|Chinese citizens enjoy freedom of religion in accordance with the law. These facts are well known.
— Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang (August 8, 2008)
|[T]he problem of ‘religious persecution’ does not exist in China.
— Spokesman for the Religious Affairs Bureau
of the State Council
(October 14, 1999)
In the history of modern China, religious freedom has been and continues to be a highly sensitive topic. Within the dominant official narrative of contemporary Chinese history, religion has often been characterized as both “feudal” and “foreign,” hence justifying the state’s pervasive control over religious activities.
The Cultural Revolution of the 1960s, which included aggressive campaigns to eliminate virtually all forms of religious belief and worship in China, has been acknowledged by present-day government officials as “a profound, costly lesson.” In contrast, the post-Mao leadership has formally permitted limited freedom of religious belief, subject to extensive legal and regulatory restrictions on religious behavior.
Recent events continue to highlight underlying tensions between state-sanctioned images of religious tolerance, and the reality of practicing one’s faith in China. The official website of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games invited spectators to visit a list of “recommended” religious sites, declaring that “religious activities are carried out in Buddhist temples, Taoist temples, mosques, and churches in Beijing.” At the same time, the Games and their aftermath have been accompanied by reports of abduction of Christian house church activists, harassment of ethnic Uyghur Muslims, continuing persecution of Tibetan Buddhist monks, an ongoing ban of the practice of Falun Gong and “reeducation” of Falun Gong practitioners, and intensified religious persecution even after the Games.
Despite the government’s best efforts in recent times to present harmonious images of religious tolerance, the fact remains that in modern China, the state maintains a firm and intrusive grip on spiritual affairs.
China’s Obligations to Respect Freedom of Religion
Within the established framework of international human rights norms, the right to freedom of religious belief and practice is recognized as a fundamental human right.
The right to freedom of religion is enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), and International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).
UDHR, Article 18: “Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.”
ICESCR, Article 13: Provides for the liberty of parents to choose schools for their children that “ensure the religious and moral education of their children in conformity with their own convictions.”
CRC, Article 14(1): “States Parties shall respect the right of the child to freedom of thought, conscience and religion….”
CRC, Article 30: Provides for the right of ethnic or indigenous minority children “in community with other members of his or her group…to profess and practice his or her own religion.”
ICCPR, Article 18(1): “Everyone shall have the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion. This right shall include freedom to have or to adopt a religion or belief of his choice, and freedom, either individually or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in worship, observance, practice and teaching.”
ICCPR, Article 27: Provides for the right of “ethnic, religious or linguistic minorities” to “profess and practice their own religion.”
The Chinese government has signed and ratified both the ICESCR and the CRC. China has also signed, but not yet ratified, the ICCPR, and is therefore obligated to respect the spirit and intent of the ICCPR provisions for religious freedom.
The domestic legal framework on religious education for ethnic minorities is grounded in the Constitution of the People's Republic of China (中华人民共和国宪法) and the 2005 Regulations on Religious Affairs (宗教事务条例).
Article 36 of the PRC Constitution states that Chinese citizens shall enjoy the freedom of religious belief. It protects “normal religious activities” and prohibits “activities that disrupt public order, impair the health of citizens, or interfere with the educational system of the state.” These terms, however, are not further elaborated upon and can and have been arbitrarily applied. Moreover, other national laws and regulations, such as the expansive State Secrets Law, provide a broad brush of “national security” and “public order” that is used to justify restrictions on the rights of citizens, including freedom of religion.
The 2005 Religious Regulations provide the most comprehensive Chinese law governing religious activity in China. The law was hailed by Chinese officials as a fundamental shift in the treatment of religious affairs, since it provides safeguards for religious belief and practice (Ch. 1, Article 2) and curtails administrative control while granting some measure of autonomy to religious groups. Critics have argued, however, that such detailed regulations end up being used as instruments of control rather than protection, and that government actions do not live up to the law’s provisions. Other problems include vague terminology, lack of definitions, and the law’s failure to provide for protection of freedom of association in the name of preserving national security and public order. The Regulations articulate general protection only for freedom of “religious belief,” leaving uncertain protection of public expressions of religion.
