China’s Crackdown On Religion

China’s Crackdown on Religion Threatens Human Rights

Presenter: Barrie Webster

February, 2019

China’s Constitution Allows Religious Belief; the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948) defends freedom of religion – ‘China’ is a signatory (but the 1949 Chinese Revolution was still to come; the ‘China’ signatory was actually Nationalist China, i.e., Taiwan)

From Muslims in the NW to Christians in the Central South – is the intention to eradicate religion or to bend it to become an agent of the Chinese state?

Podcast on China’s Muslim detention camps

The Chinese State also sees the Christian Church as a potential force for change – in fact, a threat

Protestant Missionary History in China – a result of European Imperialism

Western Religions See a Tremendous Opportunity in China

History of Islam in China – also opportunistic?


1. As Humanists, we defend human rights but we also are non-theistic (and principled) and defend the secular life-stance. And we know the dangers of binary thinking. So where should we stand on the issue of Chinese official oppression of religious minorities ?

2. Should we expect current day China to observe the Universal Declaration of Human Rights? It is inconvenient for them in an analogous way that the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples was to Canada for many years. So what should be our interpretation?

3. China is fast emerging as a world superpower. Should we fear its rise? What of human rights in this context? Is oppression of human rights on the horizon for Canadians?

4. What is the reasonable course of action for Humanists on Chinese religious oppression? Are we completely free of religious oppression in Canada? What can we learn from this?