Taiwan legislative leader highlights China’s ‘horrendous’ human rights record

McCaul at the Legislative Yuan
You Si-kun, the president of Taiwan’s Legislative Yuan, speaks at a press conference with Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX), chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, in Taipei on Good Friday. Jerry Dunleavy

Taiwan legislative leader highlights China’s ‘horrendous’ human rights record

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TAIPEI, Taiwan — The head of Taiwan’s legislature highlighted the Chinese Communist Party’s “horrendous violation of human rights” during a press conference with a U.S. congressional delegation during Holy Week.

You Si-kun, the president of the Legislative Yuan in Taiwan’s unicameral parliamentary body, made the comments on Good Friday during a press conference with members of Congress following a visit by the U.S. delegation to a session of Taiwan’s legislature.

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House members on the trip, led by Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX), chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, also spoke with the Washington Examiner about the Chinese government’s persecution of Uyghur Muslims, its efforts to assert dominance over the Catholic Church in China, and its repression of other religious minorities.

“Recently, members of the Mayflower Church, a Christian Church, fled religious persecution by the CCP and made their way to Thailand,” You said as he began his remarks at a joint press conference with the House members on Friday. “After Chairman McCaul called for action to protect these people, I also urged the international community to pay close attention to the CCP’s horrendous violations of human rights. So meeting with Chairman McCaul today feels like meeting with an old friend.”

McCaul had sent a letter to the State Department in February about the dozens of exiled Christians who had fled China, telling them he is “highly concerned about the PRC’s growing influence in Southeast Asia and its ability to compel the repatriation of Chinese citizens who have sought refugee status” and emphasizing that “religious freedom, and its protection abroad, are essential interests of our nation.”

You said that month that “in addition to echoing Chairman McCaul’s action, we also ask the [Taiwan] executive branch to care about helping these persecuted Chinese religious refugees and to show concrete actions to help them, because democracy, freedom, and human rights are common values in Taiwan and the world!”

A deal between the Vatican and China about the appointment of bishops, the specific terms of which remain a secret, was first agreed to in September 2018 and has been renewed twice.

Members of the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom told the Washington Examiner late last year that things have actually gotten worse for Catholics and other Christians and religious minorities in China since the Beijing-Vatican deal was first agreed to four years ago.

The China-Vatican deal’s renewal came just days before the trial resumed against Hong Kong Cardinal Joseph Zen. Zen was being prosecuted by the Chinese government-dominated authorities of the city following his decades of harsh criticism of Beijing’s religious persecution, its extensive human rights abuses, and its growing repression. He is also an outspoken critic of the China-Vatican deal.

The 90-year-old cardinal, along with five co-defendants, was arrested and charged under Hong Kong’s Societies Ordinance in May for allegedly failing properly to register the pro-democracy 612 Humanitarian Relief Fund, which provided legal and medical assistance in 2019 and 2020 to jailed protesters who objected to the Chinese government’s increasingly iron-fisted grip on the former British colony.

Zen is also reportedly being investigated for alleged “collusion with foreign forces” under Hong Kong’s National Security Law.

McCaul, who is Catholic, told the Washington Examiner on Saturday he thought “Hong Kong was a wake-up call” for Taiwan, pointing to the “Chinese threat to the religious liberty that is here on the island.” He said China was “oppressing religions and committing genocide” and called those actions “offensive culturally to the Taiwanese.”

Just last week, the Chinese government unilaterally appointed its own Catholic bishop in Shanghai without the consent of the Vatican.

The Vatican is one of only just over a dozen countries that formally recognize Taiwan.

The Trump administration also declared in one of its final acts in January 2021 that the Chinese government’s oppression of the Uyghurs and other religious minorities in Xinjiang in western China was an ongoing genocide. The Biden administration declared in March 2021 that the Uyghur genocide was ongoing and has since released more granular detail about the Chinese government’s oppression in Xinjiang.

The State Department’s 2021 report on religious freedom in China concluded that “the government continued its multi-year campaign of ‘Sinicization’ to bring all religious doctrine and practice in line with CCP doctrine, which included requiring clergy of all faiths to attend political indoctrination sessions and suggesting content for sermons that emphasized loyalty to the CCP and the state.”

The report highlighted China’s repression of Christians, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Falun Gong, and other faiths.

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Rep. French Hill (R-AR), who is also Catholic, told the Washington Examiner that “the Communist Party in China has a strategy of persecution of faith.”

French added that, in contrast, in Taiwan, “they do believe in individual liberty rights here, in my view, especially coming out of their military dictatorship, and therefore they have liberty values high here, and therefore I think they would be a far better home for religious liberty certainly than mainland China.”

© 2023 Washington Examiner

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