CHINA – Report: Religious Suppression in China

International Christian Concern | July 23, 2020

This report seeks to provide an overview of religious persecution against Chinese Christians in recent years. With this report, we hope to piece together the various facets of Christian persecution in China and paint a holistic picture by presenting an in-depth legal analysis of Chinese laws related to religion, the Sinicization campaign, a case study of recent major persecution cases coupled with an incident report summary, and policy recommendations.

The report first addresses the legal structure employed by the Chinese government to monitor and constrict religious affairs. Delving into the problematic nature of these regulations, the report will detail the 2018 revised Regulations on Religious Affairs—an act that few have pointed out as unconstitutional and unlawful as an administrative decree—and will identify the government agencies who have benefited from such laws.

Coined by Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2015, the term “Sinicization” has become a common theme used to restrict religions that are considered foreign, especially through the use of heavily-restricted state-sanctioned religious organizations. The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) attempts to assimilate religious minorities, chiefly Christians, into an identity more consistent with Chinese characteristics, while altering their theology to conform to CCP values.

Beijing and other local governments have evolved in their crackdown against churches throughout China. This report notes CCP tactics and standard procedures by diving into several major case studies, including an intensified clampdown in the Henan province, Shouwang Church, Zion Church in Beijing, and Early Rain Covenant Church in Sichuan.

Along with this report, ICC has also compiled a separate incident dossier, documenting how the CCP targets Christians through its legal framework, Sinicization, closure or demolition of churches or places of worship, arresting of Christians, and social pressure. The dossier is available upon request, though we have included the key findings in this report. An interactive map has also been created to illustrate the scope of Christian persecution in China.

Lastly, the abuser of religious freedom should not go unnoticed and unpunished. With specific recommendations, ICC hopes to work with policy makers throughout the U.S. government and the cohort of religious freedom advocates to advance religious freedom for Chinese Christians.