Although she is officially an atheist and has a long and contradictory relationship with religion, the ruling Communist Party presides over a Christianity boom in China.
On December 9, authorities reportedly arrested more than 100 early-years Protestant worshipers at Rain Covenant Church in Chengdu City.
The arrests prevent years of crackdown on religion in China. Dozens of predominantly Protestant Christian churches claimed to have been built or illegally built were demolished throughout the country in 2018. 19659002 In other parts of the western region of Xinjiang, a growing repressive campaign against the predominantly Muslim Uighur ethnic group has provoked international condemnation.
According to analysts and civil rights attorneys, Beijing is stepping up its campaign against worshipers who are seen as an ideological threat to the party's monopoly on power.
"We are entering a new era of repression against two of China's five religions, which is different from what we've seen in the last 40 years," said Pulitzer-winning journalist Ian Johnson and author of "The Souls of China: The Return of Religion to Mao."
Religion with Chinese Characteristics
Although China is officially an atheist state, religious practice is legal in the country – albeit under strict state supervision and oversight.
There are only five nationally recognized faiths: Chinese Buddhism, Islam, Catholicism, Protestantism, and Taoism.
Worship and religious activities are overseen by state-approved organizations. The government appoints important religious leaders and decides where places of worship can be built.