Fusion Magazine: The State of Religion in China

Religion has never had much of a home in the People’s Republic of China—at least, not a comfortable one. In a country where journalists are imprisoned, information is strictly controlled and family planning is dictated by the state, it’s no surprise that religious freedom doesn’t exist. What is a surprise is the violent and restrictive way that freedom is suppressed.

Throughout history, Chinese leaders have generally been very hostile to the idea of religion, believing that as people became more educated, science and business would win out over spiritual matters, and atheism would be heralded. The Cultural Revolution, led by Mao Zedong (1966-1976), was designed to change China’s culture for the better. To communist thinkers, that meant eliminating religion. To accomplish this, Buddhist temples were burned to the ground, literature was destroyed and churches were converted to government buildings. But, since the Cultural Revolution, religious restrictions have eased.

In modern times, religion is tolerated, as long as it is sanctioned by the state. The government sometimes even works with religious organizations to provide services to communities. Still, to be a believer in China means to live in a very structured, prohibitive and often dangerous place.

The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) maintains that everyone is entitled to believe what they wish. And that’s true: You can believe what you want to believe. Until mind-control devices are available, a human being can think what they want in their head. But Chinese citizens are not guaranteed the right to practice what they believe.

Officially, there are five recognized religions in China: Catholicism, Protestantism, Taoism, Islam and Buddhism. Chinese citizens can worship only at a state-approved church or temple; and by "state-approved," that means a religious organization under the control of the government.

The State Administration for Religious Affairs (SARA) controls religious life in the People’s Republic of China. The state controls publications, clergy appointments, finances, property, and what education believers can receive. They also require members of the military to be atheists, and they don’t allow anyone under 18 to receive religious teachings. In short, there is no freedom of religion in China, even if you attend a registered church.

Dr. Tsering Shakya, professor of Tibetan Studies at the University of British Columbia, said in a 2009 Brookings Institution panel discussion that the Chinese philosophy is that "religion has to be contained." It is contained by arrests, detentions, fines, labor camps, disappearances, beatings, extortion, property confiscation, threats and harassment.

EXERCISING CONTROL


HERE ARE A FEW EXAMPLES OF CHINA’S HOLD ON RELIGION:

- Wusiman Yiming, a Christian working for an American-owned company, was sentenced to two years in a labor camp. The American owner of the company, also a Christian, was kicked out of China and had to shut the company down

- Beijing has a law in place that says landlords can be punished if they rent property to those who conduct illegal religious activities

- Shanghai authorities prevented Catholic pilgrims from visiting the Marian Shrine of Sheshan by intimidating diocese members and instituting traffic restrictions

- The female pastor of the Loyalty Christian Church of Yanji, Hao Yujie, was beaten during questioning and charged with organizing an illegal religious gathering

- Beijing bookstore owner Shi Weihan was detained for the illegal publication of Bibles and Christian literature

Much of the persecution is concentrated toward Christians, Muslims and the 18-year-old spiritual movement called Falun Gong.

A widely used penalty for those who worship outside of CCP-approved groups is banishment to a labor camp, which can last for several months or several years. The CCP favors this penalty because it doesn’t require any type of trial to take place. It also doesn’t require any formal charge or review by a judicial system. Local police can show up and put you in a labor camp if they don’t like what you are doing. Once in the camp, you will be told to denounce your beliefs, forced to sing songs of praise to the Communist party, and you will endure sleep deprivation, beatings, and grueling workdays in unsanitary conditions.

Bu Dongwei, a follower of the outlawed religion Falun Gong, was in a labor camp for about a year and a half. He described his experience to Amnesty International as: "Persecution in the labor camp includes torture, forced labor work, deprivation of basic needs, brain-washing, no freedom to go to the restroom, no freedom to wash clothes, bad food and bad living conditions… We were forced to pack disposable chopsticks in very unsanitary conditions. All the chopsticks were put on the ground of the small room and people often stepped on them. Some of those chopsticks are for export." Other labor camp prisoners have reported being burned with cigarettes, forced to sit motionless for long periods of time, and shocked with electric batons, all while being forced to make soap, costume jewelry or plush toys.

