Former Trump appointee, US Christian leader sanctioned by China for ‘promoting cults’

China has slapped religious leader and former Trump appointee Johnnie Moore with retaliatory sanctions accusing him of “promoting cults” and has barred him and his family from entering mainland China, Hong Kong, or Macau.

Reverend Moore served on the Commission on International Freedom and has strongly spoken out against China’s religious freedoms violations. He considers it a “high compliment to be banned by the Communist Party.”

Wednesday, the Chinese Foreign Ministry announced the sanctions against the evangelical pastor and business owner. “In response to the US blatant move to endorse cults and impose unilateral sanctions to Chinese personnel based on lies and disinformation, China decides to sanction Johnnie Moore, Commissioner of the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom,” Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian declared during a press conference.

The Chinese government’s decision was “in response to the US side’s blatant efforts to promote heretical religions and impose unilateral sanctions on Chinese personnel based on lies and false information,” Zhao asserted.

(Video Credit: CBN News)

The sanctions are a retaliatory move following the blacklisting of former Chinese official Yu Hui for the persecution of religious minorities, specifically the Falun Gong movement. Falun Gong was founded in 1992 and subsequently banned in China as an “evil cult” in 1999.

The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) condemned the Chinese government on Thursday for the sanctions against Moore. In a released statement, it was noted that the move “will only draw more international attention to the atrocities and horrors being perpetrated by the Chinese government against the Uyghurs, Tibetan Buddhists, Christians, Falun Gong practitioners, and countless other Chinese citizens.”

The USCIRF is a federal commission that is tasked by Congress with monitoring the state of religious freedom worldwide. The group makes policy recommendations to the president, secretary of state, and lawmakers. Those who sit on the commission volunteer their time and efforts. They are appointed by the President, as well as Republican and Democratic lawmakers in both the House and Senate.

Moore was serving a second term on the USCIRF. He stepped down on May 14 even though his term does not expire until 2022. He cited wanting to spend more time with his family, religious, and business ventures. He is also the president of the Congress of Christian Leaders and the founder of the public relations firm KAIROS Company.

“Frankly, I have zero concerns about the sanctions. In fact, I count it a privilege,” he proclaimed. “It is, in fact, a tremendous way to close out my service knowing I had enough of an impact that I drew the ire of the foreign ministry of the CCP [Chinese Communist Party].”

The pastor is deeply involved in promoting religious freedom for persecuted minorities in China. Those include Christians, Uyghur Muslims, and Tibetan Buddhists, among other religions.

On Twitter, he wrote: “It is an honor to be sanctioned by the Chinese Communist Party for giving my voice to the Uyghur Muslims, Christians (including Jimmy Lai), Tibetan Buddhists & countless others the CCP tries to silence every day—a privilege of living in the United States, the land of the free and the home of the brave.”

He continued: “The CCP doesn’t understand the difference between ‘the truth’ and a ‘lie’ but here’s some truth we know: They are weaker than they want us to believe that they are. A global coalition is building to hold them to account and it transcends political parties and U.S. administrations. This Great Wall of Collaboration is a promise to future generations that we will not hand our world to the CCP to victimize the innocent as they please.”

Last December he “adopted” imprisoned Chinese pro-Democracy activist and media tycoon Jimmy Lai via the “Religious Prisoners of Conscience Project.” Moore is an advocate for Lai’s freedom. The tycoon was sentenced to 14 months in prison for unauthorized assembly stemming from his arrest in August 2020.

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