Religious persecution and issues – Bimonthly digest February 16-29



28.02.2024 – Najaying Mosque in Yunnan, others, fully “sinicized”.


Bitter Winter – On June 1 and 28, 2023, Bitter Winter reported on protests over the “Sinicization” of the Najiaying Mosque in Yunnan, which led to a temporary suspension of the project that later, however, started again.


The protests notwithstanding, the “Sinicization” has now been completed. The original mosque had four minarets and one dome. They have been replaced by Chinese pagoda-style semi-towers. The fact that the mosque was listed as a protected cultural relic was ignored.Slogans such as “Listen to the Party,” “Thank the Party for its Gratitude,” and “Follow the Party” were also depicted at the entrance of the mosque.

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21.02.2024 – Mosque in China remodeled with pagodas, communist slogans.


Ucanews – The authorities in a Muslim-majority town in southwest China have revamped a popular mosque with Chinese-style pagodas and billboards praising the Communist Party despite strong opposition from local Muslims, says a report.


The government team demolished the dome and minarets of the historic Najiaying Mosque at Nagu town in Yunnan province last May, triggering clashes between local residents and police, Radio Free Asia (RFA) reported on Feb. 21.


Dozens of residents were arrested following the clashes.

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22.02.2024 – The Holy See has established the Catholic diocese of Weifang in Shandong province.


China Aid – On January 29, Pope Francis abolished an apostolic prefecture in mainland China and established the Diocese of Weifang. The consecration ceremony for the newly appointed bishop of the diocese, Father Anthony Sun Wenjun, took place on January 29. This comes just five days after the consecration of Bishop Wang Yuesheng on January 25, marking another bishop appointment approved by the Vatican and consecrated in China.


On January 29, Father Anthony Sun Wenjun, 53 years of age, was consecrated as the Bishop of Weifang City in Shandong Province. The ceremony took place at a Church in Yidu County, Qingzhou, Shandong.

According to the government-approved Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association, Bishop John Fang Xingyao, the honorary chairman of the association and the Bishop of Linyi Diocese, presided over the ceremony in Qingzhou. Co-consecrators included Bishop Joseph Yang Yongqiang of Zhoucun and Bishop Joseph Zhang Xianwang of Jinan. Over 300 people attended the consecration Mass, including 44 priests.

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21.02.2024 – The Catholic Church in China, AD 2024: A tale of two sinicizations and two dragons.

Bitter Winter – The traditional Chinese calendar—a lunisolar calendar combining solar, lunar, and other cycles—marks 2024 as the Year of The Dragon, the fifth of the 12-year cycle of animals of the Chinese zodiac. Each year of that calendar is cyclically associated with one of the five agents constituting “Wuxing” in Chinese philosophy. 2024 is the year of Wood Dragon and connects these ancient Taoist concept with today Chinese Catholicism’s struggle to resist the persecution by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). 2024 marks in fact the centennial of the first meeting of all the bishops of China in the Council of Shangai (May 15­–June 12, 1924) and will see the Vatican-China Deal of 2018, subsequently renovated in 2020 and 2022, becoming permanent or being definitively abandoned.

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27.02.2024 – Protest against dam Project in Sichuan leads to mass arrests of monks, villagers.

Bitter Winter –  On February 19, “Bitter Winter” was among the first media outlets to report about the unprecedented protests in Derge (Ch. Gengqing), the county seat of Dêgê County, in the Garzê Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, a part of Kham, one of the areas of historical Tibet that the Chinese did not include in the so-called Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) but added to another province, in this case Sichuan.


Tibetans in the county are protesting the constructions of the Gangtuo Power Plant as part of a 25-dams system on the Drichu (Ch. Jingsa) River, i.e., the upper stretches of the Yangtze River. Several other media picked up the news.

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27.02.2024 – Mass detention of Tibetans trying to save monasteries.


Csw – The Chinese government has reportedly detained more than 1,000 Tibetans amidst protests over a dam project that would force two villages to relocate and destroy six Buddhist monasteries in southwestern China’s Sichuan Province.

According to Radio Free Asia, police have detained more than 1,000 Tibetans since 22 February, including monks and local residents, who peacefully protested the dam construction or called for the release of the detained Tibetans. They were held in various locations in Dege county in Kardze Tibetan Prefecture.

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Falun Gong


27.02.2024 – 70-year-old Ningxia woman detained again for practicing Falun Gong.