Before the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, the world watched to see if China would relax some of their communist restrictions (especially since they promised when campaigning for the Games they would improve human rights). What they saw was China turning up the heat on house churches and "illegal" religious activity in an effort to create a perfect image for the Games. They also wanted to control the dissemination of information likely to be shared by the many international visitors they were now expecting. China is very uncomfortable with foreigners coming in to proselytize, and they usually limit travelers to carrying only one Bible or Qu’ran per person. Nina Shea, senior fellow at the Hudson Institute and director of the Center for Religious Freedom, says "officials fear that contact with foreign co-religionists could encourage a flowering of religious practice that is not sanctioned or controlled by the state."

In an open letter prior to the Olympics, human rights activists Hu Jia and Teng Biao said, "When you come to the Olympic Games in Beijing, you will see skyscrapers, spacious streets, modern stadiums and enthusiastic people. You will see the truth, but not the whole truth, just as you see only the tip of an iceberg. You may not know that the flowers, smiles, harmony and prosperity are built on a base of grievances, tears, imprisonment, torture and blood."

GROWTH OF HOUSE CHURCHES

An important aspect of religion is the practice, the worship. But people gathering together to worship anything other than the State is a threat to Communism. The government claims to be the ultimate moral, cultural and political authority. Therefore, they have a vested interest in persecuting churches not sanctioned by them because free, enlightened people will begin to mobilize, challenge the state’s ideology and, in some cases, change a society. The Apostle Peter said "We must obey God rather than men." That is death to a repressive regime.

Christians in China are watched closely. China has always looked upon Christianity as a threat to society because it is most closely associated with Western values and democracy. Although there are two official Christian organizations in China—the Three-Self Patriotic Movement and the China Christian Council (TSPM/CCC)— Christian religious activities are rigorously monitored and strict regulations are placed on the religion. For instance, the Pope is not recognized as a religious leader; bishops are imprisoned; the one-child rule is enforced whether it goes against your religious beliefs or not; and church materials have to be okayed by the state.

Not surprisingly, in an environment with so much control, many believers simply refuse to go along with what the state wants—so Christians have chosen to go underground for their worship at illegal, unregistered "house churches." Evidence suggests that house church membership is actually much greater than that of state-sanctioned Christian organizations. TSPM/CCC reports that 20 million citizens worship in official churches; yet the Pew Research Center estimates between 50 million and 70 million people attend house churches. Although members of registered churches are just as burdened with restrictions as unregistered ones, "they just aren’t openly persecuted like underground ones," Shea says. Without the backing of the CCP, house church members are subject to mistreatment. They are, after all, doing something the government considers illegal. Church leaders are the most susceptible to arrest, but any member of the congregation is fair game. Sometimes believers are prosecuted on trumped-up charges of illegal business practices; and occasionally the offender is beaten but most are sentenced to "re-education through labor" programs.

This usually entails the offender being sent to a hard labor camp for up to three years.

That was the case in late November 2009, when five house church leaders were arrested and sentenced to two years in a labor camp while they were staging a peaceful protest. Church members were upset that police had raided their facilities a few months prior and were registering their outrage. Now they will spend two years locked away from their families, their congregation, and the world.

Besides the aggression toward Christianity, there are three other religious targets in China:

TIBET

Tibet is the poster child for religious intolerance in China. Religion is extremely important to the Tibetan people; their entire culture revolves around it. They want to be free to worship as they please and they want to allow their children to worship. The PRC has forcibly suppressed the Tibetan people and called the Dalai Lama a "splittist." No one under the age of 18 is permitted to enter the monastery and they cannot elect their own religious leaders. As part of its "patriotic education" campaign, the PRC required nuns and monks to study communist theory several hours a day and sign statements personally denouncing the Dalai Lama. Despite a long history of peaceful protests by members of the monastery, Tibet has become a very volatile and dangerous place due to the religious interference of the PRC. Protestors have disappeared, been detained and beaten and deprived of food and water.

