China to Christians: assimilate or be supressed
A secret Communist Party document from Hubei province has reached the West that indicates that a nationwide campaign is underway to “normalise" underground Protestant Churches by giving them two options: either join the Three Self-Patriotic Movement—the set of government-sanctioned patriotic Christian organisations—or be suppressed. Either way, the campaign is in clear violation of United Nations resolutions on religious freedom which ban any distinction between lawful (government-controlled) and unlawful religions activities.

The secret document is titled Secret Document Reveals Chinese Government’s Campaign against Unregistered Churches. It was translated and published last Tuesday by the US-based China Aid Association (CAA), an organisation devoted to counter religious persecution in China. The original document was issued on July 24, 2007 by the Duodao District Committee Office of Jingmen Municipality of the Communist Party of China, Hubei province. In order to protect the source, the CAA omitted the document’s specific number. But copies of the paper were printed, each with its serial number, on the understanding that its “content must not be disclosed.”

The text refers only to an ongoing “crackdown” in Jingmen that started on June 15 and ending November 30. It reveals that the whole campaign was based on papers elaborated at the national and provincial levels and urged and instructed by a National Christian Working Seminar, called “601 Conference” held on June 1, 2007, involving leading comrades in the central government from the Department of United Front of District Committee, District Bureau for Religious Affairs of Ethnic Minorities. The purpose of the crackdown was said to "[f]ight against infiltration activities by hostile overseas forces under the guise of Christianity and safeguard the stability in our society and in the religious arena.”

The paper goes on to suggest ways to normalise and standardise Christians’ actions through registration of Christian sites, activities and pastors. It suggests that this be done by educating the majority, isolating and cracking down on small minorities, and providing believers a “patient and careful ideological education.” The document adds that to achieve this result the authorities ought to start with a comprehensive investigation on “gathering sites, participants, locations and patterns.”

Similarly, “[i]nvestigations should also be conducted on whether there is infiltration by overseas forces or whether there is underground missionary work, whether feudal superstition and heresies are involved.” These investigations “should include the content of the sermons, personal history of the missionaries and their profiles, the sources of the funds, financial situations, system of activities, key members of their organizations and the ordinary people who participate in their activities.”
Posted by: ryuge 2009-06-12