Human Rights Groups to U.S.: Trade Carefully on China

Human Rights Groups to U.S.: Trade Carefully on China

January 08, 2019

It was still hours before dawn when a BBC camera crew landed in China at an airport in the far northwest. After months of monitoring satellite images and hearing a handful of horrifying testimonies from the inside, British reporters came to see for themselves if the rumors of an underground network of forced labor camps was true. What they found defied their imaginations -- and the world's.

Their visit, they discovered quickly, wasn't a surprise. From the moment the team arrived, they were followed by a fleet of police cars, government officials, and plain-clothes surveillance. "As we drive up the wide approach road, we know that sooner or later the convoy behind is going to try to stop us. While still a few hundred meters away, we see something unexpected. The wide expanse of dusty ground, shown on the satellite image to the east of the site, is empty no more... a huge extension project is taking shape."

Cameras rolling, the crew tried to capture the extent of the construction -- dark grey buildings, cranes, and high fences emerging from nowhere. Just as they were getting closer, the police intervened. "We [were] told to turn off the cameras and leave." But not before the crew found what they'd been looking for: evidence of China's brutal new compounds, where faith is sent to die.

With people disappearing off the streets and more camps caught on satellite, Chinese officials have stopped denying the camps' existence and started a "full-on propaganda drive" instead. On Chinese television, the state photos of the inside make it look like a cheerful school setting -- "full of clean classrooms and grateful students." But the truth is much more sinister. Outlets like the Washington Post, who've heard the stories of so many Uighurs (the Muslim minority who makes up the biggest percentage of prisoners), know better.

"They are forced to renounce the Muslim religion and Uighur language, and memorize and recite Chinese characters and propaganda songs. The 'vocational training' is actually forced labor. Torture and deaths are common. Thousands of children have been separated from their parents and placed in a separate network of orphanages. 'Break their lineage, break their roots, break their connections and break their origins," concluded a state news commentary cited by the [New York] Times. It's hard to read that as anything other than a declaration of genocidal intent."

Uighurs, who are being swept up into China's nets by the thousands at various checkpoints around the country, are scared to even leave the house. Other non-Muslims are being thrown behind the high walls of these prisons for nothing more than having a photo of a woman with a headscarf on their phone -- or reciting something religious at a funeral. "Yet thanks to China's growing power," the editors of the Washington Post point out, "global reaction has been muted."

The Trump administration, which hasn't been silent at all on religious persecution, has a unique opportunity to speak into the crisis and make a difference for the 1.1 million innocent people trapped behind the country's tall watchtowers. American representatives, who are currently on the ground in Beijing for trade talks until late Wednesday, have more than enough time to make China's commitment to human rights a condition of any deal. For more than 20 years, our State Department has listed China as a country of particular concern, but the designation has meant little in our diplomatic and trade relationships. It's time for America to put its mouth where its money is and put this regime on notice: we will not give favored status to a country that brutalizes and persecutes its own.

Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.

Base Kemp: New Gov Kicks off to the Right

January 08, 2019

Georgia Governor Nathan Deal is packing up his office this week -- and fans of religious liberty aren't exactly sad to see him go. The Democrat-turned-Republican did a lot of things in his eight years at the top, but it's his betrayal of our freedom to believe that voters will remember most.

During a sit-down with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution last week, Deal looked back on that decision. And, two years later, he still doesn't seem to understand the magnitude of it. "He bucked his own party in 2016," the AJC points out, "when he vetoed a religious liberty measure long sought by conservatives to provide more legal protections for the faith-based, including those who oppose same-sex marriage. The veto, which came the day after Easter Sunday, was a seminal moment in Deal's tenure." Corporate leaders, the article goes on, "rallied to his defense," but the tension with his party was too much.

