CHINA: Religious persecution and issues – Bimonthly Digest April 01-15




09.04.2024 – China gives monks a list of things they can’t do after the Dalai Lama’s death

RFA – In the event of the Dalai Lama’s death, Buddhist monks are banned from displaying photos of the Tibetan spiritual leader and other “illegal religious activities and rituals,” according to a training manual Chinese authorities have distributed to monasteries in Gansu province in China’s northwest, a source inside Tibet and exiled former political prisoner Golok Jigme said.


The manual, which lists 10 rules that Buddhist clergy should follow, also forbids disrupting the process of recognizing the Dalai Lama’s reincarnation, said the source from inside Tibet who requested anonymity for safety reasons.

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09.04.2024 – Monk arrested for holding Dalai Lama’s portrait during protest

RFA – Chinese police arrested a Tibetan monk from Kirti Monastery for staging a solo protest while holding a portrait of the Dalai Lama on the streets of Ngaba county in southwest China’s Sichuan province in March, two sources from inside Tibet and one from the exile community told Radio Free Asia.


Buddhist monk Pema, who was working as a teacher for the preliminary Buddhist study section at Kirti Monastery, also shouted slogans against Chinese policies in Tibet during his protest on Pawo Road, or Martyrs’ Road, and was immediately arrested, said the sources who requested anonymity for safety reasons.


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Falun Gong


14.04.2024 – 87-year-old woman faces prison sentence for distributing informational materials about Falun Gong


Minghui – More than ten people from the Daxing District Court in Beijing descended on the home of 87-year-old Ms. Ma Xiuying on March 25, 2024, and threatened to have her sentenced to one year for her faith in Falun Gong.


Since the Chinese Communist Party began to persecute Falun Gong in 1999, Ms. Ma has been repeatedly targeted for upholding her faith. This latest episode stemmed from her arrest in August 2021 for distributing informational materials about Falun Gong at Daxingtuanhe Market. Due to her advanced age, the market’s security released her.


After that, the police and residential committee staff members frequently went to harass her, either demanding to take photos of her or ordering her to sign certain documents. The police forcibly collected a sample of her blood during one visit, threatening to take away the portrait of Falun Gong’s founder if she didn’t comply. After the police left, Ms. Ma noticed that her copy of Zhuan Falun, the main teaching of Falun Gong, was missing. She ran after the police and got it back.

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11.04.2024 – Heilongjiang woman dies over a year after serving four years for her faith

Minghui – A Harbin City, Heilongjiang Province, resident became incapacitated after serving four years for her faith in Falun Gong. After struggling with failing health for over a year, Ms. Ren Rujie passed away in early March 2024. She was 74.


Ms. Ren, a retired employee of the Tahe County Post and Telecommunications Bureau, took up Falun Gong in 1998. She thanked the practice for helping her better handle interpersonal conflicts and become more gentle.


Ms. Ren later moved to Russia with her son to do business and stopped practicing Falun Gong. In late 1999, she was found to have late-stage cancer with severe complications. The doctor predicted that she only had a few months left. With no other options, she resumed practicing Falun Gong and recovered.


In November 2000, Ms. Ren went to Beijing to appeal and was arrested. She told the police how she recovered from cancer by practicing Falun Gong. The police were touched by her story and released her.


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06.04.2024 – Three Liaoning women sentenced from 4.5 to 8 years for practicing Falun Gong

Minghui – Three Shenyang City, Liaoning Province, residents were recently sentenced to prison for practicing Falun Gong.


Ms. Yu Guichun, 72, was sentenced to eight years. Ms. Li Yongmei was given five years. Ms. Zhang Yujin, 79, a retired professor at Shenyang Ligong University, was sentenced to four and a half years.


The police revealed that they had been following the three women and monitoring their phone calls for six months before arresting them over the course of two days in September 2023.


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11.04.2024 – What Ramadan is like in Xinjiang

Economist – China’s communist party has a message for Muslim citizens. It holds their religious freedoms dear—with a special emphasis on the freedom not to believe. The right to be secular runs like a thread through religious regulations enacted this year in Xinjiang, the far-western region that is home to 12m Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities. The revised rules impose new controls on everything from religious teaching to mosque architecture, which should reflect Chinese style. The regulations talk of extremists warping minds and promoting terrorism. To prevent this, the rules state, no organisations or individual shall induce or coerce locals to believe or not believe in any religion.

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08.04.2024 – Yuxi, Yunnan: Ramadan fasting prohibited to minors and party members


Bitter Winter – “Bitter Winter” has received from Muslim believers in Yuxi, Yunnan, copy of a document issued by the Yuxi Ethnic and Religious Affairs Bureau, prohibiting CCP members and minors from fasting during current Ramadan.

The translation of the document is as follows:

“Urgent notice on the investigation of party members and minors participating in religious activities such as fasting.

