, its abuse of Catholic priests and laypeople, and its assault on Protestant house churches—all of which are parts of a “Sinicization” campaign to subordinate God to the Party while promoting Xi himself as an ultramundane deity,” US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo wrote in an op-ed on firstthing.com.
“Now more than ever, the Chinese people need the Vatican’s moral witness and authority in support of China’s religious believers,” he continued.
Pompeo highlighted that the Sino-Vatican agreement signed two years ago “has not shielded Catholics from the China Communist Party’s depredations, to say nothing of the Party’s horrific treatment of Christians, Tibetan Buddhists, Falun Gong devotees, and other religious believers.”
Earlier this week the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom emphasized that religious freedom must be the result of any renewed Vatican agreement with China, noting that underground Catholics in the country continue to be persecuted.
Pompeo said that the recent imposition in Hong Kong of a National Security Law mandated by the mainland government “raises the spectre that the Party will use the same tactics of intimidation and the full apparatus of state repression against religious believers.”
After urging the Holy See to use its moral witness with the Chinese Communist Party, Pompeo wrote that “totalitarian regimes can only survive in darkness and silence, their crimes and brutality unnoticed and unremarked.”