GettyImages 99709642 300x199 China’s Dismal Anti Christian Human Rights Record

Small Christian church outside of Guiyang, Guizhou Province

While most of us had a peaceful and lovely Labor Day weekend, Mr. Obama had a tough few days. He was in Hangzhou, China, for the G20 meetings, and this summit gave Chinese President Xi Jinping a global stage to influence international policy. The G20 summit is an annual meeting of wealthy nations and the European Union to discuss key issues of the global economy. Although the G20 summit focuses primarily on international trade and investment, participating nations also dealt with environmental concerns and cyberspace controls. In fact, Mr. Obama, deliberately sidestepping Congress, “self-ratified” entry by the United States into the international climate-change agreement with China and other nations as he deposited the “instrument of acceptance” with United Nations Secretary General Ban-Ki Moon, who was also present. At that time, Mr. Obama stated, “Some day we may see this as the moment when we decided to save our planet.” Indeed we may. But the Chinese leadership did not give a warm welcome to Mr. Obama for his last trip to Asia as president. In what was widely viewed as a diplomatic snub, Mr. Obama was not even given a rolling airport staircase to exit from Air Force One, and there was no “red carpet” welcome either, which each of the other international leaders were given. In fact, Mr. Obama had to exit Air Force One from the rear of the airplane.

But this article is not about Mr. Obama’s foreign policy or about self-ratification of international agreements. Rather, I write about the current status of Christian believers in China. In the days leading up to the G20, the Rev. Bob Fu from the Texas-based China Aid (www.chinaaid.org), along with a delegation of other Chinese human rights activists, met with Mr. Obama’s National Security Advisor Susan E. Rice (of Benghazi video fame) at the White House. In their 80-minute meeting, they discussed the deteriorating conditions of human rights in China under President Xi, and the human rights activists urged Mr. Obama to confront Mr. Xi over what they have called China’s worst human rights crisis since the 1989 Tiananmen crackdown.

Rev. Bob Fu, China Aid’s president and a fearless critic of the Chinese Communist Party, stated the following:

As I explained to National Security Advisor Susan Rice during our meeting, China’s religious freedom and human rights situation remains at its worst since Chairman Mao’s Cultural Revolution in the 1960s. President Obama and his Administration have failed the millions of persecuted Chinese freedom fighters and religious minorities in the past seven years by pushing these issues into the back seat of his foreign policy agenda with China. [President Obama] should consider this his last opportunity to do something beyond his normal approach, not only raising the cases of numerous pastors, bishops and rights defenders who have been arbitrarily arrested, but making a strong public statement with our allies during his trip to Hangzhou. This will reaffirm Americans’ long term commitment to religious freedom, human rights and civil society as a vital link to sustainable economic prosperity and international security. The whole world will watch President Obama to see whether or not he will courageously lead this effort during the G20 Summit. China Aid urges President Obama and international leaders attending the summit to thoroughly address China’s human rights and religious freedom abuses in order defend those unjustly persecuted for their beliefs.

Teng Biao, an exiled human rights lawyer who also participated in the meeting with Ms. Rice, said in an interview with the British newspaper Guardian that he had called on Mr. Obama to publicly speak out as well. In his interview, Mr. Teng said:

Especially since Xi Jinping came to power, many human rights lawyers and activists were detained and disappeared; many, many NGOs were shut down; and other civil society organizations, universities, media, internet, Christian churches and other religious groups were also targeted. It is obvious that the Chinese government has violated human rights and the current situation is very, very worrying.

Many of us may remember that Mr. Obama received the 2009 Nobel peace prize for his “extraordinary efforts to strengthen diplomacy and co-operation between peoples.” While we do not know what issues were brought up in the private meeting between Xi and Obama, there is no White House statement regarding China’s human rights record following the G20 summit. But it might also be that Mr. Obama and his Administration may not really believe that human rights in China, and especially the right of Chinese Christians, is really an important issue that needs to be promoted in a frank and public way. But there are dissidents in China who are incarcerated in Hangzhou, and local political activists were placed under house arrest in advance of the G20 summit to prevent them from speaking out. Of course, since Mr. Obama was snubbed anyway, stopping by the homes of one or two of the activists under house arrest for tea would show the Chinese communists that snubs can go two ways and make an important point as well. Please continue to pray for political and religious freedom in China, and especially for our persecuted Christian brothers and sisters who suffer daily.