FRC Testimony to the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission

By Robert Schwarzwalder
Senior Vice President
Family Research Council
November 12, 2009

Co-Chairmen McGovern and Wolf, Congressman Smith and Members of the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission, thank you for allowing the Family Research Council to submit testimony on China’s human rights record.

In one sense, it is difficult to know where to begin. The catalog of China’s human rights abuses is so extensive that to highlight only several areas is to imply that the others are less significant. This is not the case.

Since the Maoist take-over of mainland China in 1949, tens of millions have perished under the wheel of totalitarian Communism. The exact number is difficult to quantify, but conservative estimates place the number into the 40 millions; the actual number may exceed 100 million.

We cannot truly mourn these losses without working actively to prevent additional brutality in our time. For that reason, Family Research Council will highlight two aspects of the Chinese government’s long pattern of inhumane treatment toward its own citizens that are of particular relevance to the work and ministry of our organization: its ongoing persecution of Christian believers and China’s “one child,” coercive
abortion policy.

The most authoritative study now available indicates that as of 2008, there are roughly 40 million Protestants and 14 million Catholics living in China. Of the latter number, about 10 million worship in churches not recognized by Beijing due to the Communist government’s antagonism toward Rome. Of the Protestants, substantial numbers worship in “unregistered” house churches. 1

What is the fate of these faithful men and women, productive citizens who want only to worship according to their consciences and in fidelity to the mandates of their faiths? Consider a small selection of the findings of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, a bi-partisan federal agency, in its 2009 annual report on China:

In May 2008, the Beijing Police raided the unregistered Shouwang Church and ordered the members to leave and stop meeting. The Shouwang Church has tried to register with the local government, but their application has been denied repeatedly because their clergy was not trained by the officially recognized Christian association. Unregistered Catholic priest Wang Zhong was sentenced to three years imprisonment for organizing a July ceremony at a new church that was legally registered with the government. Provincial authorities in Sichuan also interfered with the humanitarian activities sponsored by unregistered house church Protestants following the May 2008 earthquake. Two Protestants from Henan Province were detained and questioned about their efforts to help earthquake victims; they were held for about a week and ordered to pay a hefty fine for engaging in illegal religious activity. 2

As the Members of this panel know, lengthy books could be written about individual cases of religious persecution by the Chinese government. These not only clearly violate international accords of which China is a signatory, but more profoundly they do injustice to men and women of all ages, some quite young, others very elderly, whose only crime is to believe in the Creator of life and desire to worship Him according to biblical lights.

With respect to China’s “one child” birth policy, the three decades-old policy – euphemistically called “strategic family planning” – has resulted in untold numbers of coerced abortions, many on late-term unborn babies, and now by the Chinese government’s own admission, “there are 37 million more males than females now in China. Within the 0 – 15 year age group, there are 18 million more boys than girls.”

The massiveness of China’s forced abortion policy and its sheer brutality has not discouraged the Communist government from sustaining it. According to recent comments by Zhang Weiqing, minister of the National Population and Family Planning Commission, “The current family planning policy, formed as a result of gradual changes in the past two decades, has proved compatible with national conditions. So it has to be kept unchanged at this time to ensure stable and balanced population growth.” 4

Sadly, President Obama has chosen to waive the historic Kemp-Kasten prohibition that denies federal funding to organizations or programs that “support or participate in the management of a program of coercive abortion or involuntary sterilization” and provide $50 million to the United Nations Family Planning Fund, some of which will go to assist Chinese officials who will further facilitate compulsory contraception, forced abortions, and even prison terms for women who have more than one child. 5

“Nothing stamped with the Divine image and likeness was sent into the world to be trodden on,” said President Lincoln. This is the essential meaning of our Declaration of Independence, that God has created all of us equal and bestowed us with “certain unalienable rights,” the foremost among them the right to life.

This principle is true for Americans and Chinese alike, and should be reinstated as essential to America’s relationship with China’s government and its gruesome human rights policies.

Thank you again for giving the Family Research Council the opportunity to submit this testimony.

1 “Facts about Numbers of Christians in China,” Dr. Werner Burklin,, Dec. 9, 2008

2 U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, 2009 Annual Report on the People’s Republic of China, p.5

3 “China has 37 million more males than females,” People’s Daily Online, July 10, 2007.

4 “China Sticking with One –Child Policy,” Jim Yardley, New York Times, March 11, 2008

5 “Conservatism’s Future in Foreign Policy,” by Family Research Council Senior Fellow and former U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Human Rights Commission Ken Blackwell, The Washington Times, Sept. 9, 2009; FRC News Release, “FRC Commends Effort to Protect Pro-life Riders, Prevent Taxpayer Funded Abortions,” Feb. 25, 2009


About Jim Jewell

I am a writer and consultant on faith and public life, active for many years in management and communications in the evangelical community. I now work as the director of the nonprofit practice at The Valcort Group ( Everything on this blog, however, is my personal opinion and is not read or approved before it is posted. Opinions, conclusions and other information expressed here do not necessarily reflect the views of Valcort.
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