We remain deeply concerned about the persecution of Christians on the grounds of their religion or belief in China. Our analysis is that restrictions on freedom of religion or belief in China have recently increased, with the authorities tightening their control over how certain religions are practiced.
Accordingly, I highlighted these restrictions – including on Christians across China – at the 40th session of the UN Human Rights Council in March 2019. I also set out the Government’s position when answering an Oral Question in the House of Lords; 4 April 2019, Oral Question, House of Lords, column 226. We further raised similar concerns during China’s Universal Periodic Review in November 2018.
Additionally, on 30 January 2019, the Foreign Secretary, together with the Rt Revd Philip Mounstephen, Bishop of Truro, launched an Independent Review of Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) support for persecuted Christians, including Christians in China. The Foreign Secretary has asked the Bishop to make ambitious FCO structural, policy and practice recommendations, which will be published as a Command Paper at the end of June.
We are also aware of credible reports of the closure or demolition of unregistered churches in some areas of China, the removal of crosses from buildings, and that individuals are being harassed or detained for their religious beliefs across China. Senior officials raised these concerns with Chinese authorities earlier this year, and will continue to do so.