Pompeo: Religious Liberty Trumps Climate Concessions

Former secretary of state Mike Pompeo / Getty Images
July 14, 2021

Former secretary of state Mike Pompeo said the Biden administration should not let China off the hook for restrictions on religious freedom to bring it to the table on climate change.

"It would be a grave mistake to prioritize climate change at the expense of allowing religious repression to fester and grow around the world," Pompeo said in a speech at the International Religious Freedom Summit on Wednesday. The former secretary of state also said the United States must do more to combat religious repression around the globe.

The Biden administration has made environmentalism a top priority in its international agenda and tapped former secretary of state John Kerry to be the administration's special envoy on climate change. Democratic officials have made overtures to Beijing in an attempt to persuade the world's top emitter of greenhouse gases to agree to more stringent environmental regulations. Pompeo said it would be a mistake to do so at the expense of ignoring the growing human rights crisis among Chinese Muslims.

"China is doing to the Uyghurs what we know to be genocide," Pompeo said.

Pompeo was not alone in condemning China's treatment of religious minorities. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) said the communist regime cannot be allowed to escape scrutiny.

"If we do not speak out against human rights violations in China, indeed anywhere, because of commercial interest then we lose all moral authority to speak out on human rights violations anywhere," Pelosi said.

The bipartisan event was organized by former president Donald Trump's ambassador for international religious freedom Sam Brownback.