We are the most effective way to get your press release into the hands of reporters and news producers. Check out our client list.

Secret Document Reveals Chinese Government's Campaign against Unregistered Churches

Contact: China Aid Association, Inc., 267-205-5210, info@ChinaAid.org; www.chinaaid.org, www.monitorchina.org

MIDLAND, Texas, November 13 /Christian Newswire/ -- CAA recently received a secret document from a reliable government source showing the Chinese government has been launching a nationwide campaign against unregistered Christian churches since July of this year.  

Photo: scanned copy of the first page of the secret document

Click here for Full Translated Text of the secret document

The "confidential" (jimi) document was issued on July 24, 2007 by Duodao District Committee Office of Jingmen Municipality of the Communist Party of China, Hubei province. The document number is listed as "Duo Ban Fa [2007] No. 18" which seems compatible with the standard way of document listing by the Chinese government. In order to protect the source, CAA has to omit the specific three-digit serial number on the top of the document.

The document entitled as "Notice on Forwarding 'Work Plan for Special Administration on Christian Activities in Duodao District' from Duodao District Committee Office of the Communist Party of China and Office of Duodao District People's Government" (Work Plan) was issued to all township and neighborhood Party committees, all people's governments, neighborhood offices, and relevant work units. According to the document, the work Plan was formulated by the Department of United Front of District Committee, District Bureau for Religious Affairs of Ethnic Minorities and Duodao Branch of Public Security Bureau.

Though this document was issued in a local level, it does reveal that the central government has directed a national campaign specifically against unregistered Christian House churches. According to the document, the secret campaign was launched "based on the relevant documents from the central government, provincial government, and municipal government and the decisions from the working conference on special administration on Christianity throughout our province." Moreover, according to "Guidelines and General Requirements" of the Work Plan, the whole campaign was urged and instructed by the National Christian Working Seminar and "leading comrades in the central government".

CAA learned that the central government convened a secret National Christian Working Seminar which is called "601 Conference" on June 1, 2007.

The purpose of the crackdown was said to "Fight against infiltration activities by hostile overseas forces under the guise of Christianity and safeguard the stability in our society and in the religious arena." By urging the government-sanctioned patriotic Christian organizations to work closely with the public security agents, the aim of the campaign is to establish" a socialized mechanism of management of religious affairs."  

According to the document, the duration of the crackdown was "set at five and a half months, starting on June 15 and ending November 30 in three phases" including propaganda, actions, and inspection.

As for the self-appointed missionaries (house church leaders), the document urges to "tackle the problem in three ways: education and stop, order them to stop their activities and crack down on their activities according to law." For those unregistered churches, the public security agencies are asked to "work with departments in charge of religious affairs and resolutely stop their activities. In the meantime, the leaders of the site should be investigated and due penalties rendered. All their illegally acquired income shall be confiscated."

Furthermore, for unauthorized churches that were found preaching "heresies, religious fanaticism, feudal superstition, or harm the physical and mental health of the people, and violate the laws of the state," the public security agencies are urged to "resolutely crack down on them and abolish them on the basis of sufficient evidence."

Finally the whole campaign was asked to be carried out in super secrecy. "Being serious internally and lax externally with strict confidentiality. We should only perform the special administration, but not talk about it. Without approval from the district's leading team for the special administration, no agencies in all the areas shall disclose the information in this document to any media. All the documents for the special administration are classified as "confidential" and must be printed in serial numbers. After the documents are used, they shall be stored at a confidential room and their content must not be disclosed."

CAA also received 4 sets of registration forms from Yu'an District, Liu'an city, Anhui province showing both the believers and their relatives are mandated to fill these forms including their personal data such as when they become Christians, who introduced and where the meeting place is, both home and work addresses, date of birth and their IDs etc.  

"This campaign is another clear example of absolute violation of the relevant international human rights covenants and China's own Constitution on protection of citizen's religious freedom," said Bob Fu, "We urge the Chinese government to stop this kind of illegal secret practice if China intends to be a true respected responsible stakeholder in the international community."

