Religious Persecution In China

            The Chinese Communist Party does not tolerate religion. Due to its Marxist sympathies the Party simply eradicates those religious institutions that do not support its Communist agenda. Only those religious groups that support the Chinese Communist Party are allowed to exist. These institutions are made up of “puppet” religious leaders that promote the Communist Party. Religious leaders who do not follow the Chinese Communist Party are imprisoned or sent to labor camps. Christians, Buddhists, and Muslims are all persecuted. The US State Department has studied the issue and stated the following in their 1998 human rights report on the People’s Republic of China:

Unapproved religious groups, including Protestant and Catholic groups, continued to experience varying degrees of official interference and repression. The Government continued to enforce 1994 State Council regulations requiring all places of religious activity to register with the Government and come under the supervision of official, "patriotic" religious organizations. There were significant differences from region to region, and even locality to locality, in the attitudes of government officials toward religion. In some areas, authorities guided by national policy made strong efforts to control the activities of unapproved Catholic and Protestant churches; religious services were broken up and church leaders or adherents were detained and, at times, reportedly beaten. At year's end, some remained in prison because of their religious activities. Citizens worshiping in officially sanctioned churches, mosques, and temples reported little or no day-to-day interference by the Government. The number of religious adherents in many churches, both registered and unregistered, continued to grow at a rapid pace. In Tibet the reeducation campaign aimed at monks and nuns was renewed, as was a rhetorical campaign against the Dalai Lama. (State Department 1)

            In particular, Christian groups have been severely persecuted. Catholic missionaries are treated terribly by Chinese officials. The Chinese send many defiant religious leaders to labor camps. Devout Christians are often persecuted in a land where atheism is forced upon the people. The Chinese are ruthless in their continuing efforts to stamp out Christianity.

 Free the Fathers, an organization founded to help imprisoned and fugitive Christian leaders, says ths about Chinese religious persecution:

Over 200 Priests are still in prison in China today. Some are in forced labor camps, where they quarry rock, clear land, or labor in rice paddies. The Chinese Authorities are known to use hideous tortures on their Priest prisoners. Some have been punished by being kept in handcuffs 24 hours a day. Protestants are also persecuted. Thousands of "House Church" members, mainly Baptists, Presbyterians, and Pentecostals, have been arrested and sent to labor camps.(“Facts About Free the Fathers”)


Recently China has begun to destroy temples and many places of worship. The use of tanks and combat troops to destroy religious centers is not uncommon. The number of temples that have been destroyed is astonishing. The Chinese even destroyed churches during the Christmas season. According to articles on Frank Lu’s website

China is demolishing hundreds of churches and temples as it cracks down on unauthorized worship in a southeastern coastal area known for its flourishing religious life, officials said Wednesday. A Hong Kong human rights group put the number of destroyed buildings much higher, at 1,200. The Information Center for Human Rights and Democracy said the buildings, some more than a century old, were being dynamited. Authorities in eastern China have demolished a 100-year-old temple as part of a campaign that has led to the destruction or closure of up to 1,200 places of worship, officials said Wednesday. The United States said Thursday it was "appalled" after it was reported that China had closed and even blown up a string of unauthorized temples and churches on the eve of the Christmas season.( “China Blows Up Churches and Temples in Religious Crackdown”)

            In China the crackdown on religious institutions is extremely brutal. People are sentenced to prison for the sole reason of worshiping something other than the Chinese Communist Party. Those Chinese that are arrested because of their religious beliefs are beaten, tortured, and killed by Chinese Police. Here are some shocking stories from various articles on Frank Lu’s Website.

A member of an underground Protestant church has died after being beaten up in prison, a rights group said. Police detained Liu Haitong in a raid on a private home serving as an underground church in Jiaozuo city, Henan province, on September 4, the Hong Kong-based Information Centre for Human Rights and Democracy said yesterday. Beaten by police and left weakened by the prison's inadequate food and poor hygiene, he began vomiting and developed a high fever, the centre said. It reported that the 19-year-old died in the county jail on Monday after police refused to provide medical care.(“Protestant Dies after Jail Beating”)


Jiang Mingyuan, a bishop from Henan who was ordained but not by official religious bodies, was detained in the crackdown on the underground Catholic Church in late August. About 85 Henan Christians were charged under "evil cult" legislation last month. The crackdown is expected to intensify, according to the human rights center. A Hong-Kong based human rights group said today that China has indicted 85 members of a Christian sect, the China Fang-Cheng Church, in a follow-up to the recent detention of 130 of its members and the expulsion of three American missionaries. (“China Expands Crackdown on Organizations Not Recognized by the State”)



Works Cited


Free the Fathers.

Lu, Frank. “China Blows Up Churches and Temples in Religious Crackdown.” 12 December, 2000.

Lu, Frank. “China Expands Crackdown on Religious Not Recognized by State” by Pomfret Washington Post Foreign Service  5 September 2000.      

Lu, Frank. “Protestant dies after jail beating” October 20, 2000.


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