The topic of religion has sparked countless debates and even fueled many wars over the centuries. Alliances were either formed or broken because of religious conflicts from one nation to another. And while this no longer comes as a surprise to many, there is no religious freedom among the many citizens of China. We all know what an authoritarian state China is. It means that the government is strict in enforcing stringent rules that most of the time does not make sense to the rest of the world.
With one of the earliest civilizations in the world, China has been through a lot over the years. These three religio-philosophical traditions have endured the most and among the most practiced by the Chinese: Confucianism, Taoism, and Buddhism. They also helped shaped the modern Chinese culture we now know. Yet despite the many changes in Chinese society and to the world at large, the Chinese government tries their best to resist these changes, so that every citizen obeys the law and they can rule the land however they please. Many cases of human rights abuse are reported and among them is the violation of the Chinese people’s freedom to religion.
President Xi Jinping’s China is becoming a more fearful place. The government has cracked down both on dissent and contact with the West. Religious persecution also is rising: the communist god that failed fears competition.
A new Freedom House report details how “the authorities have intensified many of their restrictions, resulting in an overall increase in religious persecution” since Xi took power in November 2012.
Persecution reveals a leadership which is nervous, even scared. The Chinese Communist Party is filled with ambitious time-servers, people too smart to believe Marxist and Maoist nonsense but too venal to reject the fictions by which China’s rulers justify their power.
In recent decades reforms have expanded the space for expressions of religious faith. That liberty is not easily retracted.
Explains Freedom House: “Rather than checking religion’s natural expansion and keeping it under political control, the CCP’s rigid constraints have essentially created an enormous black market, forcing many believers to operate outside the law and to view the regime as unreasonable, unjust, or illegitimate.” In turn, “believers have responded with a surprising degree of resistance, including in faith communities that have generally enjoyed cooperative relationships with state and party officials.”
Rather than respect the religious expressions of their people, the Chinese government does their best to prevent people from embracing a religion not endorsed by the government. You can even get persecuted if you become too vocal in your chosen faith. For the rest of the world, these are inhumane acts and should not be tolerated. It is why the international community is urging Chinese officials to address these abuse issues and let the majority of the Chinese enjoy the human rights they have been stripped of for so long now.
Christians are not the only ones who undergo intense persecution in China. Falun Gong practitioners, Tibetan Buddhists and the Uighur Muslims also experience “high” or “very high” levels of persecution, the report said.
While in some places in the country, Christians are able to practice their faith without fear of the authorities, there are places where religious restrictions are enforced more strictly. The degree of enforcement varies, depending on the government’s perceived threat toward an individual or a church.
Examples of persecution include banning holiday celebrations, using violence and torture and desecrating places of worship. In some instances, local authorities either illegally detain or terminate Christians.
Since 2014, the government has embarked on an intensified crackdown of Christian churches, and many have been affected by its cross removal and church demolition efforts. The government has also arrested human rights lawyers who represent persecuted Christians.
Authorities also employ “nonviolent forms of control,” such as limiting the number of new ministers and teaching twisted religious doctrines.
Nobody can really tell the Chinese what to do. Other world leaders can make a plea or encourage them to make gradual changes but it is still up to the Chinese government whether they will agree to such conditions or not. After all, much of the world’s economy relies on China. Over the past few decades, China’s economy had been on a continuous growth spurt and they are basically the ones determining how well the overall global economy performs.
And because of that, the Chinese government knows they have the upper hand and will likely resist any request from other nations to loosen their tight rein over their people or even answer the long list of human rights abuses directed at them. Not only is their repression when it comes to religion in China but on just about everything else.