Religious persecution and issues – Bimonthly digest September 16-30




20.09.2023 – Tech companies in China leverage censorship against religious content

voanews – New measures handed down by the Chinese Communist Party that it says will strengthen the regulation and management of religious venues appear to be further restrictions on religious freedom and go into effect Friday.

The Administrative Measures for Religious Activity Venues requires religious venues to “support the leadership of the CCP, support the socialist system, and thoroughly implement Xi Jinping’s new era of socialism with Chinese characteristics.”

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28.09.2023 – The false Panchen Lama tells Tibetans to obey Xi Jinping unconditionally

Bitter Winter – His “religious” message centers on establishing the guiding role of President Xi and his ideology. Tibetans know who he is. It is time to unmask him abroad as well.

Sometimes, a picture is worth a thousand words. When we look at the picture above, we are immediately impressed by the red flags and the giant portrait of Xi Jinping. This is absolutely normal at all events organized by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). What is less normal is the presence of Tibetan monks. And the man presiding over the meeting is the false Panchen Lama.

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21.09.2023 – 6 facts about Buddhism in China

Pewresearch – Buddhism originated around the fifth century B.C.E. in India, but today, more Buddhists live in China than India. Han Buddhism, the dominant branch of Buddhism in China, has blended with local belief systems including Taoism and Confucianism over the centuries and is now viewed as part of traditional Chinese culture.

Here are six facts about Buddhism in China, based on Pew Research Center’s recent report, “Measuring Religion in China.” The report analyzes surveys conducted by academic groups in China and Chinese government data on registered Buddhist temples.

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20.09.2023 – China’s strange battle against Buddhists releasing mineral water into rivers

Bitter Winter – Believers have released fish for making merit for centuries. The CCP is now campaigning against the alleged release of mineral water. Why?

Hong Kong pro-CCP media and netizens are consistently ridiculing Buddhist believers in mainland China who allegedly practice life release by emptying bottles of mineral water into rivers. It seems that the campaign was started in Guangdong, where photographs were taken by hostile observers and posted on Chinese social media.

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29.09.2023 – New Hong Kong cardinal says Vatican’s China policy ‘not naïve’

Cruxnow – Cardinal-designate Stephen Chow of Hong Kong, who will receive his red hat from Pope Francis Saturday, has voiced his belief that the Vatican’s approach to dialogue with China is working, and that perceptions it is naïve are wrong.

Chow also said he is happy that two bishops from mainland China will participate in the upcoming Synod of Bishops on Synodality, and sees it as progress in terms of Vatican-China relations.

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25.09.2023 – All roads lead to Rome: Two “official” Chinese bishops will attend the Catholic Synod

Bitter Winter – It was a twisted path that led to the inclusion of Bishops Yang Yongqiang of Zhouchun and Yao Shun of Jining in the (second) list of Synod members.

The Catholic Church will celebrate what many regard as its most important Synod of Bishops ever starting October 4, where prelates from all over the world will discus the synodal nature of the Church and the relationships between the local churches and the Vatican.

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Falun Gong

27.09.2023 – Married couple jailed for their faith, husband denied family visits

Minghui – A married couple in Benxi City, Liaoning Province were both sentenced to three years for practicing Falun Gong. The husband has been denied family visits since his arrest.

Ms. Ren Guifen and her husband Mr. Li Hongjun, both 60, were arrested on December 8, 2021. Ms. Ren stood trial on June 22, 2022 and months later was sentenced to three years. It’s unclear when Mr. Li was tried but he was also sentenced to three years around the same time.

Ms. Ren was admitted to the Liaoning Province Women’s Prison on November 2, 2022. The authorities never notified her family of her husband’s whereabouts since his arrest. It took the family a lot of effort to finally find out that he had been taken to the Shenyang City First Prison. They went to the prison numerous times but were denied visits with him each time. Mr. Li was finally allowed to phone his loved ones in late August 2023 but he is still denied family visits as of now.

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24.09.2023 – Jiamusi City, Heilongjiang Province: Ten Falun Gong practitioners and two family members arrested in 24 hours

At least ten Falun Gong practitioners and two of their family members, all from Jiamusi City, Heilongjiang Province, were arrested between the evening of September 14, 2023 and the next morning. Below are the details.

