"These trends suggest that the Chinese government is intentionally working to destroy Uyghur and other minority families, culture, and religious adherence," the report said.
Pope Francis did not speak publicly about the mass detention of Uyghurs and other minorities in Xinjiang until the publication of his book "Let us Dream," where it was reported in November that he referred to "the poor Uighurs" as among "persecuted peoples."
And despite the Vatican and China renewing their agreement on the ordination of bishops in October, harassment of underground lay Catholics, priests, and bishops continued in China, as the agreement was considered for renewal, the report said.
Churches continued to be destroyed or desecrated, Catholics were pressured to join the state-sanctioned Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association (CCPA), and underground clergy continued to be detained or harassed for not joining the CCPA. The auxiliary bishop of Mindong Vincent Guo Xijin was reportedly under government surveillance in April after he was pressured to join the CCPA and sign a statement of separation from the Holy See; Father Huang Jintong was also reportedly detained in Fujian in April after refusing to sign such a statement. Other priests and bishops have remained in detention for years.
Conditions for religious freedom also deteriorated to the strictest levels of repression since the Cultural Revolution in the 1970s, the report noted.
The ruling Chinese Communist Party "intensified" its recent practice of "sinicization" to forcibly control religion, the report noted, with past destruction of churches, mosques, and temples continued in 2020.
In Hong Kong, "the 'one country, two systems' framework has been effectively dismantled," the report said.
CNA has reported that some Catholics took part in pro-democracy protests in 2019 and 2020, and are worried that religious freedom could suffer after the Chinese mainland legislature passed a national security law extending control over Hong Kong, regardless of any opposition by Hong Kong's democratically-elected legislature.
The Chinese Communist Party also used the coronavirus pandemic to exert its control over society, the report noted.
During the coronavirus outbreak, Catholics in April and May were subject to official cancelation of religious events despite virus restrictions being lifted elsewhere in the area.
In another reported case, a Catholic priest in Hebei "was warned by authorities to stay silent about the outbreak."
(Story continues below)
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