Faith Connects The U.S. And Taiwan

The opening ceremony of the Civil Society Dialogue on Securing Religious Freedom in the Indo-Pacific Region. To the left of President Tsai Ing-wen (center) stands Sam Brownback.

The U.S. and Taiwan are strengthening relations despite the absence of formal diplomatic ties. On 11 March, they jointly held a regional dialogue of civil societies on religious freedom in Taipei.

Sam Brownback, United States Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom, mounted the platform as Trump’s delegate. He praised Taiwan as a democratic success story and a force that will turn the world in the right direction.

Referring to China’s oppression of Uighurs, Tibetan Buddhists and Christians he said, “There are millions of people cowering in corners now, simply wanting to believe and yet in fear. With your help, we must redouble our efforts to expand religious freedom.”

Taiwan has deeply rooted Buddhist and Taoist traditions, and recent years have seen a rise in Christians and Muslims as well. President Tsai Ing-wen who attended the forum spoke of the importance of this diversity, and criticized China for their religious persecutions:

In countries where human rights and democratic values are suppressed, governments engage in discrimination and violence against people who simply want to follow their faith…

Taiwan knows how it feels when someone tries to take away your rights, wipe out your identity, and challenge your way of life. So, we chose to stand with those who were oppressed and whose religious rights were taken away by authoritarian regimes…

We remain committed to creating a world where people are free from fear of persecution, or the fear of exile because of their religion or ethnicity.


Trump’s Alliance of Faith

This forum was based on the Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom that the Trump administration convened in Washington, D.C. last July. On 24 July, the Department of State invited representatives from over 80 countries around the world to discuss matters of religious freedom across three days. Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also appeared and criticized China for detaining hundreds of thousands of Uighurs in concentration camps.

In October, Pence gave an address at the Hudson Institute where he, again, severely denounced China for infringing on the rights of religious freedom.

One week before the forum in Taipei, a new coalition, named the Coalition to Advance Religious Freedom in China (CARFC), was formed in Washington, D.C. Representatives from various religions including Muslims, Christians, Buddhists, and Falun Gong followers gathered to raise awareness on China’s religious oppressions. Sam Brownback and nonpartisan Congressmen spoke at the press conference about the need to change China.


An Alliance of Faith to Democratize China

Under their respective governments, the U.S. and Taiwan are trying to establish ties in the name of faith. This is a counter blow towards the Communist Party that wants to annex Taiwan because they are supposedly the “same race”.

Trump is probably trying to tell us that Taiwan is clearly a different independent country to China’s one-party dictatorship. Religious freedom is the most important condition for the modern nation state, and it is a value that is deeply embedded in Taiwanese society.

In other words, China’s democratization and their subsequent rise to the modern nation state can only happen if countries that uphold religious faith come together in an alliance.

This means the U.S. and Taiwan must form an alliance with the Philippines – where the Christian faith remains strong – and Russia – where Putin is reviving the Orthodox Faith. This will create a basic encirclement around China.

The world is now being divided into two opposing forces: countries that uphold faith in God, and countries where an absolute ruler tries to become God.

Japan must also decide which side to support: the democratic countries where religious freedom is protected, or dictatorial countries where freedom is oppressed.

Faith Connects The U.S. And Taiwan
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