XINJIANG

Because it is located in the westernmost part of China, Xinjiang is predominantly Muslim. The PRC has gone overboard in dictating what residents can do, including banning headscarves for women, requiring men to shave, prohibiting children from engaging in religious activities and restricting Hajj pilgrimages. Many Muslims have been arrested and charged with terrorism or illegal religious activities.

FALUN GONG

The PRC has designated Falun Gong as a cult and, as such, they have launched an unrelenting attack on its followers. Falun Gong is a very new system of beliefs, founded in 1992. Its central tenets are truthfulness, benevolence, and forbearance. Like many new spiritual movements, it draws on core concepts from other religions.

Falun Gong also incorporates modern science and exercise in its teachings. Members of Falun Gong have accused the CCP of torture, forced labor, and even organ harvesting. The PRC has banned the religion and accused its followers of being part of a political movement to overthrow the government.

WHY DO WE CARE?

Aside from wondering where our chopsticks came from the next time we sit down for some Mo Shu pork, China’s violations should bother us because we are human beings; it’s our nature to care. But also, we are officially supposed to care. In 1998, the United States passed the International Religious Freedom Act, making the promotion of religious freedom part of our foreign policy goals. Each year, our State Department lists "Countries of Particular Concern," calling out countries with severe human rights violations as they relate to religious freedom. China has been on this CPC list every year since its inception.

Shea says it is in our national interest to have China stable and free—and also our responsibility. "This is one of our definining principles [religious freedom], and we need to keep this issue as a priority."

Implied approval of activities emboldens China to continue the abuse. In February 2009, Secretary of State Clinton said human rights "shouldn’t interfere" with U.S.-China relations. In October 2009, President Obama refused to meet with the Dalai Lama because he was about to meet with Chinese President Hu Jintao and he didn’t want to upset U.S.-China relations. However, on Feb. 18, 2010, over strong objections from the Chinese government, Obama did host the Dalai Lama at the White House, but not in the formal setting of the Oval Office. Instead they met in the Map Room, which is part of the residence. The non-political setting was most noticeable when the Dalai Lama was shuffled out of the building past bags of trash on the sidewalk, after Obama expressed "strong support for the preservation of Tibet’s unique religious, cultural and linguistic identity…"

Weak statements and half-hearted attempts at outrage are not going to change the situation. We also can’t pretend to separate China’s economic policies from their social policies. Sophie Richardson, Asia advocate for Human Rights Watch, explains: "This idea that if you are nice to the Chinese Communist Party up front you can cash in later is just wrong. If you lower the bar on human rights they will just move it lower and lower."

HOPE ON THE HORIZON?

The government’s acceptance of charity from religious organizations, allowing CCP members to join state-approved religions, provides evidence that change is happening—however slow it may be. China has adjusted certain religious policies, probably due to the demands of a more global society, international pressures and image concerns. Shea says China learned twin lessons from the fall of the Soviet Union: the economy couldn’t sustain Communism, and the Eastern European churches played a big role in de-legitimizing the Communists. Although China has started to embrace capitalism in some forms, it’s still not comfortable giving up control of political or social organizations—and that includes churches.

We have to put pressure on our government to make religious freedom around the world a priority. Religious freedom is not a government program, so therefore it’s not something the PRC can hand to its citizens. True change will happen when individuals and families push back against Communism, control and oppression. A liberated society requires giving power to the people so they can freely and creatively live their lives, and that means being able to worship as they please. The CCP knows this, and it is their greatest fear.


 


<< Return to the May 2010 Index of Fusion

11 things you can do to help stop the Great Reset

Photo by Arthur Franklin on Unsplash

The foundation of the American way of life is freedom from tyranny, which can only exist in a nation that defends the rights, powers, and property of individuals and families. Over the past two centuries, the greatest threats to liberty have come from governments, both foreign and domestic. And from the beaches of Normandy to the civil rights movement of the 1960s, Americans have repeatedly conquered the challenges placed before them by those seeking to extinguish or limit individual rights.

However, over the past few years, a new, potentially catastrophic danger has emerged, but not primarily from the halls of Congress or state capitols. This threat to freedom has largely emanated from the board rooms of the world’s wealthiest, most powerful corporations, large financial institutions, central banks, and international organizations such as the United Nations and World Economic Forum.

