Christians and other religious groups oppressed in China: will this be on the agenda of the EU-China Summit?

An ongoing campaign against Protestant churches in Zhejiang Province, considered the heartland of Christianity in China, has resulted in the demolition of over 1,200 crosses and numerous churches in recent years, and congregations across the region remain under pressure. In August 2016, Hu Shigen, who led a number of underground churches, was sentenced to seven and a half years in prison in Tianjin for supposedly spreading subversive ideas,” denounces Freedom House report 2017.

A considerable number of Christians are still imprisoned. Violence is at a very high level and is increasing. Church meetings continue to be disrupted in several provinces. Churches were also closed and landlords pressured to stop renting premises to Christians. Believers from a Tibetan Buddhist or Muslim Uyghur background experience persecution from families, communities and religious leaders, according to Open Doors.

China’s ruling Communist Party is officially atheist. Technically, it does allow “freedom of religion,” but those “approved” religions must worship under the supervision of those who are faithful, first and foremost to the state. So tens of millions of Christians meet underground in so-called “family churches,” CBS reports.