Beijing, China, Jul 3, 2019 / 17:09 pm
As the Communist Party of China continues to tighten its grip on the regulation of religion and religious activity, a human rights group is reporting that officials are disrupting religious rites and ceremonies such as funerals and weddings that take place outside of church buildings.
Bitter Winter, a magazine documenting human rights and religious freedom abuses in China, reported that attendees of such ceremonies have been threatened with investigation and jail, and in some cases have been arrested and detained for more than two weeks at a time.
The crackdowns are part of the government's campaign to "sinicize" religion, bringing it into unity with Communist Chinese culture. The report comes just five days after Chris Smith (R-NJ), co-chair of the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission, told a congressional hearing that the state of religious freedom in China has "never been worse than it is right now."
On April 12 of this year, Chinese government officials broke up an 11-person Christian funeral in the province of Henan that was honoring a deceased member of the congregation. Officials accused attendees of "hiding" their actions in the countryside, and threatened them with jail time, according to Bitter Winter reports. The police registered the personal contact information of the attendees and told them that they could be investigated at any time.