In an attempt to secure vast amounts of wealth and influence over society, corporate CEOs, bankers, and investors, working closely with key government officials, have launched a unified effort to impose environmental, social, and governance (ESG) standards on most of the industrialized global economy. ESG standards are also referred to as “sustainable investment” or “stakeholder capitalism.” According to a report by KPMG, thousands of companies, located in more than 50 countries, already have ESG systems in place, including 82 percent of large companies in the United States.

ESG standards are designed to create a “great reset of capitalism” and to “revamp all aspects of our societies and economies, from education to social contracts and working conditions.” ESG supporters plan to enact these radical changes by using ESG schemes to alter how businesses and investments are evaluated, so that instead of focusing on the quality of goods and services, profits, and other traditional economic metrics, companies — including financial institutions — are evaluated largely on their commitment to social justice and environmental causes and then assigned scores so that companies can be compared, rewarded, or potentially punished.

Supporters of the movement for a Great Reset also plan on using technology to limit free speech and privacy rights, and they support creating vast new government programs that are designed to transform the Western economy via the Green New Deal, European Green Deal, a federal jobs guarantee, and basic income programs.

Together, the proposals that make up the Great Reset represent the most serious threat to freedom in the West since the fall of the Soviet Union and perhaps since World War II. But there is hope. We can stop the Great Reset, but only if we act quickly and with great conviction.

Below are 11 steps you can take to push back against the Great Reset. These steps represent a powerful bottom-up, grassroots approach to the Great Reset’s top-down plan to remake the world. Although many of these steps won’t be easy for everyone to take, they are essential for ensuring that our children and grandchildren will grow up in a world that protects the rights of individuals and empowers families, rather than wealthy special interests, financial institutions, and large corporations.

1. Live Not by Lies: The time for remaining quiet is over. When you hear or see something that you know to be false, speak up. Be kind, generous, and compassionate, but do not, under any circumstances, allow lies to infect your life. Further, do not support organizations, publications, politicians, schools, or any other institutions that regularly promote false claims.

2. Buy Local: The reason the Great Reset is so powerful is because so many of us have become totally dependent on large multinational corporations. They can be easily manipulated in a way that small, local businesses cannot. Learn to buy local, whenever possible, even if it means spending more money on your purchases. Yes, big corporations offer conveniences and low prices that many small businesses can’t compete with, but those benefits come with a great cost: your freedom.

3. Bank Local: Big financial institutions and banks are driving much of the Great Reset movement. They have started to use their incredible wealth and power to alter society by financing only those businesses who agree to the terms of the Great Reset. This problem is going to get worse, so it’s important to find local banks and credit unions you can trust and who refuse to utilize ESG scores and other discriminatory schemes.

4. Support Local Farms: If you live in an area that has local farms and farmer’s markets, consider buying as many of your groceries as possible from farmers. In the future, food production and distribution are going to change dramatically. It’s important that you support local farmers and build relationships with individuals who can provide you with the goods you need in a time of crisis. One of our main goals must be to make local communities as self-sufficient as possible, and that cannot happen unless we support local farms.

5. Be Vocal: After starting to shop and bank locally, be sure to tell big financial institutions and corporations why they have lost your business. They need to know that their decisions have serious consequences.

6. Run for Local Government: Local and state governments will soon be our most important defense against the Great Reset. Consider running for your local school board, zoning board, or even for a state legislative office. If you don’t feel qualified for these positions, find someone who shares your values and help them run for office. If we don’t have control of our local governments, we won’t be able to halt the Great Reset.

7. Demand That Your State Pass Laws Against ESG Scores: In America, states have a tremendous amount of power to slow the Great Reset and protect their citizens from abuses by large corporations, banks, and international institutions. They can do this by passing laws that make the use of ESG metrics and other, similar systems by financial institutions illegal, when used as a precondition for banking services, financing, investment, etc. ESG scores are, by definition, discriminatory and should be made illegal by state lawmakers who care about protecting their citizens’ rights.

