CHINA: Special Bimonthly FORB Newsletter (01-15.10.2022)
13.10.2022 – Future of religious freedom in Xi’s unprecedented term
Xi removed the term limit for the Chinese presidency, and the upcoming 20th National People’s Congress will confirm his unprecedented third term. Considering his leadership until this point, the future of religious freedom looks bleak.
Xi started his first term with cross demolition in Zhejiang, a largely Christian province he used to oversee as a governor and party secretary. Communist Party officials fueled this campaign across the nation, calling the cross a symbol that dangered national security. They went as far as removing crosses from the fishing boats in Zhejiang, a custom for locals.
13.10.2022 – China: Online performances cannot refer to illegal religion or criticize the party
During the COVID-19 epidemic, Chinese love for concerts and live performances largely moved online. Reportedly, China is now the world leader for both productions and audiences of online shows. This did not escape the vigilant eye of the CCP, which was told by Xi Jinping time and again to increase its surveillance and control of whatever happens on the web.
On September 21, the Ministry of Culture and Tourism published a draft “Notice of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism on Regulating the Operation of Online Performances (Programs) to Promote the Healthy and Orderly Development of the Industry,” opening it for comments until October 10. The publication of drafts for comments is a purely cosmetic exercise of pseudo-democracy. Changes following the comments, if any, are never substantial.
13.10.2022 – Singer and musician among five detained for Dalai Lama song on Chinese social media
Chinese authorities detained five Tibetan men on the evening of 13 October in Golog (Ch: Guoluo) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Qinghai Province, in the Tibetan province of Amdo.
They were detained by local Chinese police in connection with a song about the Tibetan spiritual leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama, which was performed during a musical contest on the popular Chinese short-video sharing platform Kuaishou.
Among the detained are singer Derab, who performed the song, and the composer and musician of the song, who remains unidentified at the moment. Three other men who were with the unidentified composer and musician at Derab’s home were also detained.
06.10.2022 – China’s strategy for installing a Dalai Lama of its own revealed
As “Bitter Winter” has recently reported, the Dalai Lama, may announce he will not reincarnate, to save Tibetan Buddhism from the Chinese Communist Party (CCP)’s attempt to interfere with the whole reincarnation system. In fact, if the CCP succeed in its attempt, it will fundamentally twist Tibetan Buddhism and misuse religion to control the Tibetan people.
A new 30-page report on the subject confirms that possibility. It was released on October 4, 2022, at a side event of the 51st Session of the UN Human Rights Council, sponsored by the US, and co-sponsored by the UK, Canada, Czech Republic, and Lithuania. Entitled “Tibet, the Dalai Lama, and the Geopolitics of Reincarnation,” it is published by the International Tibet Network (ITN) and the Tibet Justice Center, an independent Tibet group and a member of the ITN, both coordinators of the Tibet Advocacy Coalition, which includes ITN, Students for a Free Tibet, Tibet Initiative Deutschland and Tibetan Youth Association Europe.
07.10.2022 – ‘There is no longer a safe place to be a Christian in China’ – report
The Chinese government is increasingly cracking down on state-sanctioned churches as well as underground churches, leaving no “safe place” for Christians, according to International Christian Concern.
A new report by ICC tracks persecution of Christians in China since July 2021 and records 32 cases of arrests and detainments, five raids on Christian schools, and 20 cases of the Sinicization of churches – where churches are forced to align their faith with the social and political messaging of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).
05.10.2022 – Resettling the Mayflower Church after Chinese persecution
After escalating incidences with the Chinese government and threats from the secret police, the members of the Shenzhen Holy Reformed Church voted to leave China in November 2019. The rising crackdown on house churches, the pressure to send children to state-ordained schools, and increased interrogation due to their Christian faith forced these individuals to find a place in which they would be granted the freedom to practice what they believe. They resided on Jeju Island in South Korea for nearly three years before leaving for Bangkok, Thailand.
This congregation has since been dubbed the “Mayflower Church” in memory of those pilgrims who fled England for religious freedom. Shenzhen Holy Reformed Church made the same decision to ensure they and their children could openly practice their Christian faith.
04.10.2022 – Preacher formally arrested on suspicion of ‘fraud’
Linfen Covenant House Church’s preacher Li Jie and preacher Han Xiaodong were formally arrested on suspicion of “fraud.”
On August 19 at 10 PM, 70 Christians of Linfen Covenant House Church held an outdoor family event. More than 100 police officers suddenly showed up and took them away, confiscating cell phones. Police released some of the children around 2 AM, but all adults were still detained.
Officers from the local police station searched Han Xiaodong and Li Jie’s home. On August 23, the local police station issued notices of “residential surveillance at a designated location” to Li Jie’s wife and Han Xiaodong’s wife.
Han Xiaodong was criminally detained on suspicion of “fraud” on September 2. He was detained at Yaodu District Detention Center. His wife Chen Ying received his criminal detention notice issued by the local police station on September 23.
03.10.2022 – House Church Pastor and elder arrested in Shanxi
On September 30, 2022, Pastor Li Jie and Elder Han Xiaodong of the Covenant Home Church in Linfen, Shanxi province, were formally arrested. They remain in the detention center of Yaodu district, Linfen city, waiting for trial.
Bitter Winter had reported in August that on August 19, some 70 members of the Covenant Home Church were attending a parent-children camp that was raided by armed police.
Some 170 police officers participated in the raid. Pastor Li Jie and his wife Li Shanshan, and Elder Han Xiaodong were detained and later placed under residential surveillance. Bibles, Christian books, and church documents were confiscated.
12.10.2022 – Liaoning Woman Severely Disabled after Nearly Four Years of Incarceration for Her Faith
When Ms. Zhang Guiping was finally released from prison on May 21, 2020, after serving three years and ten months for practicing Falun Gong, the Fushun City, Liaoning Province, resident was severely disabled as a result of being tortured in custody.
Some of her bones were so misshapen that muscles atrophied and her entire body was contorted. Her waist had shifted to the left and one shoulder tilted higher to the right. She could not straighten her back, which hunched more on the left. Her right buttock was bigger than the left one and her right leg was thicker than the left. She couldn’t sleep on her side, or she would have chest pain.
Because of her physical condition, she couldn’t walk long distances and had to stop and rest frequently to get anywhere.
11.10.2022 – A family that will never be reunited
Many families across China are able to enjoy holidays together, but a family of three in Dongrulai Village, Mengyin Town, Mengyin County, Shandong Province will never be reunited again to spend time together.
Because of the persecution of their shared faith in Falun Gong, the mother died at age 47 on August 19, 2015 and the father passed away six years later on June 19, 2021. He was in his 60s. Their only surviving daughter is now serving a seven-year term for upholding her faith.
08.10.2022 – Shandong man sentenced to 1.5 years for distributing information about his faith
A Linyi City, Shandong Province resident was recently sentenced to 1.5 years in prison for his faith in Falun Gong, a spiritual discipline that has been persecuted by the Chinese communist regime since 1999.
Mr. Ji Yongcheng was arrested on September 26, 2020 for distributing informational materials about Falun Gong. He was placed on residential surveillance after a day of detention. The police harassed him two times afterwards.
The police arrested Mr. Ji again on February 15, 2022 and took him to the Mengyin County Detention Center two days later. He was transferred to the Linyi City Detention Center after the Lanshan District Procuratorate approved his arrest on March 1.