Are the Christians of China next on the list for “re-education”?
In April 2021, Radio Free Asia reported that “Chinese authorities are detaining Christians in secret and mobile ‘transformation’ facilities to make them renounce their faith.” According to this report, “A member of a Christian ‘house church’ in southwest Sichuan Province … said he was being held in a facility run by the United Front Labor Department of the Communist Party of China. (CCP) in power, working in tandem with the state security police, for 10 months after a raid on its church in 2018. It was a mobile installation, which could simply set up in a basement somewhere. go. It was made up of people from several different government departments. ”
The man explained that “he was held in a windowless room for almost 10 months, during which time he was beaten, verbally insulted and ‘mentally tortured’ by staff, eventually resorting to self-harm. throwing himself against a wall. ” He added, “They use really sneaky methods. They threaten you, insult you and intimidate you. These methods appear to be similar to the treatment described by Uyghurs detained in Xinjiang concentration camps, a treatment Beijing continues to strongly object to.
While the allegations have yet to be investigated, they add to growing evidence of the deterioration in the treatment of religious groups in China. Recent reports suggest that Uyghurs have been victims of murder, torture and abuse, rape and sexual violence, forced labor, forced abortions, forced sterilizations and more. Other reports suggest that Falun Gong practitioners are subjected to forced organ harvesting. Christians are subjected to various methods of discrimination and persecution in China. Christians often complain about church closings, bans on the sale of Bibles online, the removal of crosses, and the arrest of priests and worshipers. Reports also suggest that there are plans to “contextualize” the Bible to make it more “culturally acceptable” and for Christian preaching to be adapted to include core values of socialism.
On January 13, 2021, Open Doors, an international NGO that advocates for persecuted Christians, released its annual World Watch List which assesses 50 countries where Christians face the most severe types of persecution. According to their assessment, China entered the top 20 for the first time in a decade, due to continued and growing surveillance and censorship of Christians and other religious minorities. As they reported, “the church’s ‘sinization’ policy has been implemented across the country, [CCP] limits anything he perceives as a threat to his rule and ideology. Thousands of churches have been damaged or closed. In some parts of China, children under the age of 18 are not allowed to attend church, part of the country’s efforts to curb future growth. While China is ranked 17th, as a country where Christians are subjected to high levels of persecution, the situation of all religious groups in China is dire and has deteriorated in recent years.
In May 2021, media reported that Chinese authorities had “suppressed the public accounts of Bible Apps and Christian WeChat as new, severely restrictive administrative measures concerning religious personnel took effect on Saturday.” According to some sources, “Bibles on paper are no longer available for sale online either.”
Furthermore, as the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) identified in its 2021 report: “Despite the Vatican-China agreement on the appointment of bishops, Chinese authorities have continued to harass, detain and torture underground Catholic bishops, such as Cui Tai and Huang Jintong – who refuse to join the state-backed Catholic association. They have also harassed, detained, arrested and jailed members of Protestant house churches who refuse to join the state-sanctioned three-person patriotic movement. They further added that “the government has also continued to demolish the buildings of Catholic and Protestant churches and crosses as part of its campaign to ‘sinise religion’. “
Given the current persecution trends of religious groups in China, China is expected to soon top the Open Doors rankings and compete with North Korea as the worst place to live as a Christian. The same goes for other religious groups. Further restrictions on the right to freedom of religion or belief, in all their forms and forms, are expected.