Issued By China Aid Association Inc. © November 13 2007

Full Translated Text:

(Serial Number) XXX

(Confidential)

Duodao District Committee Office of Jingmen Municipality of the Communist Party of China (Hubei Province)

Duo Ban Fa [2007] No. 18

Notice on Forwarding "Work Plan for Special Administration on Christian Activities in Duodao District" from Duodao District Committee Office of the Communist Party of China and Office of Duodao District People's Government

To all township and neighborhood Party committees, all people's governments, neighborhood offices, and relevant work units of this district:

The "Work Plan for Special Administration on Christian Activities in Duodao District" formulated by the Department of United Front of District Committee, District Bureau for Religious Affairs of Ethnic Minorities and Duodao Branch of Public Security Bureau has been approved by the District Committee and the District Government. Hereby we are forwarding this document to you. Please take it seriously in organizing your resources for its implementation.

July 24, 2007

WORK PLAN FOR SPECIAL ADMINISTRATION ON CHRISTIAN ACTIVITIES IN DUODAO DISTRICT

Based on the relevant documents from the central government, provincial government and municipal government and the decisions from the working conference on special administration on Christianity throughout our province and in light of the actual situation in our district, the Department of United Front of District Committee, District Bureau for Religious Affairs of Ethnic Minorities and Duodao Branch of Public Security Bureau have issued the following work  plan for the special administration in our whole district.

I. Guidelines and General Requirements

Fight against infiltration activities by hostile overseas forces under the guise of Christianity and safeguard the stability in our society and in the religious arena by taking as our guidelines the important instructions and gist from the National Christian Working Seminars, Province-wide Working Conference on Special Administration on Christian Affairs, City-wide Working Conference on Religious Affairs and leading comrades in the central government, by taking as key issues "protecting legal activities, stopping illegal activities, fighting against infiltration and crimes," by regarding as our principles "combination of both education and law enforcement, administration according to law, strict tackling of the problem and reasonable deployment" with the breaking point at administration according to the law of unauthorized Christian gathering sites.

II. Chief Principles

1. Uniform leadership in conjunction with division of labor should be conducted on the principle of "administration provided by different levels at areas of jurisdiction." People engaging in this work should closely rely on the Party and government organizations at the grass-roots level and the grass-roots cadres. The work should be conducted in different stages under the uniform leadership with good planning. Under the uniform leadership of the District Committee and the district government, the district leading team in charge of the religious affairs of ethnic minorities shall be placed in command and the implementation of the policy shall be organized and coordinated by departments in charge of the united front, religious and public security affairs. The departments for united front affairs shall be responsible for the overall guidance and progress of the special administration work, research on the important policy issues and the coordination. Departments in charge of religious affairs must do a good job in organizing, implementing, and promoting the work for the special administration. The public security departments should work together with departments in charge of religious affairs and do a good job in managing unauthorized sites and gatherings by missionary workers." For the illegal and criminal activities under the guise of Christianity, the departments in charge of religious affairs and the public security agencies should work together and tackle the problems according to law. Other agencies should work actively with them and ensure smooth operation in this respect.

2. The combination of administration according to law and education and persuasion. The government agency in charge of religious affairs must tackle according to law the unauthorized sites not registered with the government. As there are complicated reasons for the establishment of unauthorized sites which tend to involve many people, one must avoid simplification of the problem, avoid aggravation of the conflict which may cause new conflicts. Priorities should be given to persuasion, education, guidance, etc. Priorities should also be given to enhancing one's administrative skills. One should always persevere in the principles of unity, education of the majority of people and isolation and crackdown on the small minority and give priority to guidance, persuasion and patient and careful ideological education. At the same time when we focus on the management and prevention of illegal missionary activities, we should also combine it with opening sites for Christian activities on the reasonable basis and meeting the needs of the people for their religious life. We should further standardize the system of establishing and registering Christian sites, the certifying and filing system for Christian clergymen, and the system for activities of Christians. In this way, we can promote the normalization and standardization of activities of Christians.

