By Tenzin Dharpo
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DHARAMSHALA, Aug. 23: The United States ambassador at large for religious freedom has reiterated his government’s stand, calling Beijing to halt its assault on different faiths and religious freedom. Ambassador Samuel Brownback was speaking to a group of independent experts appointed by the U.N. Human Rights Council during the first international day to remember the victims of religious persecution.
“We call on the Chinese government to end its war on faith and to respect religious freedom for all,” Brownback said, adding that he is “deeply concerned” about China’s “escalating, widespread and undue restrictions” on religious groups, including Uighurs, Kazakhs and other Muslims, Tibetan Buddhists, Catholics, Protestants and Falun Gong.
“83% of the global community live in countries with high or very high restrictions on the free practice of faith — and it’s getting worse, not better,” he said further.
In April, United State’s Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) in its 2019 annual report said China is the worst offender when it comes to persecution of religious faiths. The report that documented the offensive on religious faiths in 28 nations, particularly highlighted China’s “war” on various religious faiths. It said that over the course of last year, the Chinese communist regime has significantly ramped up its persecution of Uyghur Muslims, Falun Gong practitioners, Christians, and Tibetan Buddhists.
Religious freedom is on a new low in occupied Tibet evidenced by the ongoing demolition and eviction as well as “patriotic re-education” of monastics at two prominent Buddhist learning centers of Larung Gar and Yachen Gar.
The forceful eviction in 2016 of students and demolition of Larung Gar, the once sprawling Buddhist learning center boasting over 10,000 students as of May 2017 have been reduced by 4828 monks and nuns and 4725 houses flattened to the ground. In Yachen Gar, over 2000 houses have been demolished and same number of monks and nuns have been expelled and detained at concentration camps.