The U.S. Congress is beginning to take a more skeptical view of the Chinese regime. On Dec. 20, Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.) and Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) joined a panel organized by a group dedicated to disintegrating the Chinese Communist Party.
“Our number one challenge in the years ahead is [to deal with] a fascistic, totalitarian, aggressive China,” said Rohrabacher. “If the situation continues the way it is in China, if you have an unbridled force like that… there will be horrible things happen to all the countries in the world within our lifetime.”
“[China has a] fascist state dictatorship, trying to control people’s life in a dictatorial way without any opposition and press, and it’s taking away resources from people who are less powerful,” said Rohrabacher.
Serving as a senior member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, the Congressman from California is outspoken on international relations. He is particularly well-known for being a long-term critic of the CCP and its many abuses of human rights, among which he has repeatedly singled out the persecution of the spiritual practice Falun Gong (also known as Falun Dafa) as one of its great sins.
Rohrabacher stressed that the solution for the United States is in working with the Chinese people: “Our hope for peace with China rests on the people of China, and not in [siding with] the government of China.”
Rohrabacher delivered his remarks at a forum titled “Human Rights Abuses and the Tuidang Movement in China,” which was held in the Cannon office building on Capitol hill and sponsored by the Tuidang Center.
“Tuidang” translates literally as “withdraw from the [Communist] party,” and the Tuidang Center says it is in the business of “fr eeing hearts and minds in China.” It works to “assist all Chinese people worldwide to renounce the Chinese Communist Party and its affiliated organizations.” (Affiliated with the CCP are The Young Pioneers and the Communist Youth League. Nearly all young people in China join at least one of these organizations).
The CCP considers such a withdrawal a dissenting act, since the Party does not allow its members to leave. They can only be kicked out by Party leadership.
Started in 2004, the Tuidang Center has recorded over 292 million Chinese submitting their renunciations, which for safety’s sake is usually done using a pen name.
Rohrabacher praised the Tuidang movement for giving Chinese people under the one-party dictatorship a chance to get out and not to participate in the repression.
The persecution of Falun Gong in China was an important theme of the forum.
Congressman Steve King (R-Iowa) said that he has supported the many Congressional resolutions condemning the Chinese regime’s persecution of Falun Gong because it is a trampling of the fundamental rights of freedom. “They just want to peacefully worship and live free,” said King.
Falun Gong involves practicing meditative exercises and living according to the principles of truthfulness, compassion, and tolerance. In 1999 the then-head of the CCP Jiang Zemin, fearing the practice’s popularity, ordered a systematic persecution of it in an effort to eradicate it from China.
One of the cases of human rights abuses described at the forum was told by Xu Xinyang, a 16-year-old girl originally from China. Xu related how her father was imprisoned in China for practicing Falun Gong and died in 2009 due to the torture and the poor conditions he suffered in jail. Xu and her mother, who was also wanted by the police for the same “crime,” narrowly escaped China that year, and the two of them have since resided in Maryland.
Du Haipeng, who also lives in Maryland, came to the forum to raise awareness about the case of his mother. Yuan Xiaoman of Dalian, China was arrested in 2016 and sentenced to 42 months in prison for attempting to file a lawsuit against Jiang Zemin for crimes against humanity. Du’s father was also arrested in the early years of the persecution, jailed for three years, and severely tortured.
The U.S. Congress has been taking an increasingly tougher stance against the Chinese regime recently. One week prior to the forum, on Dec. 13, the Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC) held a hearing pertinently titled “The Long Arm of China: Exporting Authoritarianism with Chinese Characteristics.” Congressional members and the experts who were called to testify all expressed urgent concern that the Chinese regime is not only oppressing its people at home but also exporting its authoritarian reach overseas—including to the United States
The forum was moderated by Prof. Sen Nieh, the Vice President ofthe Tuidang Center, and featured a number of well-known critics of the Chinese regime including the famed Chinese rights activist Chen Guangcheng, who outlined some of the latest human rights abuses in China. Trevor Loudon, a New Zealand-based author compared the Chinese regime’s influence operations targeted against New Zealand with those mounted against the United States.
Other participants included: Tsuwei Hwang, spokesperson of the Falun Dafa Practitioners Association in Washington, DC; Rong Yi, President of the Tuidang Center; Edward Griffin, author and filmmaker; Theresa Chu, a human rights lawyer from Taiwan; and Dong Li, Ph.D., a columnist and commentator at New Tang Dynasty TV.