Government Control over Religious Activity
The PRC government uses an extensive hierarchal network comprising state and Party organs and government-organized non-governmental organizations (GONGOs) to control religious activities. On the government side, the State Council issues regulations concerning religious affairs, such as the 2005 Religious Regulations, which states that “citizens enjoy freedom of religious belief.” However, it is the Party that shapes the environment in which regulations are carried out (see chart below).
On the Party side, the Central Committee of the CPC’s United Front Work Department (UFWD) (中共中央统一战线工作部 – 简称“统战部”) supervises and provides policy guidance to the State Administration for Religious Affairs (SARA) (国家宗教事务局) – the highest-level state organ concerning religious affairs – on the implementation of regulations on religious activities. SARA, together with all levels of Public Security Bureaus and Religious Affairs Bureaus, monitors and judges the legitimacy of religious activities. The activities of each faith are managed by state-sanctioned Patriotic Religious Associations (PRAs).
The majority of Christian groups are not PRA members, because they face bureaucratic obstacles when trying to register or refuse to comply with a PRA that implicitly puts submission to the CPC before God. They operate in a risky environment – either in secret underground house churches or at the whim of the various supervisory departments that could crack down at any moment. This structure insures strict oversight of registered religious groups by the Party and government, while providing very little protection for unregistered groups.
The following chart provides a general overview of the relationships between the various actors under the existing scheme of control.
Brief Survey of Religious Persecution and Control
|China is making efforts to overcome the influence of such feudal superstitions and decadent ideas and to develop a modern socialist culture.
— President Jiang Zemin, October 1999
The state officially recognizes five religions: Catholicism, Protestantism, Islam, Buddhism, and Taoism. Other religions, such as Judaism and Hinduism, are also practiced in China, as well as indigenous and folk religions. Depending on perspective, Falun Gong has been called a religion, a spiritual movement, a meditative practice, or, in the words of the government, “an evil cult.”
Local authorities and security officers use harassment, threats, detention, or physical attacks to punish unregistered religious groups and their followers, sometimes sentencing them to Reeducation-Through-Labor, an administrative process without judicial oversight. Some religious followers have been prosecuted, imprisoned, and even executed on trumped-up charges.
Catholicism was introduced to China as early as the 7th century, but did not spread more widely until after the Opium War in 1840. In 1957, Chinese authorities separated China’s Catholic Church from the Roman Catholic Church, and relations between the Chinese government and the Vatican continue to be both complex and strained. Even now, Vatican diplomats are based in Taipei, not Beijing. Catholics in China describe the Catholic Church there as having “two faces” – the government-established Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association (中国天主教爱国会) (CPCA) and the Roman Catholic Church that has been deemed illegal and operates underground. Underground Catholic churches operate outside the CPCA and generally recognize the Pope. Underground clergy are not registered per the Religious Regulations, as registration requires confirmation by the CPCA and celebrating Mass within a CPCA church. In some areas, local officials do not always move to close underground churches, because either they do not see them as threatening or they spot an opportunity to collect fees or fines. Other times, these unofficial churches are vulnerable to official repression, and underground clergy have been imprisoned for refusing to recognize the authority of China’s “patriotic” Catholic Church and its bishops.
The authorities maintain control over the official Chinese Catholic church via the CPCA and the Chinese Catholic Bishops College (中国天主教主教团). Thus far, the authorities continue to resist the Vatican’s selection of bishops and other leadership appointments for the Catholic Church in China.
