U.S. Senators Todd Young (R-Ind.) and Tim Kaine (D-Va.) sent a letter to Pope Francis concerning the treatment of ethnic and religious minorities in Xinjiang, China. The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has systematically persecuted the Uyghur Muslim population of Xinjiang for years. The Vatican is currently in the process of negotiating a renewed agreement with the CCP concerning the Pope’s role in the appointment of Chinese Bishops. The Senators are encouraging the Pope to use these negotiations to confront the CCP’s treatment of religious minorities in China.
“We had the great privilege to hear your encouraging words to a Joint Session of Congress just over five years ago. In September 2015 you encouraged Senators and Representatives to use the ‘voice of love’ as a ‘resource in the battle to eliminate new global forms of slavery.’ Today, we are still encountering slavery and oppression, and it is perhaps no place more extreme than what we are witnessing in Xinjiang and the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) indefensible treatment of Uyghur Muslims,” the Senators wrote.
“It is our understanding that the agreement the Vatican reached with the CCP leadership concerning Your Holiness’s role in the appointment of Chinese bishops will soon expire and that you are making progress on a renewal. We support your desire to ensure the integrity and safety of the Catholic Church and your congregants in the PRC, and respect the challenging decisions you must make to accomplish these outcomes. We encourage you to use this mutually desired outcome to express to the CCP your concern about the treatment of religious minorities in Xinjiang and elsewhere. The CCP has much to gain from a continued agreement with Your Holiness, and as such we believe you possess a unique opportunity to make a positive difference in how all religions and practitioners are treated by the Chinese authorities—especially in Xinjiang,” the Senators added.