Religious issues and persecution – Bimonthly Digest June 16-30




20.06.2024 – Guangxi, propaganda against “cults and illegal religion” enters corporations


Bitter Winter – When it comes to propaganda against “illegal religion,” Chinese citizens are not even left alone in the workplace.

In Wuzhou, a prefecture-level city in Guangxi province, the Longxu District Justice Bureau introduced mandatory indoctrination against “xie jiao and illegal religion” for factory workers and employees. A pilot indoctrination workshop was conducted at Guangxi Zhaoxin Pingzhou Electronics, a large and well-known company.

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26.06.2024 – Sinicization drive pervades China’s religious repression in Tibet


Tibetan review – In the name of regulations for implementing Sinicization, China officially controls all aspects of religious life in occupied Tibet and is guilty of serious violations of human rights of believers there, according to the US State Department in its 2023 Report on International Religious Freedom which was released on Jun 26. In Particular, the report criticizes China’s ongoing campaign to Sinicize Buddhism under which much of the violations take place.


Across the People’s Republic of China (PRC), authorities continue to arrest “thousands” of people a year for practicing their faith in ways that undermine the primacy of the Chinese Communist Party, the report says.


With regard to the situation in Tibet, the reports says the “CCP [Chinese Communist Party] regulations stipulate official control of all aspects of Tibetan Buddhism, including the recognition of lamas, religious venues, groups, personnel, and schools.”


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23.06.2024 – US lawmakers meet Tibet’s Dalai Lama, pressure China on talks


Reuters – A group of U.S. lawmakers who met the Dalai Lama in India on Wednesday said they would not allow China to influence the choice of his successor, comments expected to anger Beijing, which calls the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader a separatist.


The remarks come as Washington and Beijing seek to steady rocky ties while India pushes China to secure lasting peace on their disputed Himalayan frontier, four years after a military clash strained ties.


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19.06.2024- CCP uses Lingyan Temple history to insist buddhism should be “sinicized,” too


Bitter Winter – Sinicization” is the operative word when it comes to Xi Jinping’s attitude to religion. That they like it or not, religions should be “Sinicized.” The slogan was originally applied to Protestant Christianity, Catholicism, and Islam, which certainly originated far away from China. However, recently Xi Jinping has explained that even the quintessentially Chinese Taoism, and Buddhism—which, coming to China, acquired distinctive Chinese characteristics more than 1,000 years ago—should be “Sinicized.”

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28.06.2024 – Uyghurs in China: the most heavily jailed group in the world


Bitter Winter – Uyghurs are the most heavily imprisoned people in the world according to alarming figures released by a Uyghur rights group, claiming that at least 1 in 26 of Xinjiang’s non-Han citizens have been incarcerated.


According to the Washington DC-based advocacy group, Uyghur Human Rights Project, (UHRP) 3,814 Turkic people per 100,000 were jailed in Xinjiang between 2017–2022 compared with the figure for China of 80 Han Chinese per 100,000. This dwarfs El Salvador’s hitherto notorious record of imprisoning 1,086 per 100,000 of its citizens.


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17.06.2024 – Beijing’s crackdown on islam is coming for kids


Foreign policy – On March 15, the third day of this year’s Islamic holy month of Ramadan, Muslims living in Yuxi, a city in China’s Yunnan province, woke up to an unusual message circulating on their WeChat threads. The prefectural Bureau of Ethnic and Religious Affairs had issued an “urgent public notice” authorizing surveillance of fasting among their schoolchildren.


“The Party Committee, governments, education, and sports bureaus of all levels should investigate the participation of minors in fasting and other religious activities,” the notice stated. It further required these organs to “adhere comprehensively to the principle of separation between education and religion, and strengthen the education and guidance of teachers, students, and the majority of young people.”


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Church of Almighty God


27.06.2024 – Court of Rome: Church of Almighty God members deserve the “highest form of protection” as refugees.


Bitter Winter – What is the truth about the persecution of The Church of Almighty God (CAG) and other groups labeled “xie jiao” (heterodox movements, sometimes translated as “evil cults”) in China? Chinese embassies and their fellow travelers go to great lengths to claim that persecution is an invention of American propaganda or Western scholars, criticizing in particular “Bitter Winter.” In Italy, fellow travelers of the Chinese Communist Party have even created an improbable “Observatory of Cults” website, whose articles mostly defend China and the CCP and slander their critics. The level of the texts is abysmally low; however, they are occasionally advertised on social media by anti-cult activists connected with FECRIS, the controversial European anti-cult federation, whose cooperation with China is in turn well-known. A similar role is played in South Korea by O Myung-Ok, a woman who publishes an anti-cult magazine called “Religion and Truth” and has been often accused of working with China’s intelligence services.