"...[H]e angered conservatives, prompting some activists to call for his ouster. His ties to the Georgia GOP were so strained that year that he didn't attend the state party convention." But even though some voters "most remember his tenure for that splotch of red ink," Deal still insists that people of faith don't need Georgia's protection. "They couldn't give an example why it's needed in Georgia," the outgoing governor argued. "On a human level, we're a loving state. I don't see any reason to pass something that lends itself to the implication that the government is encouraging discrimination. That's not good government. It doesn't make the state strong. It makes it weak."

Voters obviously disagreed -- powering religious freedom activist Brian Kemp (R) to the race against Oprah's protégée, Stacey Abrams (D). All throughout the campaign, Kemp refused to back down from his promise, "I believe in religious freedom," he said, "and I will fight for it as governor." His opponent, Abrams, took a decidedly different approach to faith -- and it cost her. "No matter what you hear," she told voters, "there's no necessity for this legislation in Georgia," Abrams said. "And the notion that we can hearken back to 1993 ignores the very strong difference between then and now."

Georgians couldn't believe their ears. They'd all watched with horror as native son Kelvin Cochran, an Atlanta fire chief appointed by Barack Obama, was fired from his job for daring to write a men's Bible study book espousing biblical values on his own time at his own expense. There was indeed, they agreed, a necessity for this legislation in Georgia. As bakers, florists, sportscasters, teachers, policemen, nurses, athletes, and so many others lost businesses, careers, and life-savings for their beliefs, it was increasingly obvious that if Georgia didn't do something -- and fast -- the religious hostility of Deal and others would metastasize throughout government.

So, they elected a leader who understood the threat: Brian Kemp. After watching Deal sell their First Amendment rights down the river in the fight over the religious liberty bill, they were ready for a governor who would make sure that what happened to Kelvin Cochran wouldn't happen again. So far, he hasn't disappointed. Governor-elect Kemp has been so outspoken about the issue that it landed him a spot on LGBTQ Nation's Top 10 "Worst Politicians of 2018!" Alongside Vice President Mike Pence and others, they mock Kemp as an "unrepentant, knuckle-dragging right-winger," who, to the far-Left's activists' surprise, managed to win on a religious liberty issue they'd convinced themselves didn't matter.

Maybe that's because, as Kemp says, "Georgians are sick and tired of these politically correct liberals... who are offended and outraged by our faith, and our guns and our big trucks." Vote Kemp, the campaign signs read, "He's no wimp!" And on the fundamental issue of religious liberty, voters are anxious to see him to prove it.

Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.

Must-Read! The Top 10 Myths about Abortion

January 08, 2019

In the weeks leading up to the March for Life, you'll probably hear a lot of things about the state of abortion in America -- some true, some not so true. Thanks to the liberal media, there's a lot of misinformation out there about the procedure and its consequences. Dr. Ingrid Skop, a practicing OB/GYN and board member of the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists, is trying to help FRC set the record straight. In a brand new publication, "Top 10 Myths about Abortion," she does her best to separate fact from fiction.

Dr. Skop says her biggest hope is that this paper would "cause those who consider themselves to be 'pro-choice' to question some of the assumptions they have made about abortion. Abortion is a difficult topic to talk or even think about. It has invaded deeply into the fiber of our society precisely because most of us do not want to address it until it confronts us directly…" As passionate as she is about the issue, Dr. Skop insists:

"You don't have to believe like I do -- that abortion is harmful to women, families, and society. But please have the courage to look into it yourself. Follow the leads I have provided in the citations to study this subject more deeply. Begin to have difficult conversations with friends and family so you can help others to really confront this issue too. It is time that our country sees abortion for what it really is -- for the sake of women and children yet unborn."

Along with the series of videos that Dr. Skop is releasing on each myth, make sure to tune in next week to the 14th annual ProLifeCon, FRC's digital pro-life activist summit. The wired world affects the wide world, and ProLifeCon will show you how you can make a difference for life on the platforms that you use every day. Two of the featured speakers this year are Ryan and Bethany Bomberger of the Radiance Foundation, who will help us further in sorting fact from fiction when it comes to abortion. For more information and confirmed speaker listing, follow this link.

Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.

Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.

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