US in no position to criticize China's religious policy

By Li Qingqing Source:Global Times Published: 2019/4/3 21:48:40

During a reception on Capitol Hill advocating religious freedom and human rights for Muslims on Monday, US Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom Sam Brownback accused China of cracking down on Muslims, saying that "China seems to be at war with faith, and it's a war they will not win." Brownback urged Americans to bring the so-called crisis to the US lawmakers' attention.

We are amazed at Brownback's poor memory. As a high ranking official, he was probably pretending to forget the US "Greater Middle East" plan which was introduced by former US president George W. Bush in 2002. It was widely believed to be a geopolitical strategy to transform the Muslim world. After the 9/11 attacks in 2001, Bush even said, "This crusade, this war on terrorism is going to take a while," which led to widespread criticism. 

Why did Bush's strategy in the Middle East fail in the end? An important reason is that he equated the war on terrorism with the war on the Islamic world, a war with faith. Although many people believe the word "crusade" in 2001 may be a slip of the tongue, it still reflects his political ideas as well as the long-time US strategy in the Middle East. The US "Greater Middle East" plan was an echo of the concept of a clash of civilizations.

In fact, such an undercurrent of resentment toward different civilizations is still buried in American society today.

The trend of rising nationalism and populism in the US is connected with the Trump administration's current policies. Behind such a trend, there is a huge risk of religious conflicts. It is the US which is incorporating deep religious beliefs into its politics.

As for China, it has been exercising the power of religious governance on its own soil. China's current religious policy encourages people of all faiths to live in harmony and develop together. China has never forcibly exported its own political ideas.

China has been working to effectively remove extremism. China has also guided Islam to be compatible with socialism and to sinicize the religion. 

These examples can be regarded as effective acts to govern religion and maintain social stability in the modern secular world. The reality of the rapid development of China's Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region proves that the governance of the Chinese government is successful.

Instead of criticizing China's domestic affairs, Washington should just mind its own business. All in all, the US shouldn't always play the missionary's role and force its faith on others.

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