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Falun Gong


30.06.2024 – Once jailed for 9 years, 59-year-old Sichuan man gets another 3.5 years on fabricated evidence


Minghui – A 59-year-old resident of Chengdu City, Sichuan Province, was sentenced to three and a half years in prison with a 10,000-yuan fine on June 20, 2024, for his faith in Falun Gong.


Mr. Luo Changyong took up Falun Gong in 1996 and soon recovered from gastritis, pharyngitis, hemorrhoids, and neurasthenia. He held firm to his faith after the persecution began in 1999 and was repeatedly targeted. Prior to his latest sentence, he was given four years on January 4, 2002 and another five years on July 15, 2010. His employer, the Xindu District Rural Development Bureau Agricultural Technology Center, fired him on September 26, 2012.


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25.06.2024 – Four years after serving a wrongful prison term, Hubei Woman arrested for her faith again


Minghui – A Wuhan City, Hubei Province, resident has been detained for more than two weeks following her latest arrest for practicing Falun Gong.


Ms. Qi Ling, 66, was reported for talking to people about Falun Gong in her neighborhood on the evening of June 5, 2024. Three officers from the Guandong Police Station were staked outside of her home the next morning, in attempt to arrest her. When she didn’t step out during the day, the police broke into her place in the early evening and cut off her water and power supply. Her computer, cellphone, media player and Falun Gong books were confiscated. She has been held at the Wuhan City First Detention Center since then.


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21.06.2024 – Baoding City, Hebei Province: Five Falun Gong practitioners detained for two months and counting


Minghui – Five Baoding City, Hebei Province, residents have been detained for more than two months for their faith in Falun Gong. The practitioners are currently held at the Baoding City Detention Center. They are facing prosecution after their arrests were approved in late May.


The five residents were targeted in a police sweep on April 9, 2024. Under the directive of the Baoding City Police Department, the police in Jingxiu District and Lianchi District arrested 12 Falun Gong practitioners that day and raided their homes. Although seven practitioners were later released, five of them remain in custody, including Ms. Qin Yingli, a 60-year-old electric train worker, Ms. Zhang Ximei, 57, Ms. Li Xiaoxiao, a 54-year-old accountant, Mr. Zhi Zhanmin, 54, and Ms. Chen Jinmei, a house aide. Ms. Li’s family later revealed that she was arrested by officers of the Dongjinzhuang Village Police Station. Her Falun Gong books, several thousand yuan in cash, and two work computers and printers were confiscated.


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28.06.2024 – House churches across China face crackdowns, multiple christians detained


China Aid – According to the “China at 5 PM” Kingdom Prayer Meeting, house churches across China have recently faced crackdowns. The latest news is that eight male believers from a house church in Zhuzhou City, Hunan Province, were administratively detained for “continuing activities in the name of a banned organization.” Four were detained for 3 days, three for 5 days, and one for 10 days.


In late May, 16 local pastors from Yunnan province and 3 from Shandong province were taken away by police while meeting in Kunming. They were administratively detained for 10-15 days and have since been gradually released.


A house church led by an elderly Christian surnamed Bai in Hohhot, Inner Mongolia, has also faced a crackdown.


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26.06.2024 – Pastor Sun Hongguang detained during church service


China Aid – On June 16, 2024, Pastor Sun Hongguang of the Holy Covenant True Word Church in Yanji City, Jilin Province was taken away during Sunday worship and was later administratively detained for 5 days on the grounds of illegal gathering.


The last time Pastor Sun Hongguang was attacked was on February 12, 2023. That time was when he went to Hefei to serve a local house church. He was also taken away by the local police during Sunday worship. Although he was released later that day, his computer was confiscated and the police told him not to leave Hefei temporarily.


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24.06.2024 – Street Evangelist Chen Wensheng sentenced again

Bitter Winter – “Bitter Winter” readers are familiar with street preacher Chen Wensheng, a former drug addict who converted to Christianity and started traveling throughout China and Vietnam carrying a cross and bringing to cities and villages a powerful Christian testimony.

His cross bears slogans such as “Glory to the Savior” and “Repent and Believe to Be Saved.” He tells to whomever would listen the story of how he was saved from drug addiction through the power of the Gospel. Born on April 30, 1969, in Shigu District, Hengyang City, Hunan Province, he took his message as far away as Tibet.


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