The Chinese constitution is supposed to guarantee freedom of religion. However, the Chinese Communist Party decides what religion is, and everything else is banned.
On Sept. 13, Chairman of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom Nury Turkel talked about a new crackdown on religion in China, through further online control.
Many religious groups are banned and persecuted in China, such as Uyghur Muslims, Tibetan Buddhists, underground Catholic and Protestant house church Christians, and Falun Gong practitioners, to name a few.
Some state-sanctioned religions are allowed, but all activities of these religions must be under the permission and control of the Chinese government. Islam and Christianity are no exceptions when the government sets strict requirements.
According to the New York Times, in 2016, the CCP ordered the removal of 1,200 crosses from churches in Zhejiang province. A protesting pastor was sentenced to 14 years in prison for refusing to remove a crucifix from his church.
Recently, the level of control has increased, now the government is controlling even more the activities of religions on the internet.
As reported by The Paper, authorities in China launched a mass training program to remove non-governmental religious content from the internet to control religious activities in March this year.
At the Sept. 13 hearing of the Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC), Nury Turkel testified on the “Control of Religion in China through Digital Authoritarianism.”
Nury Turkel said that Chinese authorities have recruited many censors to target religious content on the internet. This has had a negative impact on believers when these communities conduct activities and connect via online platforms during the government’s strict pandemic control.
He added, “The regulation also imposes tighter restrictions on state-sanctioned religious groups. These groups are required to submit detailed information to authorities to apply for a permit to operate online.”
He points out that these “Measures for the Administration of Internet Religious Information Services” are equivalent to a total ban on religious practice, as many groups can no longer attend religious services online or offline.
The Chinese government not only restricts the use of the internet by religious figures to communicate and preach but also uses technology to suppress religious figures.
The desire for thought control is so strong that the PLA’s Academy of Military Sciences is trying to develop a brain control weapon.
According to the U.S. Business Insider, the Chinese Communist Party is trying to develop brain-controlled weapons for cognitive control operations to physically and digitally supervise those under its control. It’s a technology that will be used both domestically and internationally.
VOA quoted Turkel as saying that this weapon would essentially control the communication between the body and brain. This is something that the world needs to pay attention to.