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Why American Christians should boycott Beijing’s Olympics

President Joe Biden’s determination to launch a diplomatic boycott of the 2022 Winter Olympics couldn’t come at a greater second. Sparked by a bipartisan push on Capitol Hill and joined by Australia, Canada and the United Kingdom, the boycott shifts world consideration from manufactured Olympic fanfare to a extra critical matter: China’s egregious persecution of non secular minorities and ongoing historical past of human rights abuses. But given China’s defiant response, wherein they warned “the U.S. will pay for its wrongdoing,” overseas coverage consultants are skeptical this transfer will impact actual change. 

A diplomatic boycott of a sports activities occasion is extra symbolic than substantive. The solely option to apply adequate stress to China is to hit them the place it hurts: within the pocketbook. The communist nation’s leaders are famously rapacious about financial development, which suggests they’re weak to the choices of on a regular basis shoppers in locations just like the United States. 

Now it’s as much as America’s 200 million Christians, and all who care about human rights, to power a change in course by boycotting Beijing’s Olympics.

China has suppressed individuals of religion for over seven decades, beginning with the takeover of the Chinese Communist Party in 1949. Tens of thousands and thousands of Chinese Christians in the present day are compelled to secretly worship in unlawful house churches at their very own peril. Our group, Open Doors USA, has been monitoring China’s marketing campaign of non secular persecution for many years. In 2021, China ranked as the 17th most harmful place on earth for Christians in response to the World Watch List, a worldwide database of faith-based human rights abuses. 

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And that is simply the tip of the iceberg. As the Olympics begin this winter, China remains to be actively committing mass genocide in opposition to its personal residents. Over 1,000,000 Uyghur Muslims are interned in a prison camp system designed to crush resistance to Beijing’s orders and erase Uyghur tradition. Tibetan Buddhists, the Falun Gong and plenty of others have additionally suffered unspeakable abuses by the hands of an authoritarian authorities decided to chop off any menace to its management, actual or perceived.

Leaders who’ve the braveness to talk up about China’s travesties usually face the best persecution. In latest weeks, the world has watched and waited after Peng Shuai, one in all China’s greatest tennis gamers, was censored and silenced for accusing a senior Chinese official of wrongdoing. As a outcome, the Women’s Tennis Association introduced the immediate suspension of all tour tournaments in China. 

Peng’s silencing is an ominous instance of China’s unimaginable capability to wield expertise for the needs of repression. Many of her posts on Weibo, China’s equal of Twitter, were pulled immediately, as had been feedback by others asking about her security. Search outcomes of Peng’s identify had been blocked and her only appearances in public look like fastidiously managed. 

Peng shouldn’t be alone in having her on-line profile censored. In August, Zhao Wei, one in all China’s wealthiest actresses, was nearly erased from the Chinese web after she offended authorities officers. Religious leaders have additionally reported their on-line exercise erased, then used to focus on them for arrest. 

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This technological sophistication goes properly past web censorship. Chinese officers have gotten adept at using mass-surveillance technology, together with over 100 million closed-circuit cameras, facial recognition software program and different types of biometric identification, to maintain fixed tabs on its residents. Security officers might even be able to figuring out residents by their body shape and the size of their stride. 

In the United States, nonetheless, most individuals of religion look like woefully unaware of the plight of their fellow believers in China. The persecution of Chinese Christians is never if ever mentioned on Sunday mornings in American megachurches. Raising consciousness has been a protracted, gradual wrestle for the handful of organizations devoted to the trouble of exposing non secular persecution in China and elsewhere. The outright refusal of celebrities and major sports figures to acknowledge China’s repression, a minimum of till the Peng Shuai case, hasn’t helped. 

President BidenJoe BidenSenate confirms 40 judges throughout Biden’s first yr in workplace, essentially the most since Reagan SNL removes dwell viewers, loses musical visitor for Saturday as omicron spreads Liberals upset after Biden’s first yr MORE’s diplomatic boycott is an opportunity for Americans to behave. Martin Luther King Jr. as soon as famously said, “In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.” It’s time for American Christians to interrupt their silence and rise up for his or her persecuted brothers and sisters in China. 

Specifically, American Christians and others want to take a look at the greater than 80 major brands with hyperlinks to the compelled labor of Uyghur Muslims. Some are additionally major sponsors of the 2022 Winter Olympics, together with Panasonic and Samsung. China Aid, a Christian group led by former home church pastor Bob Fu, has already called for a boycott of Olympic advertisers till China “announces a date they will close Uyghur concentration camps and releases a list of religious prisoners.” 

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But extra can — and should — be performed. 

People of religion should use their social media platforms to let sponsors know they disapprove of China’s remedy of non secular minorities. Members of Congress should be inundated with calls and emails from constituents asking how they plan to halt the genocide in opposition to Uyghurs and the persecution of Christians. Faith leaders at America’s mosques, synagogues and church buildings should name on their followers to make use of the Olympics for a time of prayer and fasting in assist of the persecuted in China.

Like all of historical past’s nice tragedies, China’s systematic repression of religion will in the future come to an finish. Until then, it’s incumbent upon those that have the flexibility and assets to take action to take motion. No nation actively committing genocide should ever be given the dignity of internet hosting the Olympics.

Biden’s diplomatic boycott has set the stage. Now it’s time for individuals of religion to step onto it.

David Curry is president and CEO of Open Doors USA, which advocates on behalf of those that are persecuted for his or her Christian religion.  

Sam Brownback served as ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom from February 2018 to January 2021. He served as governor of Kansas from 2011 to 2018. Brownback at the moment serves as co-chair for the International Religious Freedom Summit and as a senior fellow at Open Doors USA.

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