Minghui –  A 70-year-old resident of Yinchuan City, Ningxia Autonomous Region was arrested on February 21, 2024 for her faith in Falun Gong.

Ms. Xin Linyuan is currently held at the Dawukou District Detention Center in Shizuishan City, which is also in Ningxia and borders Yinchuan City.

The latest arrest of Ms. Xin, a former accountant at the Ningguang Electrical Co., Ltd., was triggered by her prior arrest on May 15, 2022. Officer Liu from the Dawukou District Domestic Security Office led several agents and raided her home that day.

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24.02.2024 – Yilan County, Heilongjiang Province: Four arrested two days before Chinese New Year, three still detained.


Minghui – Four residents of Yilan County, Heilongjiang Province were arrested at a home on February 8, 2024, two days before the Chinese new Year, for practicing Falun Gong.


The arresting officers from the Yilan County Domestic Security Office, the Guanyue Police Station, and the Dongcheng Police Station raided all four practitioners’ homes. They released Mr. Wang Fuyou, 82, later that day, but kept Ms. Fu Guiqin, 73, Ms. Wang Yumei, 60, and Ms. Gao Jing in detention. It’s unclear where the three women are being held.

Ms. Fu and Ms. Wang were targeted previously for practicing Falun Gong.

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23.02.2024 – Wuhan authorities conducted a specialized inspection of churches for illegal religious publications.


China Aid –  In a major city in China, the government-approved Committee of the Three-Self Patriotic Movement of the Protestant Churches in China and the China Christian Council, referred to as the “Two organizations of Christianity/Lianghui”, recently conducted a strict inspection of religious-related publications. A city-wide inspection of religious publications in churches has been conducted, and churches were prohibited from possessing “unofficial versions” of religious literature. It was stated that this action is done to ensure “ideological security.”


Members of the inspection team went deep into various churches and major venues for religious activities in the city to gain a detailed understanding of the channels for the obtainment and sales of religious publications at each venue, and to focus on checking whether there were unauthorized printing of books, newspapers, and internal informational publications, and whether there were cases of possession, retention, dissemination, or use of illegal publications. Additionally, they conducted propaganda on relevant laws, regulations, and policies.

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23.02.2024 – Lawyer Yu Wensheng and his wife Xu Yan have been transferred to Jiangsu province for detention.


China Aid – Human rights lawyer Yu Wensheng and his wife Xu Yan have been detained for nearly ten months on charges. In an unusual occurrence, it has been confirmed that they have recently been transferred from Beijing to Suzhou for detention. Their case has been transferred to Suzhou for review and prosecution.


Human rights lawyer Yu Wensheng and his wife Xu Yan had been living in Beijing before their arrest, and they hold hukou, or household registration, in Beijing. In April of last year, the couple was invited to meet with the EU Delegation to China. On their way there, they were intercepted and summoned by the public security officers. Subsequently, they were criminally detained by the Shijingshan Branch of the Beijing Municipal Public Security Bureau on suspicion of “picking quarrels and provoking trouble.” Later, both of them were additionally charged with “inciting subversion of state power” and have been held in custody at the detention center in the same district since then.

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19.02.2024 – Authorities prevent family members from visiting Xu Zhiyong in prison.


China Aid – Xu Zhiyong, a prominent human rights defender who was heavily sentenced by the Chinese government to 14 years in prison, has been transferred to Lunan Prison in Rizhao City, Shandong Province, to serve his sentence after a second trial. He has been in prison for nearly two months, but his family has not been allowed to meet with him.


In a case similar to that of Xu Zhiyong, Sophie Luo Shengchun, wife of human rights lawyer Ding Jiaxi, revealed Xu’s recent situation on social media platform X on the 23rd. Dr. Xu Zhiyong, who received a heavy sentence of 12 years, has been in Shandong’s Lunan Prison for nearly two months.

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15.02.2024 – Chen Yueli arrested for printing children’s Sunday school materials

China Aid –  Hong Kong Christian Chen Yueli, whose English name is Stephen, who was involved in the printing of children’s Sunday school materials, was taken away by the police on December 19, 2023, when he entered China through the Shenzhen West Kowloon Customs. At least 8 other Christians were arrested with him. Currently, Chen Yueli has been formally arrested and is charged with “illegal business operations.” He is being held in the Chibi Detention Center in Chibi City, Hubei Province. Despite multiple attempts to visit him, his lawyer has been unable to meet with him. His family is very worried about his condition and health.

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