Source: Direct Reports from China
Date: May 23, 2018
The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) requires its members to be staunch atheists and forbids them from believing in any religion. In reality, some Party members are also Christians, and the Party severely tramples their religious freedom sometimes depriving them of their livelihood. Bitter Winter presents such three cases.
Case No. 1
On April 1, 2018, Chen Hua and some other Christians performed to celebrate Easter in a Three-Self church in Gongyi’s Mihe town. At around 10 a.m., as the believers were about to leave, the local government officials arrived in cars and broke into the church to arrest them. Chen Hua had a fortunate escape. Before Chen Hua’s performance, the pastor of the church had already informed her that the government was suppressing and arresting Protestants and Catholics. Therefore, Party members, teachers, as well as minors were not allowed to enter the church.
In the same month, a village official cautioned Chen not to believe in Jesus. Since then, Chen did not dare to go to church and also hid her Bible.
Case No. 2
In March 2018, Liu Huiyun’s work unit required all staff Party members to sign a statement of guarantee which read: “I promise that I do not believe in any religion or participate in religious activities.” Liu refused to sign it. Later, the Party group leader, the Party branch secretary, the secretary of the general Party branch, and the head of her department took turns to compel her to sign the statement.
According to Liu Huiyun, she was suffering from great psychological pressure. As a result, she could not work normally during the day, even feared to go to work, at night she would often wake up in shock unable to fall asleep again. Since she still refused to sign the statement, her superiors threatened her with punishment.
Case No. 3
In April 2016, the village secretary and a town clerk visited Lan and ordered her to smash the cross on her door, but Lan refused. In December that year, the village secretary visited her again threatening and pressing her not to believe in Jesus but was met with refusal. As a result, Lan’s subsistence allowance was stopped.
Many Christians who are Party members have suffered from the CCP’s persecution because of their faith. These three cases are only the tip of the iceberg. Since Xi Jinping took power, the CCP has tightened its control over Party members’ religious faith. At the National Conference on Religious Work in April 2016, Xi emphasized, “Party members should be firm Marxist atheists and must never find their values and beliefs in any religion.” In December 2016, the state’s official news medium People’s Daily published a comment, which stated, “It is a political discipline of our Party that its members cannot profess a religion, and this is the biggest characteristic that distinguishes our Party from many other parties.” In July 2017, Wang Zuo’an, the director of the State Administration for Religious Affairs published an article on the Qiushi Journal, in which he emphasized, “The Party officials should not have religious beliefs; they must be role models of obeying the Party’s religious policies and strictly guard themselves against crossing the red line of the religious policies and regulations.”