Beijing, China, Sep 3, 2019 / 16:01 pm
As part of its crackdown on religion, the Chinese Communist Party is requiring healthcare workers to grill gravely ill patients about their religious beliefs before treating them, human rights advocacy group Bitter Winter has reported.
In an Aug. 28 article, Tang Wanming of Bitter Winter reported that a pregnant woman experiencing heavy and dangerous bleeding in Shandong province was questioned twice about her religion before being admitted for surgery at a local hospital.
“She’s in so much pain. Why are you asking her these questions?” a family member reportedly asked. The nurse told the family that the government required healthcare workers to gather certain information about patients, including their religious beliefs, before they were treated.
In another story recounted by the human rights group, a 46-year-old man in severe need of insulin declined treatment at a formal hospital for fear that he would expose his family, who belong to a new religious movement, to persecution by the state.
“I would rather die than have my wife and son implicated and arrested along with me,” he reportedly said. He later died.
Religious questioning by healthcare workers has been taking place in Shandong, Hebei, Heilongjiang, and Henan provinces for about a year, though in some cases it has been happening since 2017, anonymous workers told Bitter Winter.
Besides the requirement to record a patient’s religious beliefs, Bitter Winter also reported that healthcare workers in multiple provinces reported that their local governments had banned prayer and other religious activities in medical facilities.
Bitter Winter said they interviewed numerous workers in the medical field, all of whom said they did not understand the purpose of religious questioning during healthcare visits.