The 2019 Annual Report from the Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC), an independent agency of the U.S. government tasked with monitoring human rights and the rule of law in China, contains findings that are cause for concern.
After reviewing the latest information, the CECC has determined that China’s violation of human rights, including religious freedom, has worsened over the last year and that the rule of law has deteriorated further. The Commission states, “officials have escalated the repression of religious practice, which one scholar of Chinese politics has characterized as being the worst since the Cultural Revolution,” a time of mass beatings, torture and murder perpetrated by the Chinese Communist Party.
The CECC references Mingui.org’s reports on the persecution of Falun Gong in China, noting that in 2018 alone, at least 931 practitioners were illegally sentenced to prison and at least 69 Falun Gong practitioners died as a result of persecution.
A number of human rights organizations, as well as practitioners themselves, have documented brutal and violent acts against those who practice Falun Gong, “including physical violence, forced drug administration, sleep deprivation, and other forms of torture,” the report states.
The Commission’s results have been submitted for review to both the U.S. President and Congress. As human rights violations worsen, it is recommended that sanctions and visa restrictions, among other measures, be imposed in an effort to stop China’s criminal activity. According to Minghui.org, an updated list of perpetrators, which includes over 100,000 names, was provided to the U.S. and other countries in November 2019. Several visas have already been denied for some of those known to be involved in the persecution of Falun Gong.
The U.S. Department of State issued a press statement on December 20, 2019 entitled United States Takes Action Against Violators of Religious Freedom which states, “We believe that everyone, everywhere, at all times, should have the right to live according to the dictates of their conscience. We will continue to challenge state and non-state entities that seek to infringe upon those fundamental rights and to ensure they are held to account for their actions.”