Protestantism was introduced in China during the 7th century when the Oriental Church of the Nestorians entered the country. Throughout various periods of Chinese history, Protestants in China have suffered persecution by the authorities. According to ChinaAid, a US-based NGO, “[Protestants] in churches unrecognized by the socialist regime in Beijing continue to be harassed, oppressed, arrested, imprisoned, tortured, and murdered for their faith.”
Both state-sanctioned churches and underground house churches exist in China. House churches, which are the subject of active persecution by the authorities, exist as small, unregistered entities not subject to government regulations and restrictions on religious activities.
The authorities maintain control over state-sanctioned Protestant churches via the Three-self Patriotic Movement Committee of the Protestant Churches in China (中国基督教三自爱国运动委员会) and the China Christian Council (中国基督教协会).
Human Rights in China has been monitoring the following two cases of repression of religious freedom:
Hua Huiqi (华惠棋), a Beijing house church-member/activist, and his mother Shuang Shuying (双淑英), also a Christian, have been harassed, detained, beaten, and imprisoned by the authorities both for their religious activities and for petitioning the government over the loss of their home. Shuang Shuying, 77, remains in Beijing Women’s Prison, where she is currently the oldest inmate. Hua Huiqi had to hide for a few days in August 2008 after escaping from police who seized him on his way to a service at a state-sanctioned church that U.S. President George Bush was invited to attend.
On May 2, 2008, Chengdu religious affairs authorities and public security officers raided a gathering at Chengdu Qiuyu Blessings Church, a house church, and told participants they were “suspected of being involved in illegal religious practices.” Authorities seized Bibles and other religious materials and detained the church members.
Islam has been in China since the year 650. The majority of Muslims in China are members of various ethnic minorities. Like other religions, Islamic activities were brutally suppressed during the Cultural Revolution, when mosques were attacked and believers prosecuted and strictly prohibited from attending the Hajj pilgrimage. Despite official recognition of state-sanctioned Islam, the government has not loosened its tight grip on Islamic practices, particularly in areas like the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR).
Established in 1952, the Chinese Islamic Association (中国伊斯兰教协会) implements government religious policies and maintains full control over Islamic education, translation and publication of classic texts, and the development of rules and regulations governing Islamic practice.
In the case of the XUAR, the authorities continue to link the Islamic faith to political separatism. There are continuing tensions between the authorities and the local Uyghur inhabitants. The authorities view the Islamic faith as a key element of Uyghur-Muslim ethnic identity, and have taken steps to repress the Islamic faith and its practice among Uyghurs, including confiscating passports of Uyghur Muslim citizens or detaining them for possession of unauthorized religious texts.
Several laws, both national and local, govern ethnic and religious affairs in the XUAR, including the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region Implementing Measures to the Law on the Protection of Minors (新疆维吾尔自治区实施《未成年人保护法》办法) (“XUAR Implementing Measures”), effective September 25, 1993. The Implementing Measures prohibit children from entering places that are “unsuitable for minors.” Article 14 of the XUAR Implementing Measures explicitly states that parents and legal guardians may not allow minors to participate in religious activities. This law has been used by local officials to make it difficult for young people to receive religious education and training. In addition, XUAR authorities often suppress public expressions of faith, including fasting and prayer, especially during Ramadan. Combined with national laws such as the Rules for the Implementation of the Provisions on the Administration of Religious Activities of Aliens within the Territory of the PRC (中华人民共和国境内外国人宗教活动管理规定), the net effect is the gradual erosion of the cultural and religious heritage of ethnic minorities in the XUAR.
Mahayana Buddhism was introduced to China from India in the 6th Century AD. Most Chinese Buddhists, especially ethnic Han, practice Mahayana Buddhism, while the majority of Tibetans and ethnic Mongolians practice Tibetan Buddhism. The Chinese Buddhist community was severely suppressed during the Cultural Revolution. Despite the fact that the state has pursued a more tolerant religious policy since 1976, Buddhist religious establishments must still adhere to highly-restrictive state policies.
