China: Religious freedom crackdown reaches ‘new low point’

By Christian Solidarity Worldwide

Authorities in Jiangsu, China demolished 5,911 ‘folk belief’ temples within one month, according to a report released by the Christian human rights organization ChinaAid on 23 April. The report comes days after a new European Parliament resolution on China which expresses concern about the increasingly repressive treatment faced by religious and ethnic minorities.

In 26 days across February and March, 5,911 temples were destroyed as part of a scheme to regulate temples launched by the publicity department in Gaoyou, Jiangsu, according to the ChinaAid report, which describes it as the “largest mass-destruction of such faiths since the Cultural Revolution.”

Churches, mosques and other places of worship have been demolished or closed down across China amid a nationwide increase in violations of the right to freedom of religion or belief. Following the introduction of revised regulations on religious affairs in February 2018, authorities have forced state-sanctioned churches to fly the national flag, remove religious symbols and sing pro-Communist songs in services, while unregistered ‘house churches’ have been harassed and shut down.