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By Lisa Navarrette, ICC Fellow 

Part IV of this series discussed China’s global investment and growing authoritarianism around the world. This article will address how Christians in China and the international community can work together to limit the influence of the Chinese Communist Party.  

While the theories of socialism have appealed to many in America in recent years, its reality falls short of the utopian dream. While China has created a dynamic economic system, it has not afforded the norm of individual and fundamental human rights to its citizens. China codifies laws to appear sensitive to international human rights standards. The reality, however, is quite different for both citizens and foreign nationals.  

China has kept its past socialist ideals and expanded its control over its citizens. It has committed genocide and other atrocities on its people in recent decades. Its detention and investigation policies allow great discretion by local police, which leads to a lack of accountability and corruption.  

Forced confessions and false imprisonments are normal occurrences. Anyone who is even suspected as an opponent of the Chinese Communist Party receives swift sanctions. Because of the Silicon Valley-level technology they own and growing global influence, they may just be the most dangerous party in the world.

Surveillance and control of information have reached unprecedented levels in China. The international community must demand access to reliable news and crime statistics. Crime and death penalty statistics often go underreported by Chinese officials to legitimize the authoritarian regime.[1] Reported Chinese crime rates stay low when compared to other countries, though it is difficult to know if the statistics are correct. The growing rate of violent crime, drug use, and gang-related delinquency is concerning. 

The general conformity of the people to socialist policy can be traced to the centuries of dynastic rule and, more recently, an oligarchic state. The people of China were groomed to accept social conformity, and this conformity continues to be exploited by the Chinese Communist Party.  

Citizens may see these harsh punishments as fair and equitable because, in their eyes, crime violates the collective rights of society. The presumption of guilt, instead of the presumption of innocence in democratic societies, makes it difficult for one to defend oneself from accusation.  

Simply being a suspect can have severe consequences for both suspects and their families. Those who defy these norms are held as examples of civil disobedience to the socialist order through various means, such as death sentence parades and public executions.[2] Codifying human rights may have negligible effect in a society where crime is viewed as a violation of collective rights and a rebellion against the socialist order and government.  

Chinese citizens must work together and fight against the oppressive government. To do that, they must have access to non-controlled domestic and international information and adopt democratic principles. Only then will they understand the value of individual inalienable rights and fight the oppressive government for their freedoms.  

While watch groups, religious persecution organizations such as International Christian Concern (ICC), and journalists have done their part to expose China’s atrocities, the international community has done little act against China. The international community must continue to expose China’s human rights violations and its persecution of ethnic and religious minorities. Imposing government sanctions on China is one way to increase compliance and accountability. The international community should demand that China publish its capital punishment statistics. In addition, China should allow for more humanitarian actions to be afforded to the condemned, such as psychiatric evaluations for mental illness and contact with family and friends before the execution. [3]  

People of faith supply important checks on government because they hold an allegiance to a power higher than the government. The government is a God-ordained institution, accountable to God. The function of government is to restrain evil and support and protect the sanctity of life. When the government is no longer just, it is the task of the church to expose the government and demand its officials repent. The local church is the hope of the world, and that is the case in China. Christianity has grown faster in China than anywhere else in the world in the last 40 years- from 1 million to 100 million currently. [4]  

China is in a recession now. The state-controlled economy drove up urban unemployment and lowered consumer confidence. While incomes are going up for those who are employed, students, and the massive aging population find it hard to find jobs and stay afloat. With economic prospects bleak, this may be the perfect time for citizens to question and challenge the government.  

Centuries-old social conformity has led to increasing global authoritarianism by China. The spread of China’s investment and authoritarian principles to other countries is concerning. The atrocities committed by the Chinese government against their people must be met with action by the international government. The Christian church must be strengthened by its global brothers and sisters as it looks to combat the evils of the Chinese Communist Party.  


[1] Jiang, N. (2018). Excluding tortured confessions in the People’s Republic of China: A long March towards the eventual abolition of torture? International Journal of Law, Crime and Justice, 54, 1–10. 

[2] Terrill, R. J. (2016). World criminal justice systems: a comparative survey. New York, London Routledge. 

[3] Liang, B. (2019). Legal Treatment of Foreign Drug Offenders Who Face Capital Punishment in China. East Asian Policy (Singapore), 11(3), 107–119. 

[4] Ireland, D. (2023, February 2). What’s behind Boom of Christianity in China? Boston University.