Fears rise for Christian freedoms in China as BBC Panorama reveals "re-education camps" for Muslims

Tue 26 Nov 2019
By Heather Preston

Concerns have risen for the religious freedoms of Christians in China following a BBC Panorama programme on the oppressive treatment towards minority Muslims.

The documentary, "How to Brainwash a Million people" came out on Tuesday, revealing how Uighur Muslims are being "re-educated" at a network of high security detention centres there to change their behaviour, beliefs and language.

Religious freedom charity Open Doors places China at number 27 on a watch list for countries where Christians experience the most extreme persecution.

An analysist of the Open Doors' world watch list, Julia Bicknell, told Premier that Christian beliefs are also seen as a "threat" to the state.


"China is suspicious of anything that does not put the Communist Party and the current president as the number one priority."

According to Bicknell, even the chairman of the state-sanctioned Protestant church accused Christianity of trying to subvert China's political power in a statement earlier this year.

"When you know that and you know the Government wants to control what people believe and how they respond to the Communist party, then that's cause for concern," she added.

Bicknell fears for the freedoms of Christians to express and demonstrate their faith as "mass control" continues to grow.

She said: "Chinese Christians, can't even share a live sermon from a church online anymore. It's forbidden. If you want to share something a Christian resource online, you have to get a licence."

Bicknall went on to describe the level of surveillance many Christian churches there face including CCTV cameras on the doors and fingerprint recognition saying Christians fear being arrested or "trapped" by a government that "thinks it's dangerous to believe in Christianity".

China's UK ambassador, Liu Xiaoming has dismissed claims that the camps are "brainwashing" Muslims at a press conference, dubbing the accusations as "fake news".

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