The Chinese Communist Party has long sought to control and shape the minds of Chinese citizens, but with globalization and the advent of the internet, its grip has begun to weaken. Sensing a loss of control, the Chinese government is consolidating its authority over the spiritual lives of Chinese citizens, leading to violations against religious and spiritual believers not seen since the days of the Cultural Revolution forty years ago. Churches are destroyed, the faithful are imprisoned, organs are harvested, and cultural genocide is taking place. While the Chinese Constitution guarantees the freedom of religion, the Chinese Communist Party views this freedom as a gift from the state that is bestowed or withheld at the direction of the Chinese Communist Party.
While it is true that the Chinese government allows for the practice of religion and spirituality under the guise of one of its five state-sanctioned religious bodies, freedom of practice within these bodies is limited to careful oversight by the state. Any unsanctioned activities within any of these bodies is against the law. Moreover, any association with religious organizations other than these five state-sanctioned bodies is strictly prohibited. Many of the world’s richest religions, along with their faithful, suffer as a result.
The tools that the Chinese Communist Party uses to repress religious and spiritual adherents in China are wide-ranging, from the subtle to the outright shocking. Individuals and their families are harassed, imprisoned, or put on black lists that close doors of opportunity to all but the most menial of jobs. Others are abducted or arrested, and subject to torture until coerced confessions are obtained. The internet, a tool for freedom around the world, is under sharp surveillance and censorship in China. Whole cultures are also under threat as the Chinese Communist Party seeks to systematically overrun Tibetan and Uyghur regions with an influx of Han Chinese transplants while also suppressing local languages, customs, and religious teachings.
The Solidarity Sabbath is focused on four of China's largest religious and spiritual movements that are being repressed by the Chinese Communist Party. This includes Christians, Uyghur Muslims, Tibetan Buddhists, and Falun Gong practitioners. The freedom of religion that we in the free world take for granted is merely a dream for the one fifth of the world’s population that lives in China. Join the Solidarity Sabbath in jump-starting a unified movement to initiate real change.
For an extensive analysis of international law and religious freedom, please see the following study guide prepared by the University of Minnesota Human Rights Center: http://www1.umn.edu/humanrts/edumat/studyguides/religion.html
For more detailed information about China's failure to uphold its commitments under Chinese and international law, please see the following reports focusing on the state of religious freedom in China today:
- China Aid's Annual Persecution Reports
- Congressional-Executive Commission on China Annual Report - Chapter on Religious Freedom in China
- Council on Foreign Relations - Backgrounder: Religion in China
- United States Commission on International Religious Freedom - 2015 Report
- United Kingdom Corporate Report: China - Country of Concern