‘Chinese authorities subjected Catholic believers in China to increased persecution by demolishing churches, removing crosses, and continuing to detain underground clergy.’
WASHINGTON D.C. January 9, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – Religious persecution in China has increased rapidly over the past year, according to a new U.S. government report. The “intensity” of persecution, which, the report states, has not been seen “since the Cultural Revolution,” was linked to the Vatican signing a secret deal with the Chinese communist government to give the government power over the country’s Catholic Church.
“Observers have described religious persecution in China over the last year to be of an intensity not seen since the Cultural Revolution,” the annual report put out by the U.S. Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC) stated.
The report, released January 8, stated that the Chinese government under President and Communist Party General Secretary Xi Jinping has “doubled down on the ‘sinicization’ of religion—a campaign that aims to bring religion in China under closer official control and in line with officially sanctioned interpretations of Chinese culture.”
“Authorities have expanded the ‘sinicization’ campaign to target not only religions perceived as ‘foreign,’ such as Islam and Christianity, but also Chinese Buddhism, Taoism, and folk religious beliefs,” the report stated.
The report acknowledged that the rise in persecution of Catholics corresponded to the signing of the secret deal with the Vatican.
“In September 2018, the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs signed an agreement with the Holy See, paving the way for the unification of state-sanctioned and underground Catholic communities. Subsequently, local Chinese authorities subjected Catholic believers in China to increased persecution by demolishing churches, removing crosses, and continuing to detain underground clergy. The Party-led Catholic national religious organizations also published a plan to ‘sinicize’ Catholicism in China.”