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03/31/2020 China (International Christian Concern) – On March 30, the UK-based human rights group Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) published a report on China, highlighting vulnerable religious communities in the communist country, including Christians, Uyghurs, and Tibetans.

The report, entitled ‘Repressed, Removed, Re-Educated: The stranglehold on religious life in China,’ contends that the level of freedom of religion or belief in China is rapidly and significantly decreasing. It draws attention to violations against religion or belief communities across the country. The report also outlines government oppression of human rights lawyers and activists who defend religious freedom.

How the 2018 revised Regulations on Religious Affairs have been used by Beijing as the legal means to persecute religious groups, the Sinicization campaign of religions to make them fit for the Chinese Communist Party, and the secret deal with the Vatican jeopardizing the fate of underground Catholics, are also featured in the report.

Christians such as pastor Yang Hua from the Huoshi (Livingstone) church, imprisoned human rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng, and Early Rain Covenant Church in Sichuan, along with the challenges they face, are part of the report to highlight individual stories.

CSW’s East Asia Team Leader Benedict Rogers said, “In releasing this report, we want to stand with religious communities suffering violations against their right to freedom of religion or belief in China. This report is based on their stories, their struggles, and their suffering. We will continue to call on the Chinese authorities to uphold the right to freedom of religion or belief for all people in China, and to cease their campaign of harassment against human rights defenders, until we see real and lasting change in the country.”

Benedict Rogers added, “This report does not seek to provide a simple answer to address the challenges religious communities in China are facing – there are no simple answers. However, CSW remains committed to supporting these communities and defending the rights afforded to them under international law and basic human ethics. […] The international community must do all it can to support these individuals as they refuse to accept growing limitations on this fundamental right, and refuse to ignore the suffering of others. We urge governments around the world to press China to protect the right to freedom of religion or belief for all.”

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