Isn’t Religious Persecution in China Contrary to Beijing’s Soft Power Image Projection?

China is going to outrageous lengths to tighten religious freedom

There is no denying the fact that China continues to be Pakistan’s all weather friend. CPEC which is a part of the OROB grand initiative is bound to bring economic prosperity.  However China today, despite making tremendous efforts in promoting its soft power as it strives to become a global power, is doing its best to conceal its dark side.  The Chinese President Xi Jinping during his visit to Germany in 2017 expressed his desire to make the world a better place. Nevertheless, quite contrary to Xi Jinping’s statement, China has taken the lead in persecuting religious minorities.  Buddhism, Daoism, Islam and Protestant Christianity are the five recognized religions practiced in Communist China. However an excerpt from an official Communist party recording stated in the Atlantic suggests that religion is seen in Communist China as a mental illness.  It is obviously true that religious minorities are suffering in China but Chinese Christians and Muslims are experiencing harassment, detention and abuse on a higher level.

Persecution of Christians in China

According to Open doors watch list, China has risen to 27 on the 2019 world watch list.  As stated in this report, China rose 16 spots last year on the world watch list. However this year as Persecution against Chinese Christians has intensified, China has risen to seven points on the World watch list.  The Chinese government despite making claims that it respects religious freedom has strictly forbidden children under the age of 18 from attending churches. Burning of Bibles, closing churches, forcing Christians to denounce their faith and putting them in detention are common practices in Communist China.

Persecution of Muslims in China 

Chinese Muslims are also facing a lot of persecution in Communist China.  According to UN and US reports, one million Muslims are being held in internment camps.  Uighur’s large ethnic Muslim minority continues to face persecution as they are detained, tortured and forced to denounce their faith. According to reports former inmates have informed of going through an indoctrination process for months whist detained in these camps.  Furthermore these detained Muslims are forced to eat pork and drink alcohol which is prohibited in Islam. There have been reports of torture and death of Uighur Muslims in these camps.

Since the mid 2000’s ,China has realized that importance of projecting its soft power instead of using hard power in order to become a global power.  With the passage of time ,China has clearly understood that attracting other states is a prerequisite in eventually emerging as a global power.  Therefore despite emerging as a military and an economic power, now China has adopted the strategy of projecting its soft power. However what is done to Chinese minority inside the country is quite contradictory to the image that China is trying to create internationally. As China continues to exert its global influence, persuading China to stop persecuting its minorities needs a lot of effort on the part of the international community.


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