Skip to content

Annual Report Reveals a Hidden Front: Chinese Police Tasked with Suppressing Faith-Based Groups

Annual report by a local public police bureau suggests that controlling faith-based groups is a top priority.

The 2006 annual report [1] from the Hangzhou City Public Security Bureau shows that the suppression of faith-based groups has gone underground—it has become the "hidden front." Internet censorship and control of social unrest continue to be the focus of Chinese law enforcement.

On December 30, 2006, the Hangzhou City Public Security Bureau posted its last quarter report on the Hangzhou government website, thus completing its 2006 annual report.

Four work and progress requirements were set at the beginning of 2006. The second one was to "further improve the quality and performance level in the fight against hostile forces on the "hidden front," to take strict precautions and resolutely crack down on infiltration by various hostile forces, to crush in a timely manner any activity that threatens our national security and social stability, and to proactively work with the relevant departments to enhance administration of religious places."

In the first quarter, while the "Two Conferences" [2] were being held at the national, provincial and city levels, the Public Security Bureau "increased the depth of surveillance and investigation efforts targeting hostile forces and Falun Gong and proactively conducted intelligence and information analysis." It "closely monitored and controlled the movements of hostile elements." Particularly, the Public Security Bureau identified 178 persons as key targets that may potentially pose threats. It successfully implemented control measures to keep Falun Gong and "pro-democratic elements" from staging protests in Beijing. Moreover, it "actively cooperated with relevant departments to further strengthen the city’s management of religious sites." It "closely monitored the Internet traffic of various hostile organizations and removed 5,032 pieces of sensitive and harmful web postings." It also "successfully handled 7 group incidents [3] involving 1, 330 persons."

In the second quarter, the first Buddhism Forum was held from April 13 to 16 in Hangzhou. The City Public Security Bureau "formed seven special task forces that pulled together all the intelligence through a comprehensive investigation of religious groups." The special task forces identified and filtered out unstable elements and applied tight surveillance." They "closely monitored Internet traffic of various hostile organizations and removed 5,534 pieces of sensitive and harmful web postings." They also "successfully handled eight group incidents involving 972 persons."

In the third quarter, the Public Security Bureau "closely monitored Internet traffic of various hostile organizations and removed 11,700 pieces of sensitive and harmful web postings," doubling the number from the second quarter. It "successfully handled 19 group incidents involving 2,233 persons."

In the fourth quarter, the public Security Bureau "removed 170,000 pieces of sensitive and harmful web postings." The 10-fold increase in the number of censored postings was achieved through implementation of three Internet censorship software programs. It "successfully handled 20 group incidents."{mospagebreak}


1. Hangzhou Government
2. "Two Conferences" refer to the Fourth Plenary Session of the 10th Chinese National People’s Congress and Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference that were held in March 2006.
3 "Group incident" is Chinese official term for social unrest.

Joshua Lee is a correspondent for Chinascope.