Letter to Secretary of State Christopher on Religious Persecution, December 3, 1996

Year Published
  • 2013
  • English

December 3, 1996

The Honorable Warren Christopher 
Secretary of State
Department of State
Washington, D.C. 20520 

Dear Mr. Secretary: 

I write to you on behalf of the Catholic bishops of the United States about our serious concerns over recent directions in United States policy towards the Peoples' Republic of China. 

We are deeply distressed by recent reports about the diminished place of human rights in U.S.-China relations at a time when religious and political persecution in China is on the rise. We note recent reports of increased arrests of clergy and interference with gatherings for the purpose of worship. We are especially dismayed that in the face of such deliberate repression of fundamental rights, President Clinton has agreed to an exchange of visits with President Jiang Ze Min of China. 

We believe the suffering believers of China, including Catholics of the unauthorized "underground church," Tibetan Buddhists and Christian Evangelicals deserve effective diplomatic defense on the part of the United States. Similarly, prison laborers and pro-democracy activists should expect more from our country than kind words. 

I urge the Administration, Mr. Secretary, on behalf of China's prisoners of conscience, to seriously engage the Chinese government on issues of human rights and religious liberty and to work with us, other concerned people of faith, and human rights organizations to establish a commitment and creditable policy on issues of human rights and religious liberty. 

I look forward to further discussion with you on these matters. 

Sincerely yours,  

Archbishop Theodore McCarrick
International Policy Committee