In 2018, Archbishop Marcelo Sanchez Sorondo, chancellor of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences, said in an interview: “Right now, those who are best implementing the social doctrine of the Church are the Chinese.”

He contrasted China with the more liberal America. “Liberal thought has dismissed the concept of the common good,” he said. “It does not even want to take it into account, it states that it is an empty idea, without any benefits. On the contrary, the Chinese, no, they propose work and the common good.”

Sanchez Sorondo may want to reconsider these statements. Last week, the New York Times revealed new details about the Chinese state’s mass internment of Uighur Muslims in the western province of Xinjiang. Over the last three years, an estimated one million people have been detained in prison camps, where they are subjected to “reeducation” and urged to abjure Islam. Documents leaked to the Times showed that this campaign of repression was organized after President Xi Jinping urged party leaders to show “absolutely no mercy” and to employ the “organs of dictatorship.”

The system by which detainees are selected combines big data with big brother. As the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists put it, “Chinese police are guided by a massive data collection and analysis system that uses artificial intelligence to select entire categories of Xinjiang residents for detention.”

Of course, the existence of such camps – among many other abuses — had already been reported when Sanchez Sorondo made his statement. At the time, Bernardo Cervellera, a China expert and head of the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions’ news service, proposed that the bishop “read the daily news tracking violence, arrests of Christians, Muslims, Buddhists….”

The above comes from a Nov. 26 posting in First Things.