The Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP’s) repressive actions against religion reached a new stage after the books in dozens of Buddhist temples in different provinces were destroyed amidst heavy raids.
According to Bitter Winter, a magazine devoted to religious freedom and human rights, temples in Shanxi, Jiangxi, Shandong, and Jilin provinces were raided by CCP officials and several works written by Buddhists destroyed since May.
Among the Buddhist leaders affected is Chin Kung, who was accused by the Chinese regime of colluding with the West. Given the high popularity of its publications in China, the CCP has described its teachings as contrary to China’s dominant ideology. “The state claims that Master Chin Kung cooperated with the West to oppose China and that his books’ endanger state security and must be burned and destroyed,” claimed an abbot of one of the looted temples.
His works were criticized and classified as “illegal publications” and censored for spreading “false arguments” and “endangering national freedom.”
As Taiwan News points out, other works by renowned Taiwanese abbots such as Huei Lu, and Cheng Yen, were also banned.
According to a librarian at a Buddhist library in Jilin, their staff was ordered to remove books from Taiwan and Hong Kong. The Buddhist Association of Zibo City in Shandong Province, which is also controlled by the CCP, ordered the director of a local Buddhist temple to remove every single published material without a publication number and those printed without authorization, Bitter Winter said.
The same magazine said the Binzhou City Religious Affairs office in Shandong required a local Buddhist house to turn in all written materials that did not have a publication number or were printed without authorization. “If even one ‘illegal book’ were left in the temple, I would be punished severely. The temple may also be shut down, and all monks driven out,” the site manager told Bitter Winter.
The CCP’s crackdown on religious freedom has been heavily criticized by the United States, especially by the Donald Trump administration. In a religious freedom report issued in 2019, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo criticized the Chinese regime for forcing religious groups to “infuse communist dogma into their teachings.
The United States has also condemned the human rights violations directed against the Uighur ethnic minority in northwest China’s Xinjiang region and the widespread repression of the Christian faith in the country and its intense regulation under the guidelines of the CCP through the Patriotic Movement of the Three Autonomies.
Another group intensely persecuted by the Chinese regime is a spiritual discipline of the Buddha school, Falun Dafa, better known as Falun Gong, which since July 1999, has been the victim of an intense campaign of persecution that has left thousands of dead throughout the country.
In a recent communiqué, on the occasion of the commemoration of the 21st anniversary of Falun Gong members and supporters’ persecution, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo urged the Chinese regime to put a definitive end to the persecution against that spiritual discipline.
“Extensive evidence shows the PRC government continues to repress and abuse this community to this day, including reported torture of Falun Gong practitioners and detention of thousands,” said the U.S. Secretary of State.