The Chinese Buddhists Association (中国佛教协会) was founded in 1953 to bring all Buddhist practices under state control. In one instance of political retribution, the Association in 2006 expelled a master of Huacheng Temple in Jiangxi province after he performed a religious ritual out of respect for people killed in the 1989 Tiananmen Massacre.
Tibetan Buddhism may be traced back to as early as the reign of the 28th king of Tibet in the fifth century when Buddhist scriptures and relics arrived in southern Tibet. Buddhists in Tibet and the Inner Mongolian Autonomous Region face more constraints on their religious practices and places of worship than Buddhists elsewhere in China. For example, “patriotic education” campaigns are required of Tibetan Buddhist monks and nuns, sometimes including formal denunciations of the Dalai Lama.
Besides the 2005 religious regulatons, another law governing Tibetan Buddhism is the Tibet Autonomous Region Implementing Measures for the Regulation on Religious Affairs (西藏自治区实施《宗教事务条例》办法(试行) ) (“TAR Implementing Measures”). The Implementing Measures are used by officials to curb Tibetan nationalism and stop religious activities deemed “unlawful” by the authorities. Authorities have issued strict quotas on the number of monks and nuns allowed to be in residence at monasteries and nunneries at any one time. Only several hundred monks remain in major Tibetan monasteries today, where there were once thousands. Tibetans have reported that Party members and civil servants face expulsion and dismissal if they pray at Buddhist temples in Lhasa.
Possibly traced to prehistoric religions in China, Taoism has embedded itself deeply into Chinese life and culture. Taoism, like other religions designated as “superstition,” was banned in Mao Zedong’s era and its practitioners were persecuted and maltreated during the Cultural Revolution. After Mao Zedong’s death in 1976, the state’s suppression of Taoism relented to a certain extent.
The Chinese Taoist Association (中国道教协会), established in 1957, assists the government in enforcing national laws and social unity and implementing religious policies. This oversight includes control over activities such as the ordination of monks and the publication of Taoist religious materials.
Regarded as an off-shoot of the larger qigong movement in China, Falun Gong was founded in 1992 by Li Hongzhi (李洪志). Qigong, which can be traced back thousands of years in China, incorporates elements of health, meditation, and spirituality. At first, Falun Gong was allowed to spread in major cities and was supported by state-run qigong organizations. For example, Li was previously honored with numerous awards and his activities were sponsored in part by the state-sponsored China Qigong Scientific Research Association.
In a matter of years, Falun Gong grew to become a mass movement viewed as threat by the authorities. On April 25, 1999, more than 10,000 Falun Gong practitioners lined the streets near Zhongnanhai, the compound in Beijing that houses the highest-level CPC leaders, to make an appeal for the release of practitioners who were allegedly beaten and arrested in Tianjin.
The “April 25th incident” was a turning point after which the authorities decided to embark on a policy of aggressive persecution. In July 1999, the government labeled the Falun Gong group “an illegal organization” and prohibited the posting and distribution of Falun Gong materials, as well as the followers’ spiritual practice, assembly, and demonstration, threatening those who disobeyed with criminal penalties. Falun Gong was clearly defined by the state press as “a political force opposed to the CPC and the central government.”
In October 1999, President Jiang Zemin said that “Falun Gong in China, like the cults in the United States, Japan and Europe, is harmful to the society and people and should not be allowed to go unchecked.” He added: “China is making efforts to overcome the influence of such feudal superstitions and decadent ideas and to develop a modern socialist culture.”
According to China’s Criminal Law, people who organize “evil religious organizations” can be sentenced to prison for three to seven years or longer in more severe cases. However, due to the vagueness and limitation of this provision, on October 9, 1999, the Supreme People’s Court and the Supreme People’s Procuratorate jointly issued a clear decision defining “heretical sects” and laying out sentencing guidelines. On October 30, 1999, the National People’s Congress promulgated a decision that banned heretical organizations and punished cult activities.