8. Make Responsible Spending a Key Issue for Politicians: In recent years, politicians on the ideological left and right have totally abandoned responsible fiscal policy in favor of vast money printing and loose monetary policies. The many trillions of dollars that have been “printed” in recent years put our economy at risk and are being used to fuel the Great Reset. Without these trillions of dollars of printed money, it would be exceptionally difficult for governments and financial institutions to buy off corporations.

9. Organize Anti-Great Reset Groups: No matter where you live, there are Americans in your community who do not support the Great Reset — Republicans, Democrats, and independents alike. Find like-minded neighbors and organize a local, peaceful resistance. Find people you can trust and agree to support one another when times get tough. Now, more than ever, we need to develop dependable communities.

10. Buy Property and Diversify: Property ownership is going to become increasingly more difficult in the months and years to come. It’s important that you work with a qualified financial adviser to help you figure out the best way to buy property and diversify your investments. Buying hard assets, including real estate and precious metals, could be a good way for you to protect against the Great Reset and a possible financial collapse. If you already own property, resist selling it to large corporations and financial institutions, whenever possible. (This is not financial advice, and I’m not a financial adviser. Talk to an expert you trust before taking action!)

11. Make the Great Reset a Litmus Test for Politicians: Before supporting politicians, find out if they know what the Great Reset is and what they plan to do to stop it. If they aren’t familiar with the Great Reset or don’t have a plan to halt it, then demand that they learn about the Great Reset and develop a proposal to prevent it. Political leaders who refuse to take the Great Reset seriously do not deserve your support. This is the key issue of our generation.

Scott Quiner was transferred over the weekend to a hospital in Texas after doctors in Minnesota threated to terminate life support measures as he battled severe complications from COVID-19. Scott's wife, Anne Quiner, appealed to the courts for a restraining order to prevent the hospital from pulling the plug as she sought a new facility to provide medical care for her husband. Scott was unvaccinated when he tested positive for COVID-19 in late October, 2021.

Anne and her attorney Marjorie Holsten joined "The Glenn Beck Program" Thursday to describe their frantic efforts to halt the hospital's decision to turn off Scott's life support — allegedly because he was unvaccinated — and just how difficult it was to get him the medical treatment he needed.

"It was absolutely stunning," Holsten told Glenn. "[Anne] came in and she has this order, I saw the screenshot from the [online medical] chart that said [Scott] is basically scheduled for execution at noon the following day."

According to Holsten, the Minnesota hospital responded to her appeal for a restraining order by claiming that the "position" to keep Scott alive "is not supported by medical science or Minnesota law. As a result, Mercy will ask the court to issue an order that Mercy has the authority to discontinue Mr. Quiner's ventilator and proceed with his medical care plan."

"The 'medical care plan' was the plan to discontinue the ventilator at noon, which leads to death very shortly. So that was at 10 o'clock, but then at 11 o'clock, before the 12 o'clock execution, the judge did, in fact, sign an order saying the hospital is restrained from pulling the plug," she added.

Anne told Glenn that doctors in Texas were shocked by Scott's condition after he arrived from the Minnesota hospital. Not only had he been given dangerous drugs, he was also found to be “severely malnourished."

"The doctor [in Texas] spent two hours with Scott and when he came back out, he said, 'I don't know how he even made it, how he even survived that other hospital ... but I will do everything I can to try to save his life,'" Anne explained.

"And the doctor [in Texas] said Scott was the most undernourished patient he has ever seen," Holsten added.

"Glenn, we are first bringing this battle to the court of public opinion," Holsten continued. "What we are showing the world is that Scott was near death because of the protocols used in that [Minnesota] hospital, but now he is recovering. He is getting better.... Now, we're not planning a funeral, we're planning for his release."

Watch the video clip below for more details.

If you'd like to help support the Quiner family, please consider making a donation to GiveSendGo.com/Anne.


Want more from Glenn Beck?

To enjoy more of Glenn’s masterful storytelling, thought-provoking analysis and uncanny ability to make sense of the chaos, subscribe to BlazeTV — the largest multi-platform network of voices who love America, defend the Constitution and live the American dream.

