An ‘atheist’ empire? Trump aides rally evangelicals in China fight

Religious freedom is a growing theme of President Donald Trump’s confrontation with Beijing, and it’s resonating with Christian leaders.

POLITICO
Date:  12/30/2018
By NAHAL TOOSI

President Donald Trump rarely addresses religious freedom or human rights, and when it comes to China he focuses mainly on Beijing’s trade practices. | Nicolas Asfouri/AFP/Getty Images

Vice President Mike Pence infuriated Beijing when he gave a speech in October warning that China had become a dangerous rival to the United States. While he focused on familiar issues such as China’s trade policies and cyber espionage, Pence also denounced the country’s “avowedly atheist Communist Party.”

Citing a crackdown on organized religion in the country, Pence noted that Chinese authorities “are tearing down crosses, burning Bibles and imprisoning believers.”

“For China’s Christians,” Pence said, “these are desperate times.”

Pence’s remarks, which also addressed the repression of Chinese Buddhists and Muslims, illustrated how religious freedom is a growing theme of President Donald Trump’s confrontation with Beijing, which some foreign policy insiders warn could develop into a new Cold War.

It is a subject that resonates in the U.S. heartland, some Christian leaders say — parts of which, including rural areas, are disproportionately at risk of fallout from Trump’s trade fight with the Asian giant.    [FULL  STORY]

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