Source: Asahi Shimbun and Direct Reports from China
Date: May 27, 2018
Since the newly revised Regulations on Religious Affairs came into effect in February 2018, Chinese authorities have strengthened their suppression of both Chinese and foreign religious groups. On May 18, Bitter Winter reported about China’s special campaign to crack down on South Korean Christian organizations. Bitter Winter has now learned that the Chinese government accused 21 Japanese citizens of illegally preaching Christianity, and put them under detention.
According to Asahi Shimbun, one of Japan’s largest national daily newspapers, the 21 Japanese were arrested in different provinces, including Liaoning, Shanxi, Hebei, Henan, and Guizhou, as well as in Chongqing Municipality and Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, from May 5 to May 15. Three of them were deported and the other 18 are still detained. The Japanese government expressed “strong concern” over this matter, and required China to properly deal with it.
Asked to comment on the event, China’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lu Kang said he was not aware of the specifics. But he stressed that all foreigners in China should respect local laws and regulations, and not engage in any illegal activities.
A source pointed out that there were similar cases in November last year, when 19 Japanese citizens were detained in Guangdong Province and all of them were later deported from China.