In June 1999, the government established the “Office 6-10,” an extra-constitutional unit specially designated to coordinate and execute a nationwide crackdown on Falun Gong. Today, Falun Gong practitioners are subjected to Reeducation-Through-Labor sentences, detention in “mental institutions” and “brainwashing centers,” and beatings and torture during detention and imprisonment.
 “Bush Speaks of Free Expression at U.S. Embassy Dedication”, CNN, August 8, 2008, http://www.cnn.com/2008/POLITICS/08/07/bush.china.olympics/index.html.
 “China Refutes U.S. Charges on Religious Freedom”, Embassy of the People’s Republic of China, October 14, 1999, http://www.china-embassy.org/eng/zt/zjxy/t36496.htm.
 See, e.g., Ye Xiaowen, “China’s Religions Retrospect and Prospect” (address, Chung Chi College, Chinese University, Hong Kong, February 19, 2001), http://www.china.org.cn/english/features/45466.htm.
 See ChinaAid, “A History of Persecution in China,” http://chinaaid.org/persecution/history-of-persecution-in-china/.
 Ye Xiaowen, “China’s Religions Retrospect and Prospect” (address, Chung Chi College, Chinese University, Hong Kong, February 19, 2001), http://www.china.org.cn/english/features/45466.htm.
 Pitman B. Potter, “Belief in Control: Regulation of Religion in China,” The China Quarterly (2003), Vol. 174 , http://journals.cambridge.org/production/action/cjoGetFulltext?fulltextid=164856.
 Human Rights in China, “In Hiding, Beijing House Church Activist Hua Huiqi Appeals for Help,” August 11, 2008, http://www.hrichina.org/public/contents/67887.
 International Campaign for Tibet, “A Choked Silence; Images from Tibet of Crackdown,” October 31, 2008, http://savetibet.org/news/newsitem.php?id=1378.
 ChinaAid, “Persecution Intensifies after the Olympics,” October 29, 2008, http://chinaaid.org/2008/10/29/persecution-intensifies-after-olympics/.
 Universal Declaration of Human Rights, G.A. res. 217A (III), U.N. Doc A/810 (1948), http://www.un.org/Overview/rights.html.
 International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, G.A. res. 2200A (XXI) (1966), http://www2.ohchr.org/english/law/cescr.htm
 Convention on the Rights of the Child, G.A. res. 44/25 (1989), http://www2.ohchr.org/english/law/crc.htm.
 International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, G.A. res. 2200A (XXI), U.N. Doc. A/6316 (1966), http://www2.ohchr.org/english/law/ccpr.htm.
 PRC Constitution [中华人民共和国民宪法] Art. 36 (1982), http://english.people.com.cn/constitution/constitution.html.
 For a comprehensive discussion of the PRC State Secrets Law, see Human Rights in China, State Secrets: China's Legal Labyrinth (New York: Human Rights in China, 2007), http://www.hrichina.org/public/contents/41500.
 Regulations on Religious Affairs [宗教事务条例], issued by the State Council [国务院], promulgated and effective on March 1, 2005, http://www.gov.cn/xxgk/pub/govpublic/mrlm/200803/t20080328_31641.html.
 Congressional-Executive Commission on China, 2006 Annual Report, http://www.cecc.gov/pages/annualRpt/annualRpt06/Religion.html.
 Regulations on Religious Affairs [宗教事务条例], issued by the State Council [国务院], promulgated and effective on March 1, 2005, Article 2, http://www.gov.cn/xxgk/pub/govpublic/mrlm/200803/t20080328_31641.html.
 “China: International Religious Freedom Report 2008,” Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, September 19, 2008, http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/irf/2008/108404.htm.
 “Falun Gong: an Evil Cult,” Embassy of the PRC in the United States, January 2000, http://www.china-embassy.org/eng/zt/ppflg/t36582.htm.