Party committees and governments of each county (city, district), municipal units and relevant municipal enterprises should note:

Fasting is one of the religious practices of Islam and belongs to religious activities. At present, it is the month of Ramadan in Islam. In order to prevent Party members and minors from participating in religious activities such as fasting, the relevant matters are hereby regulated as follows:


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The Church of Almighty God


02.04.2024 – CCP launches 3-year “tough battle” against The Church of Almighty God


Bitter Winter – After a previous three-year “general battle” failed to eradicate the banned religious organization, a new plan has been set in motion in 2024.


After conducting a three-year “general battle” against The Church of Almighty God (CAG), the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) initiated another three-year “tough campaign,” aiming at “completely eradicating” the CAG. Local authorities were tasked with comprehensive investigations as a preparation for coordinated arrests.


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15.04.2024 – Sichuan’s Qiuyu Qingcaodi Church: Elders Wu Jiannan and Hao Ming sentenced to jail terms


Bitter Winter – After a persecution that started in 2018, the two elders were sentenced to three years in jail with a suspended sentence of five years.


On April 9, 2024, the Jingyang District Court of Deyang City, Sichuan, rendered its decision on the case of elders Hao Ming and Wu Jiannan of Sichuan’s Qiuyu Qingcaodi Church. Both elders were sentenced to three years in prison with a suspended sentence of five years and were fined 30,000 yuan. Elder Wu was also ordered to return the 100,130 yuan given to his family by the church.


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09.04.2024 – Pastor Zhang Sen detained for leading prayers outside the detention center


China Christian Daily – On March 28, 2024, Pastor Zhang Sen from Fuyang Maizhong Reformed Church was taken away by Quanying Police Station of Yingquan Sub-bureau and subsequently administratively detained for 15 days. The reason for the detention was that on the morning of March 24, Pastor Zhang Sen and members of his church went to the Fuyang Detention Center to welcome eight released believers who had been administratively detained for 13 days for attending Sunday gatherings, and he led prayers outside the detention center. The police accused him of “organizing illegal assembly” and subjected him to a 15-day administrative detention. Officers from the Fuyang Public Security Bureau stated their intention to crack down on Maizhong Reformed Church, saying that as long as two or three people gathered, they would be detained upon capture.


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09.04.2024 – Christians in China threatened after arrest for printing devotionals


Christian daily – Authorities in China issued threats of a long prison sentence and loss of property to Christians charged with “illegal business operations” for printing devotional materials intended only for their church, their attorney said.


Arrested and charged last year, elder Zhu Longfei, Pastor Deng Yanxiang, deacon Zhu Longjiang, deacon Wang Weicai and Zhu Qiaoling of Shengjia Church in Shunde, Guangdong Province, told their attorney in late March of the threats, according to advocacy group China Aid.


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04.04.2024 – Three Ministers from Xi’an Church of Abundance are facing up to 5 years of imprisonment


China Aid – On March 25, 2024, the Xi’an Church of Abundance issued a prayer request letter, revealing the latest development in the case involving Pastor Lian Changnian, Lian Xuliang, and Preacher Fu Juan, who were accused of “fraud.” The case entered the court at the end of January 2024, with the court’s prosecution against the three Christians the amount of ¥390,000 yuan($54,030 U.S. dollars), and the suggested sentences of 5 years.


The Xi’an Church of Abundance that Pastor Lian Changnian ministers is affiliated with the “China Gospel Fellowship,” a house church with 10,000,000 congregants originated from the Tanghe area of Henan Province. China Gospel Fellowship has developed and become a national house church system with evangelical and Pentecostal features, consisting of a few hundred pastors, and a few dozen missionary teams, so it is one of the most developed house churches in China. The China Gospel Fellowship has long faced persecution from the government, being categorized as one of the several banned cult organizations. There have been numerous large-scale arrests of pastors, co-workers, and congregants. Pastor Lian Changnian himself has been imprisoned multiple times.


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03.03.2024 – Ji Xiaolong protests at the second trial regarding the abuse he received while in custody


China Aid – Shanghai activist Ji Xiaolong was arrested for speaking out against the humanitarian disaster caused by the lockdown in Shanghai. He wrote a letter to then Shanghai Party Secretary, now Premier Li Qiang, calling for accountability from senior officials. Ji Xiaolong was sentenced to 4 years and 6 months in prison for “picking quarrels and provoking trouble,” he disagreed with the verdict of the first instance and appealed. The second trial was held on March 21 at the Shanghai Pudong People’s Court. Ji Xiaolong protested in court, claiming he had been abused during his detention.


Ji Xiaolong stated in his appeal that the Shanghai People’s Court accused him of posting or reposting false information that seriously damaged the image of the country on Twitter (X). However, the verdict did not specify the content which “damaged the image of the country.” He pointed out that the court did not find any trace of logins into Twitter (X) on his phone or computer, yet it concluded that the X account registered under his name belonged to him or was operated by him.


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