Sam Brownback has served as secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, as the Republican governor of Kansas, and as the U.S. ambassador-at-large for International Religious Freedom. Now senior fellow with Open Doors USA, he remains a top authority on religious persecution, and he is especially concerned about China.
"What China's doing with artificial intelligence systems, cameras everywhere, social credit scores, and their war on faith is really to try to annihilate faith from the Communist atheistic system that they seek to put in place," he asserts. "And then they want to send that system around the world to other authoritarian regimes, so that's why for me China is the biggest enabler of human rights abuses and religious persecution around the world."
Persecution is especially rampant against Muslim Uyghurs in the western part of the country.
Brownback is also concerned about the State Department taking Nigeria off its list of Countries of Particular Concern for violations of religious freedom.
"Nigeria needs to be relisted as a country of particular concern," he insists. "Last year, State Department Secretary [Antony] Blinken took them off the list … and it's just gotten more deadly."
Tens of thousands of Nigeria Christians have been killed or kidnapped in recent years, In 2021, nearly 6,000 Christians were killed for their faith around the world, marking an approximate 25% increase from the previous year. Nigeria accounted for 80% of those deaths.
Brownback will co-host the International Religious Freedom Summit later this month.