China abuses underscored in religious freedom report



By Grace Thornton - Posted at Baptist Press:

WASHINGTON (BP) -- Despite "glimmers of progress" in religious freedom globally last year, key concerns were noted by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in releasing the 2018 Annual Report on International Religious Freedom.

Travis Wussow of the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission said he looks forward to the report's release each year "because I know how critical American leadership is to advance religious liberty abroad."

Abuses in China warranted a special section in the IRF report, Pompeo said in a news conference following the report's release June 21.

Among the concerns: the plight of at least 800,000 and up to possibly more than 2 million Uighurs, ethnic Kazakhs and members of other Muslim groups -- mostly Chinese citizens -- held in detention facilities in Xinjiang.

Sam Brownback, U.S. ambassador-at-large for international religious freedom, said the Chinese camps are "designed to strip away the culture, identity and faith of these religious communities."

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