The Great Reset is not just an elitist idea — it’s not even a socialist utopian concept. It’s a real-world fascist threat to every American from Wall Street to Main Street. It’s happening now in policies and cultural shifts big and small, obvious and subtle, from environmental promises to corporations going woke. But the mainstream media, global elites, and politicians brushed off the Great Reset as “nothing to see here.” Another myth they push: “The World Economic Forum is just a conference for elites who have no REAL power.”

Glenn Beck first exposed the Great Reset almost two years ago, and the globalist cries of "conspiracy theorist" soon followed. They said he believed the WEF was a “master cabal calling the shots from some evil underground lair.” But Glenn Beck never said that. Instead, he uncovered the true intentions of global leaders in finance and politics by simply highlighting their own words.

This week, the same global elites are doubling down on their agenda at the World Economic Forum’s Davos Agenda virtual event. But still, the global elites — like Twitter’s Jack Dorsey — are trying to downplay the WEF’s influence to stop people like us from interfering with their plans. The oligarchy will prosper in the new world order they’ve designed. You will not.

So Glenn unveils a master chalkboard based on his best-selling new book to outline the threats from globalists and why we must stop their agenda if we hope to keep the precious freedoms we still have.

Watch the full episode of "GlennTV' Below:

Want more from Glenn Beck?

To enjoy more of Glenn’s masterful storytelling, thought-provoking analysis and uncanny ability to make sense of the chaos, subscribe to BlazeTV — the largest multi-platform network of voices who love America, defend the Constitution and live the American dream.

Kim Iversen, journalist, YouTuber, and host of "The Kim Iversen Show," reacted to Glenn Beck's appearance last week on "Tucker Carlson Tonight" by conceding that, while the subject of Beck's new book, "The Great Reset: Joe Biden and the Rise of Twenty-First-Century Fascism" might at first sound "a little bit loony," closer analysis confirms "this isn't such a crazy conspiracy theory after all."

"Glenn Beck was on Tucker Carlson's show last week touting what has been called a right-wing conspiracy theory and discussing his new book, 'The Great Reset: Joe Biden and the Rise of Twenty-First-Century Fascism'," began Iverson on The Hill's "Rising."

"Well, maybe that all sounds a little bit loony — and believe me, I do think Glenn Beck tends to be a loon," she quipped. "But, maybe this isn't such a crazy conspiracy theory after all. And after seeing everything we've seen with the governments enacting all sorts of authoritarian controls and many other conspiracy theories coming true, maybe there's something to be concerned about. So, what is the Great Reset? The name even sounds conspiratorial, but believe it or not, it's a real thing."

Iverson went on to explain exactly who is behind the Great Reset, what their agenda entails, how they are using the COVID-19 pandemic to "to rebuild society in a way the global elites see best fit."

"You'll own nothing and you will be happy: That's what they're saying," Iverson explained. "And with inflation sky high and no signs of it slowing down, they might be right. We are on our way to becoming a nation of renters, but don't worry it's nothing to fear ... don't worry, everything is being done under the premise that this is all ... being done for our own good, the benefit of a collective society, and we will be happy," she added sarcastically.

Iverson concluded by asking, "Who thinks it's a good idea that a bunch of corporate millionaire and billionaires and world leaders are getting together and coming up with what's best for we the little people? I mean, who thinks that that's a really good idea? And who thinks that they are going to be doing it for our benefit? But, of course they're going to frame it like 'Oh, this is good for you. You're going to rent. You'll own nothing and you'll be happy. Don't worry about it' ... When you look at the actual list of partners with the World Economic Forum, they control everything. They control media. They control health. They control business. They control everything, and so then it does become, how do we people fight against that?"

Watch the video clip below to hear Kim Iverson break it down and don' t miss Wednesday night's special episode of "GlennTV" on BlazeTV’s YouTube channel.

Iversen joined Glenn Beck on the radio program to discuss what The Great Reset is and how YOU can help stop it. Watch the video clip from "The Glenn Beck Program" below:

Want more from Glenn Beck?

To enjoy more of Glenn’s masterful storytelling, thought-provoking analysis and uncanny ability to make sense of the chaos, subscribe to BlazeTV — the largest multi-platform network of voices who love America, defend the Constitution, and live the American dream.