3. We must combine focused administration and long-term administration and we must further improve the leadership mechanism and working mechanism for administration of religious affairs. We should improve on a continuous basis the management network for religious affairs at district, township (neighborhood) and village (residential) levels, establish the two-level system of responsibility at the township (neighborhood) and village (residential) levels and implement the task and responsibilities of administration of Christian affairs level by level down to the grass-roots and incorporate these in the tests for certification of civilization villages and townships under grass-roots administration by the criteria of overall public security and comprehensive administration.  We must make sure that religious affairs at every level is under the administration of some entity and make sure that all sites for religious activities are under proper administration where responsibilities are clearly dealt out, information flow is fast and a socialized mechanism of management of religious affairs is established that works with each other. We must fully bring into play the Christian patriotic organizations and combine the external administration by the government with the self-management by the Christians organizations themselves.

III. Time and Procedures

Work for the special administration should be conducted by the leading team in charge of the religious affairs of the ethnic minorities in the district. Members of the team shall come from United Front Department of the District Committee, District Bureau of Religious Affairs of Ethnic Minorities, Duodao Branch of Public Security Bureau, etc. Offices should be established under the leading team at the District Bureau of Religious Affairs of Ethnic Minorities. The duration of this program is temporarily set at five and a half months, starting on June 15 and ending November 30 in three phases.

1. Phase of propaganda, launch, investigation and fact-finding. (June 15 through July 20)

a. Establish the necessary mechanism and lay a solid foundation for the special administration. Establish the Duodao Leading Team for Special Administration of Christianity and learn and carry out the gist of the Province-Wide Working Conference on the Special Administration and correctly understand the goal, significance and requirements of the special administration, get the funds for the special administration, finalize the system of studying and solving the key problems in the special administration on a regular basis and establish the three-level network and two-level system of responsibility in strengthening the work in religious affairs.

b. Total investigation and getting to know the actual situation clearly. Conduct investigations on the sites established without proper authorization, house gathering sites, self-appointed missionaries, and illegal activities under the guise of Christianity. Investigations should reveal the facts about the sites of gathering, their participants, time of activities, locations and their patterns. Investigations should also be conducted on whether there is infiltration by overseas forces or whether there is underground missionary work, whether feudal superstition and heresies are involved. They should include the content of the sermons, personal history of the missionaries and their profiles, the sources of the funds, financial situations, system of activities, key members of their organizations and the ordinary people who participate in their activities. For their key members, a personal file should be established and the ordinary participants should register. In a word, we should have a clear understanding of their activities and have accurate information on them.

c. Formulate the work plan for the special administration and conduct uniform deployment for the work in the special administration.

d. Give training classes on the special administration. Organize the cadres of the special administration to study and to understand fully and correctly the policies and regulations on religious affairs understand the policies, goals, significance and requirements in the special administration and enhance the art of work and abilities in solving problems and safeguarding social stability.

2. Phase of concentrated efforts in solving problems and tackling the problems by classifying them into different categories. (July 21 through October 31)

a. Put different situations in different categories and come up with different solutions.

b. Do a good job among the people and let them become familiar with the relevant policies and regulations. Also tell them that the purpose of our administration is to safeguard their fundamental legitimate rights to make them understand us and guide them to the legitimate sites for their activities. In this way, we can reduce the barriers to our administration. As for the key members, we should give them face-to-face education and ask them not to join the organizations established without proper authorization. As for the self-appointed missionaries, we should make special efforts in educating them and stop them from preaching without going through proper procedures and demand that they work within what is allowed by the policies and regulations. As for the ordinary participants, key members and self-appointed missionaries with serious difficulties, we should regard people as the most important factor and help solve the actual hardship in their livelihood and let the ordinary believers feel in the real sense of the word the care and concern from the Party and the government and that the Party's policies on the freedom of religious belief are correct.

c. Arrange issues in categories. Standardize their activities through the following five methods: registering the sites established without proper authorization, replacing the private sites with churches, merging sites, persuading them to dismantle and abolishing the sites. As for the gathering places in private residences, confirm them with "three confirmations" (confirmation of the participants, confirmation of the locations and confirmation of requests) and then place them under our administration. For the self-appointed missionaries, we should confirm the fact first and then put their information on file. After that, we should tackle the problem in three ways: education and stop, order them to stop their activities and crack down on their activities according to law. We should do our best to place as many ordinary believers and their sites for religious activities into our legal administration so as to keep the development of Christianity reasonable, healthy, and orderly.

