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New laws tighten China’s
grip on the church
China is cracking down on the Church in new measures designed to
control religious groups and limit their freedom, which came into effect
on September 1.
The new rules, announced by the State Administration for Religious Affairs, are
intended to limit all religious activities to official venues only and prevent the
display of religious symbols outdoors.
All religious activity will have to be supervised by the state to make sure
churches and places of worship support the leadership of the Chinese
Communist Party (CCP).
Our partners say the Government is working to bring all aspects of religion
under the control of the CCP, which is officially atheist.
They say the new measures will severely restrict setting up new state-
controlled churches and further regulate the way churches are managed.
They warn the measures ‘amount to a complete ban on religious activities’ and
are an attempt to suffocate the burgeoning unofficial church, which is made up
of Christians who have been driven underground to seek freedom of worship.
The Measures on the Administration of Religious Activity Venues demand that
all religious activity must uphold the leadership of the CCP, the socialist system,
and adhere to China’s policy of Sinicization.
The aim of Sinicization is to make China more Chinese in the eyes of the CCP, by
removing symbols of religion including Christianity.
In recent years, more than 1,500 crosses have been torn down from authorised
churches in Zhejiang province alone. Our partners report that a fresh wave of
cross demolitions is set to begin.
fear reprisals
for seeking
Churches in Kyrgyzstan are
still struggling to gain state
registration or are afraid of state
reprisals if they seek registration.
Against international human
rights law, the regime’s laws state
that religious communities are
illegal and cannot operate unless
they have state permission to
Protestant leaders, who asked
to remain anonymous for fear of
state reprisals, told Forum 18 that
many smaller churches have not
sought state registration as they
are ‘afraid of state reprisals for
themselves as communities as
well as their members’. They fear
that if regime agencies are given
– as is required – the personal
details of 200 founders this will
lead to state surveillance of their
private lives, and possible later
targeting by the regime.
Some churches have not applied
for registration on principle, as
they consider this will lead to
state interference. Other smaller
churches have not applied as they
do not have the 200 founders
required by the Religion Law.
Fears of state reprisals have
grown since 2019.
(Source: Forum 18)
Christian leaders demand Jaranwala inquiry
Church and civil rights leaders in Pakistan are demanding an investigation into anti-
Christian rioting in Jaranwala amid illegal arrests of local believers and a police claim
of a ‘foreign conspiracy’ to create religious strife, sources said.
Violent mobs incited by hardline Islamist party Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan attacked
churches and homes of Christian residents in Jaranwala near Faisalabad after two
Christian brothers were accused of blasphemy on August 16. Numerous churches
were set on fire, while Christian homes and businesses were ransacked for hours
while police were silent spectators.
Punjab Police Inspector-General Usman Anwar said at a press conference that
the riots in Jaranwala and desecration of the Koran in Sargodha on August 19-20
were evidence of a conspiracy by officials in India to detract from that country’s
mistreatment of Christians. His claim was dismissed as ‘ludicrous’ by Church of
Pakistan President Bishop Azad Marshall, who told Morning Star News: ‘Instead of
investigating the underlying reasons of such attacks and addressing the root cause, ie,
misuse of the harsh blasphemy laws, the police are arresting and harassing innocent
Christians and trying to cover up the truth behind the violent attacks in Jaranwala by
blaming foreign intelligence.’
(Source: Morning Star News) Christian community devastated, page 12
In recent years, more than 1,500 crosses have been torn down from authorised churches in
one province alone. A fresh wave of cross demolitions is set to begin

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