For international religious freedom, a former US ambassador is calling for the internet firewall which blocks certain information in China to be ‘torn down.’
At a conference entitled ‘Digital Persecution: The New Human Rights Frontier’ Sam Brownback shone a spotlight on how digital surveillance, imposed by the Chinese Communist Party, is curtailing religious freedoms.
Mr Brownback said: “We want this internet firewall in China torn down and we don't want other authoritarian countries to put up such a firewall so that their people can't get access to information.”
Mr Brownback’s speech followed earlier this month that China has outlawed the ‘creation or sharing of religious content online’, leaving Christians unable to meet over the internet for church.
A ban on the online sale of Bibles was already in place.
China is ranked as number 17 on Open Doors World Watch List, an annual ranking system of the 50 countries where Christians face the most severe persecution.
Director of Advocacy at Open Doors Dr David Landrum said: “The huge numbers of Christians in China provide an existential thread to the Chinese Communist Party.
“The CCP is trying to strangle and subvert Christianity.
“It is redesigning and refashioning the church to match communist party values.
“China’s appalling treatment and surveillance of the Uighur people in Xinjiang is one of the most chilling examples of religious persecution in the world.
“It shows us how far the party will go to protect its power and it is also a terrifying example of digital surveillance which it is exporting to other authoritarian states.
“We need to pull down this firewall in China so that everyone - including religious groups - can have access to information and enjoy freedom of religion.”