ISSN 2330-717X

China: Crackdown On Xinjiang Christians


Chinese authorities in the restive northwestern region of Xinjiang have banned all Christian activities not linked to state-approved churches, launching a region-wide crackdown on unofficial worship in the name of “anti-terrorism” measures.

Underground Catholic churches and Protestant house churches have been warned to halt all activity throughout the region, Radio Free Asia reported a religious affairs official as confirming.

“Yes, that’s right,” said the official, by phone from the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region government’s religious and ethnic minority affairs bureau.

“They all have to worship in [an officially approved] church,” the official said, indicating that both Catholics and Protestants are affected by the new measures.

China is home to an estimated 68 million Protestants, of whom 23 million worship in state-affiliated churches, and some nine million Catholics, 5.7 million of whom belong to state-sponsored organizations.

The atheist Chinese Communist Party has stepped up controls over any form of religious practice among its citizens in recent years, putting increasing pressure on faith groups to join the Protestant Three Self Patriotic Association or the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association, which has no ties with the Vatican.

The administration of President Xi Jinping regards Christianity as a dangerous foreign import, with officials warning last year against the “infiltration of Western hostile forces” in the form of religion.

The new rules have already begun to be implemented in some areas of Xinjiang.

A resident of Aksu in Shayar county said churches in the cities of Aksu and Korla had stopped meeting altogether, and that local people had been warned not to meet privately for worship.

“They warned us that we can’t do that, and that we’ll be charged with illegal assembly if we get caught, and be locked up,” the resident said.

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UCA News

The Union of Catholic Asian News (UCA News, UCAN) is the leading independent Catholic news source in Asia. A network of journalists and editors that spans East, South and Southeast Asia, UCA News has for four decades aimed to provide the most accurate and up-to-date news, feature, commentary and analysis, and multimedia content on social, political and religious developments that relate or are of interest to the Catholic Church in Asia.

One thought on “China: Crackdown On Xinjiang Christians

  • February 28, 2017 at 2:40 pm

    China is not a Christian country nor will it ever be.


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