d. Strengthen standard administration on Christian sites and guide the people in these Christian sites into establishing charters and systems and a workable management organization so that the people on the site are united under a standard management and hold normal activities. They shall be placed under the supervision of the leading team office of the municipal government in charge of the special administration who shall give guidance and opinions and perfect the special administration in this specific area.

3. Phase of inspection, acceptance, summary and enhancement (November 1 through November 15)

a. Local authorities shall conduct their own inspections and the whole district shall organize inspections and acceptance. First, we should check if the special classes, plans and funds are in place; second, we should check if we know everything about the problem; third, we should check if the three-level networks and two-level systems of responsibility are established; fourth, we should check if solutions to the problems according their categories are in place; fifth, we should check if the system and regulations for the site are complete and if the long-term mechanism of management on the basis of law is implemented.  

b. For those that fail to pass, a time shall be set for their corrections and improvement for future re-inspection and acceptance.

c. Summarize experience and circulate it throughout the district.

d. Preparations should be made everywhere for the inspection and acceptance organized throughout the city in late November.

IV. Policies and Measures

1. The emphasis should be laid on administration of gathering sites established without proper authorization. "Gathering sites established without proper authorization" refers to the sites where people frequently hold Christian gatherings without the approval and registration papers from the government agencies in charge of religious affairs and the content of their activities or the number of people exceeds that of a family gathering in the traditional sense of the word. As for the sites established by private parties without authorization that abide by the religious rules and doctrines and that hold normal activities, they can apply for approvals and registration retroactively according to the principle of "strict enforcement and reasonable deployment" after they are educated and have corrected their behavior. They can then be re-opened and placed under the government's administration based on law. For those Christian sites that don't have many participants and where there are no places nearby where they can legally register in a timely manner, we should adopt the method of "replacing the site with the church" and let church do the administration work on a temporary basis.

For sites established without authorization where people's activities are not within what is allowed by the laws and regulations and where there are legally registered Christian churches nearby, they should be persuaded into stopping their activities or they can be incorporated into the sites sanctioned by the government for activities after being educated. For those sites established without authorization that do not abide by religious creeds or rules or collects money on various excuses, the public security agencies should work with departments in charge of religious affairs and resolutely stop their activities. In the meantime, the leaders of the site should be investigated and due penalties rendered. All their illegally acquired income shall be confiscated. For the sites established without proper authorization that preach heresies, religious fanaticism, feudal superstition, or harm the physical and mental health of the people and violate the laws of the state, the public security agencies should resolutely crack down on them and abolish them on the basis of sufficient evidence. For the believers whose sites established without proper authorization is abolished, proper arrangements should be made for them so that they have access to legal sites for their religious activities.

2.  Properly handle the gathering sites. "Gathering sites in private residences" refers to the sites of gathering mainly attended by the family members and a few of their relatives and good friends whose number is relatively small (usually not exceeding 15). At such a gathering in a private residence, the believers mainly read the Bible, pray and sing hymns. This type of household gathering is limited to "One Mainly" and "Three No's." "One Mainly" means the gathering is mainly attended by the family members and "Three No's" means "No Sermons, No Conversions and No Acceptance of Donations." As for the family gatherings in the traditional sense of the word, as long as they abide by the law and regulations and don't adversely affect the society and the normal productivity of other people or the order of life, we can allow them to exist and do not put them in the list for registration as a site for religious activities. However, they should be confirmed by agencies in charge of religious affairs (participants, locations and requirements should be confirmed) and they should be supervised and inspected by village authorities or other community grass-roots organizations.

