Persecution against Christians, Muslims, and other religious groups in communist China has escalated as Communist Party leader Xi Jinping’s atheist regime attempts to crack down on religion in the country, a top official from a U.S. religious freedom panel and a human rights lawyer revealed.
Bob Fu, the founder and president of the U.S.-based Christian human rights group China Aid, and Kristina Arriaga, the vice chairwoman of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), indicated that China’s oppressive tactics employed against Christians have intensified in recent years.
Their comments came in response to a question on the state of “Christianity in China” posed during a discussion on religious oppression sponsored by the Heritage Foundation.
“A lot of things have happened in the last few months that are very troubling for the future of Christianity in China. The situation for Christians there is dire. One thing we know for sure is that the persecution against Christians has doubled in intensity,” Arriaga said.
Earlier, she noted that communist authorities recently demolished the “Golden Lampstand Church” in addition to taking down crosses and religious iconography from various other worshiping centers.
Echoing Arriaga, human rights lawyer Fu said the number of persecuted Christians in China has “dramatically increased” over the last year.
“The number of people we documented who are persecuted among just Christians alone last year reached 223,000 compared to these 48,000 in 2016,” the human rights lawyer explained, adding:
“When the communist party took power the number of Christians was estimated to be about less than 1 million in 1949, but now according to the Purdue University sociologist research, the number of Chinese Christians already reached over 100 million. They projected that by 2030 the number of Christians would reach at least 224 million. So it is a staggering development.”
Fu noted that persecution has only fueled the growth of Christianity in China to the dismay of Xi. “Apparently the persecution will only help accelerate the growth,” he proclaimed, noting that even the number of Christians “who worship at the government churches had dramatically increased.”
“You can see that Xi has particular animosity against Christianity in particular,” Fu said, acknowledging that the communist regime has identified “underground churches” as a “severe national security threat,” along with political dissidents and human rights lawyers.
Fu is a Christian refugee himself who fled China after Beijing imprisoned him and his wife for two months for “illegal evangelism” in 1996.
Holding her young child, Li Aijie, a U.S.-based Christian refugee who fled Chinese persecution, shared her ordeal, stressing that Beijing sentenced her husband to 19 years in prison for “criticizing” the Chinese Communist Party on social media.
Her plight highlights the Communist government’s brutal treatment of Christians and other faith adherents who refuse to conform to the party’s atheist views.
The human rights lawyer noted that China had expanded its surveillance tactics to monitor all religious Chinese, particular Muslim Uyghurs in the province of Xinjiang and Christians.
Beijing has “forced” churches to install “face recognition systems,” Fu revealed. “Every church in China is forced to install face recognition systems and every church building is forced to put a sign up banning children, students, civil servants, military personnel, and communist party members from entering,” Fu noted during the discussion.
“They use the face recognition systems to record the image and try to purge the communist party member who dared enter the church,” he continued.
Consistent with the tenets of communism, China’s government prohibits employees from practicing religion.
Arriaga described the predominantly Muslim autonomous province of Xinjiang and the adjacent Tibet Autonomous Region as “police states,” noting:
“Thanks to government policy, the Tibetans and the Uighur Muslims basically live in a police state. The state not only bans the practice of religion, it’s also suppressing any cultural practice associated with religion. For instance, Tibetans, as you know, cannot study their language or their culture.”
The Xi administration is an equal-opportunity oppressor, indicated the official from the U.S. commission, explaining that “all faith adherence in China are subject to extrajudicial detention.”
“People are held against their will for months at a time without contact with their family and the outside world under horrible conditions,” she said.
Li confirmed that China is keeping her husband under deplorable conditions. While thanking U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration for granting her “refuge” in America, she asked for help in “liberating” her husband.
Arriaga acknowledged that the Trump administration is taking action to promote “religious freedom” in China.
Xi stressed at the quinquennial Communist Party conference last year “that all religions must be ‘Chinese-oriented,’ as part of his effort to ‘Sinicize religion,’ or make it more Chinese, by instilling socialist core values.”