Congressman Mike Gallagher Addresses the Community Plenary
Congressman Mike Gallagher addressed the Community Plenary at the 2023 Parliament of the World’s Religions in Chicago, USA.
Hi I’m Mike Gallagher and I represent Wisconsin’s great 8th District in Congress where I chair the Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party. Thank you to the Parliament of World’s Religions for inviting me to speak. I’m sorry I couldn’t be there to join you in person, but I wanted to share some insights from our work on the faithful who are in crisis inside China.
The Chinese Communist Party is rewriting the Bible. You see, in the Gospel of Saint John, Jesus famously defends a woman caught committing adultery against her accusers, saying, “Let he among you without sin, cast the first stone.” The chastened accusers then slink away and Jesus says to the woman, “Has no one condemned you? Then neither do I condemn you. Go forth and sin no more.” It’s a beautiful story of forgiveness and mercy. Unless, of course, you’re a CCP official. Then it’s a story of a dissident challenging the authority of the state.
A possible sneak preview of what a Bible with socialist characteristics might look like appeared in a Chinese university textbook in 2020. The rewritten Gospel of John excerpt ends not with mercy, but with Jesus himself stoning the adulterous woman to death.
Across Henan province, local CCP officials forced Protestant churches to replace the Ten Commandments with Xi Jinping. Quotes like “Thou shalt have no other gods before me,” became diktats like, “resolutely guard against the infiltration of Western ideology.”
At the 19th Party Congress, Chairman Xi declared, “We will insist on the sinicization of Chinese religions and provide active guidance for religion and socialism to coexist.” Let me translate. Xi Jinping has no problem with the first commandment. Just so long as he and the CCP are playing the role of God. Only five faiths are recognized in China. Less established faiths face even more intense persecution. The Falun Gong remains an unfamiliar spiritual practice to many outside China. But the State Department estimated that at times half of the population of China’s re-education through labor camps or modern gulags, were Falun Gong adherents, and thousands were reportedly tortured to death.
But it’s in Tibet and Xinjiang that we see the CCP’s unsanitized, brutal attitude towards religion. While other faiths are persecuted throughout China, Buddhists and Muslims in the far west of the country are facing, quite simply, the attempted annihilation of their faith and in some cases their population.
The CCP is committing genocide, the crimes above all crimes in Xinjiang. The CCP is also perpetrating a slow motion cultural genocide targeting the ethno-religious minority groups like the Uyghyrs, Tibetans, Southern Mongolians, Kyrgyz, and others. Buddhist statues are bulldozed, monasteries are gutted, mosques are destroyed, children are forcibly separated from families and packed off to colonial boarding schools or religion and native languages are often forbidden. Yet even under intense persecution faith persists throughout China.
Through my work in Congress, I’ve heard unthinkable stories of religious persecution. But I’ve also listened to accounts of underground churches, brave clergy, and steadfast believers every bit as courageous as saints of the early church. In an interview with The Guardian, the pastor of one Chinese church stated, “In this war in Xinjiang, in Shanghai, in Beijing, in Chengdu, the rulers have chosen an enemy that can never be imprisoned. The soul of man.” The pastor ended with an assessment that we must make come true, “The PRC rulers are doomed to lose.” Thank you.