In early 2019, Chinese authorities have broken up Christian funerals and weddings in Henan province, says Bitter Winter, an online magazine that documents human rights abuses in China. Worshipers are threatened with jail and investigation. Some are arrested.
The U.S. Department of State has designated China as a “Country of Particular Concern” since 1999 for severe violations of religious freedom.
According to the 2018 International Religious Freedom Report from the U.S. Department of State, the Chinese government requires Christian churches to install surveillance cameras, so that the police can monitor activities daily, and compels Christians to sign documents renouncing their Christian faith. U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo described China’s actions as “heinous.”
Restrictions on religion growing worse
China also wants informers. The South China Morning Post reported in March 2019 that Guangzhou city officials have began offering $1,500 cash rewards for information on religious gatherings.
China is among the top 10 countries with the most restrictive laws and policies toward religious freedom, a 2019 Pew Research Center report finds. In the Communist Party of China’s ongoing campaign to Sinicize religion (make it more Han Chinese), Christians, Uighur and Hui Muslims, Tibetan Buddhists, and Falun Gong are particular targets of harassment.
“Religious persecution is a defining challenge of the 21st century, and the United States will proudly lead the charge to protect religious freedom wherever it is under attack,” U.S. Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom Sam Brownback said in written testimony in June.