The United Front Work Department of the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and the Ministry of Public Security of the Liaoning Provincial Government, issued a secret document directing the local governments to crack down on foreign-related Christian churches and demonize religious groups in order to legalize the CCP’s suppression.
The document, titled, “Work Plan for Investigating and Handling Foreign Christian Penetration in Accordance with the Law,” is a special action for local governments to implement. The main task of the special action is to require government agencies to “resolutely crack down on foreign religious believers, resolutely destroy the religious activities of foreign religious groups in the local area, and resolutely prevent organizations from attending training in neighboring countries and regions.” It also directs the tightening of restrictions on the use of foreign Internet websites to conduct online missionary work.
In addition to targeting the “Jehovah Witnesses” and several Korean Christian churches that have been suppressed before, the CCP’s secret document also named the Young Disciples of Jesus, Cru, the Evangelical Lutheran Church, the Bo Ai Church, the Ai Xin Church, the Canaan Christian Church, and a number of others.
In order to achieve the goal, the document recommends that the local governments first send out undercover agents to conduct detailed investigations on these religious groups, such as the scope of their activities, the status of get-togethers, personnel composition, background, funds, and the scale of their activities. The document recommends surveillance of relevant WeChat and QQ groups; in addition to recording all the believers’ information; establishing a “Resistance to the Overseas Christian Penetration Work Database,” as well as the use the big data analysis to keep abreast of church activities.
In terms of crackdowns, the document calls for the shutdown of church meeting places, training centers, and seminaries; the taking of a number of measures to combat the believers’ beliefs, such as criminal prosecution, education transformation, pressure on their work units and relatives, and cutting off welfare protection; “investigating and handling some, registering some, controlling some, and transforming some.” The document holds local CCP committees and governments responsible for the education transformation so as to eliminate completely any possibility of restoring religious activities.
Moreover, before each crackdown action, local authorities are required to demonize religious groups and guide public opinion to legalize the CCP’s suppression of them.
The document also requires that government propaganda departments should produce critical articles and videos to incite the masses. Internet censorship departments should control “harmful and sensational public opinion. Education departments need to strengthen the management of teachers and students with religious backgrounds. The document also requires that the crackdown work should not be conducted during the time when there are major domestic political activities or important sensitive anniversaries.
The document requires confidentiality. It is strictly forbidden to release crackdown documents on the Internet or notify personnel of their crackdown assignments through WeChat and other social media channels.
Source: Bitter Winter, May 27, 2019