3. Tackling self-appointed missionaries in various ways according to specific circumstances. A "self-appointed missionary" refers to a person who engages in Christian missionary activities and who has not been certified by a provincial-level Christian entity and who has not filed his information at a government agency in charge of religious affairs. Pursuant to "Filing System for Religious Clergymen" by the State Administration for Religious Affairs and "Certification System of Christian Religious Clergymen" by CCC/TSPM (China Christian Council/Three-Self Patriotic Movement), we should promote the training of Christian clergymen and other missionary workers. After they pass the tests, they can go to work with the proper certificates. We should mainly give education and reformation toward those self-appointed missionaries and tackle the problem according to different specific circumstances. For those self-appointed missionaries who have a pure belief, love China and the church and who have a certain level of knowledge in religion, we should give them education and training and let them go through the procedures of certification and filing as long as they are willing to accept the leadership of "Three-Self Patriotic Movement." For those who spread heresies, object to "Three-Self Patriotic Movement" and illegally collect money, we should educate them, prevent them from doing so, and order them to stop their activities. For those who refuse to mend their ways or to stop their activities and who engage in illegal activities of harming the health of other people and endanger the normal public order and other activities, the public security agencies should work together with agencies in charge of religious affairs and resolutely crack down on these people.

4. Properly tackle the problem of Christian fundamentalism. We should tackle the problem according to the principles of "insisting that they do Sunday service together with other Christians and give appropriate attention to the characteristics of the fundamentalists. We should enhance the positive education and guidance and dilute the sectarian sentiments and oppose all forms of activities to restore sectarian organizations. We should also give some attention to the characteristics of rituals of fundamentalists and there should be uniform rules and regulations for sharing the use of church buildings and religious activities should be arranged on a unified basis. Exclusive gatherings hosted by fundamentalist clergymen may be arranged, but no sectarian names or signs should be displayed in public. No one shall convene any sectarian conferences in any name or shall establish nation-wide or local sectarian organizations. No one shall appoint themselves or conduct ordinations, confer religious positions in the name of the sect or establish churches, gathering sites in the name of the sect or travel to other places to establish ties with other members of the same sect. The illegal sectarian organizations and institutions should be resolutely abolished according to law and the people involved shall be investigated for criminal responsibility.

V.  Work Requirements

1. Take the work seriously and act fast. Party and government leaders at all locations should take this work seriously and study the work plan seriously, implement special teams with clearly assigned responsibilities and organize a fast implementation and do a good job in supervision, inspection and guidance so as to make sure the job is done properly.

2. Act according to policies and pay attention to tactics. The most primary goal of the special administration is to include as many believers and sites for religious activities into the legal administration so as to make the development of Christianity reasonable, healthy, and orderly. For the people and sites not within the proper administration, we should neither crack down on them blindly nor let them do what they like. We should not simply enlist them into the legal administration or abolish them in a simple way. Instead, we should take into consideration all possible factors involved in this issue. First of all, we should do a good job in the relationship with the ordinary believers, starting from the first method and gradually go down until the final abolishment. We should combine the implementation of "Regulations in Religious Affairs" and the implementation of other laws and regulations and be good at using the relevant laws and regulations, good at handling religious problems in non-religious manners. We should be cautious in using the police force and avoid aggravating conflicts so as to avoid antagonism between the ordinary people and the government and prevent improper handling from becoming the excuse for the attacks by the overseas hostile forces.

3. Being serious internally and lax externally with strict confidentiality. We should only perform the special administration, but not talk about it. Without approval from the district's leading team for the special administration, no agencies in all the areas shall disclose the information in this document to any media. All the documents for the special administration are classified as "confidential" and must be printed in serial numbers. After the documents are used, they shall be stored at a confidential room and their content must not be disclosed.

Conduct strict prevention and tackle in a timely manner the activities fermenting troubles at sites established without proper authorization. The relevant agencies at all localities must watch closely the activities going on at sties established without proper authorization. In the meantime, they should discover trouble-making activities in time and provide warnings and insider's information so that they can control the trouble-making activities at these sites before they spread out. Once there is a mob assembly of trouble-makers, emergency plans should be activated immediately and resolute measures should be taken immediately so that the incidents can be neutralized on the spot and immediately.

Issued By China Aid Association Inc. © November 13 2007