Providence Week in Review, June 1: East Asia and Human Rights

Providence Week in Review, June 1: East Asia and Human Rights

This week at Providence we focused on East Asian issues, including religious persecution in China against both Christians and Muslims and whether Trump should address human rights in North Korea if he meets Kim Jong-un. Here are some of the highlights:

In “Can You Hear Us Now? Chinese Christians Cry Out amidst Oppression,” Alex Entz and Alexander Titus review how China has persecuted Christians. Specifically, they say that American Christians should advocate for their brothers and sisters suffering under the communist regime. This issue is particularly worrisome because other countries in the region may copy Beijing’s oppressive model as its power continues to increase, threatening more Christians. Entz and Titus call President Trump to use the power of his presidential bully pulpit and call out Chinese President Xi Jinping for abusing religious freedom.

Continuing the focus on China’s religious persecution, Jimmy Lewis shows a link between how the central government’s treatment of Uighurs, who are mostly Muslim, in China’s western Xinjiang province makes terrorism worse. His “A Small Leap Forward: Religious Persecution and Terrorism in China” analyzes this minority’s history and suggests Beijing should adopt policies similar to the United Kingdom’s. But instead of respecting their religious freedom, China has detained up to a million Uighur Muslims in internment camps for “reeducation,” and detainees have reportedly endured waterboarding and communist indoctrination. Lewis says this will make the situation worse. Moreover, if Beijing will not respect Muslims’ religious freedom, it won’t respect Christians’.

This week the Trump administration has vacillated on whether it intends to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in Singapore later this month. If the president does decide to meet with the North’s dictator, Alan Dowd says in “To Meet or Not to Meet? North Korean Interests, Ideals, and Summits” that Trump should make certain human rights issues remain on the table. There may be a temptation to ignore how Pyongyang treats its citizens so that it will abandon its nuclear weapons, but Dowd insists that promoting American ideals is always in America’s national interests. He looks at how the Helsinki Accords planted seeds of liberty behind the Iron Curtain that later blossomed and undermined Soviet totalitarianism. Trump can plant similar seeds in the North today.

For more about Asia, be sure to check out Providence’s Asia-Pacific archive, which includes an interview with the Heritage Foundation’s Olivia Enos, who talked with us in February 2017 about North Korea’s human rights crisis.

Photo Credit: Tiananmen Square on April 29, 2013. By Xiquinho Silva, via Flickr.

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