Arrested on the Evening of September 14, 2023

Zhou Wei, the chief of Songlin Police Station, and three other officers showed up at 51-year-old Ms. Dong Min’s home on the evening of September 14, 2023. After she opened the door, they went in and raided her place. Her Falun Gong books were confiscated. Zhou lied to Ms. Dong’s family that they would take her to the police station to sign a document and then let her go home. But as soon as they arrived at the police station, Zhou produced a 15-day detention notice and took her to the Jiamusi Lockup.

Two other practitioners who were arrested on the evening of September 14, 2023 were Mr. Xu Chuan (also known as Xu Wei), in his 40s, and Mr. Ren Changbin in his 60s.

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22.09.2023 – 66-Year-Old Shaanxi man gets 4 years for his faith in Falun Gong, distraught parents die two months apart

Minghui – A 66-year-old resident of Xi’an City, Shaanxi Province was sentenced to four years and fined 10,000 yuan on September 11, 2023 for practicing Falun Gong.

Mr. Miao was arrested on May 10, 2022 and appeared in court on March 23, 2023. According to legal experts, it took the trial court until September 2023 to issue a guilty verdict possibly because they had to consult with the provincial high court, as neither them nor the appeals court had any say in Falun Gong cases.

Mr. Miao’s parents, who had relied on him for care, were so distraught about his arrest that they died one after the other. His mother passed away on March 13, 2023 and his father on May 22, 2023. He was not allowed to see them before their passing or attend their funerals.

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21.09.2023 – China Promotes a “Confucianized” Approach to the Holy Quran

Bitter Winter – Hailing the 17th-century Jinling School hides another attempt to create an Islam subservient to the Communist Party.

On September 6, Yang Faming, the president of China Islamic Association, attended the 3rd Jiangsu Provincial Forum on Adhering to the Sinicization of Islam held in Nanjing, and delivered a speech. Yang also visited the Jingjue Mosque in Nanjing, accompanied by Mi Qizhi, who is vice president of China Islamic Association and president of Jiangsu Islamic Association.

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18.09.2023 – Gansu: World-famous Xiguan mosque is also “sinicized”

Bitter Winter – It is the last Muslim great place of worship vandalized by the CCP. It delayed doing so for three years fearing international protests—but the work has now started.

Bitter Winter has reported in the last few months on the campaign to “Sinicize” Hui Muslim mosques throughout China. Venerable buildings have been vandalized to remove “Arabic” architectural elements and replace them with “Chinese” ones. In other words, the CCP wants that a mosque would not look like a mosque.

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28.09.2023 – ‘Big sister’ of human rights in China suffers in illegal detention

ChinaAid – The Chinese Communist government is leveraging major technology companies to exercise its internet censorship authority. It introduced the latest stringent control measures to restrict religious groups and individuals from posting religious content on social platforms like WeChat public accounts. Religious-related content can only be published if the entity or individual holds an “Internet Religious Information Service License.”

According to the “Administrative Measures for Internet Religious Information Services,” accounts disseminating religious information to the public through the internet are required to possess a valid “Internet Religious Information Service License.”

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28.09.2023 – Christains evicted after their house church is banned

ChinaAid – Leaders and members of Guangzhou Huajing Christian Church have been forced to move. Some were evicted after just arriving in the area. Officials also installed security cameras outside some of the homes.

The house church in question was established in 2000 with Senior Pastor Cao Wen. Authorities persecuted Guangzhou Huajing Christian Church numerous times over the past 20 years. For example, in June 2015, authorities ordered them to close their venue because they partook in “illegal religious activities.” Church materials were confiscated, and they were forced to move from venue to venue. Similarly, another location received another notice in January of 2019.

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21.09.2023 – Chinese Christian woman arrested for street evangelism

ChinaAid – Daoen Presbyterian Church revealed that police summoned Ms. Yan, a church co-worker. She was evangelizing in the street, which led to questioning and a five-day administrative detention. Authorities charged Yan with “organizing events in the name of a banned organization”.

Daoen Presbyterian Church is a reformed church, established in 1992. In September 2018, the local government shut it down because they refused to join the Three-Self Patriotic Movement. The leaders would also refuse to register with the Bureau of Ethnic and Religious Affairs. Daoen Presbyterian continued to gather secretly, but police raided them after discovering their activities.

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