 Hangzhou Intermediate People's Court, Criminal Verdict [浙江省杭州市中级人民法院【刑事判决书】], No. 39 (2004) [(2004)杭刑初字第39号], August 6, 2008, http://www.34law.com/lawal/case/655/case_4689384389.shtml; “‘Zhongguo chujie 15 ming dixia jiaohui chengyuan’” [“中国处决15名地下教会成员”], British Broadcasting Corporation, November 29, 2006, http://news.bbc.co.uk/chinese/simp/hi/newsid_6190000/newsid_6195200/6195204.stm.
 “China’s Underground Catholics Hope Pope Will Clarify Church Relations,” Catholic News Service, February 1, 2007, http://www.catholicnews.com/data/stories/cns/0700624.htm.
 Jeff Israel, “The Pope Reaches Out to China,” Time, July 3, 2007, http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1639679,00.html.
 See Cardinal Kung Foundation, http://www.cardinalkungfoundation.org/index2.html.
 “Explanatory Note: Letter of His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI to Chinese Catholics,” May 27, 2007, http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xvi/letters/2007/documents/hf_ben-xvi_let_20070527_china-note_en.html.
 Religious Regulations, Art. 27.
 “China’s Underground Catholics Hope Pope Will Clarify Church Relations,” Catholic News Service, February 1, 2007, http://www.catholicnews.com/data/stories/cns/0700624.htm.
 Philip Pan, “Up from the Underground,” Washington Post, April 29, 2005, http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/04/28/AR2005042801665.html.
 Pope Benedict XVI, “Letter of the Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI to the Bishops, Priests, Consecrated Persons and Lay Faithful of The Catholic Church in the People's Republic Of China,” May 27, 2007, http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xvi/letters/2007/documents/hf_ben-xvi_let_20070527_china_en.html.
 Ulrich Theobald, “Christianity (Jidujiao 基督教, Tianzhujiao 天主教),” CHINAKNOWLEDGE, http://www.chinaknowledge.de/Literature/Religion/christianity.html.
 ChinaAid, “Persecution in China,” http://chinaaid.org/persecution/.
 Provisions on the Administration of Religious Activities of Aliens Within the Territory of the People's Republic of China [中华人民共和国境内外国人宗教活动管理规定], issued by the State Council [国务院], promulgated and effective January 31, 1994, Art.4, http://www.jsmzzj.gov.cn/newsfiles/104/2008-06/1956.shtml.
 Stuart C. Strother, “The Chinese at Worship: Official and Underground Christianity,” Christian Century, August 26, 2008, http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1058/is_/ai_n28569888.
 Human Rights in China, “About the Individual: Shuang Shuying,” August 1, 2008, http://www.ir2008.com/08/about.html; Human Rights in China, “In Hiding, Beijing House Church Activist Hua Huiqi Appeals for Help,” August 11, 2008, http://www.hrichina.org/public/contents/67887.
 Human Rights in China, “Chinese Authorities Raid Religious Gathering, Confiscate Bibles, Detain Church Members,” May 8, 2008, http://www.hrichina.org/public/contents/51443.
 Chinese Islamic Association, “Xiehui jieshao” [协会简介], http://www.chinaislam.net.cn/article/2006-10/20061025012631265.html.
 Human Rights in China and Human Rights Watch, Devastating Blows: Religious Repression of Uyghurs in Xinjiang (2005), http://www.hrw.org/reports/2005/china0405/index.htm; “Chinese Curbs Leave Uyghur Youth in Crisis,” Radio Free Asia, February 6, 2008, http://www.rfa.org/english/news/2008/02/06/uyghur_youth; “No Children Allowed in Xinjiang Churches,” AsiaNews, March 30, 2005, http://www.asianews.it/index.php?l=en&art=2898.
 Barbara O'Brien, “Buddhism in China and Tibet Today,” About.com, http://buddhism.about.com/od/vajrayanabuddhism/a/Chinareport.htm.
 Human Rights in China, “Top Buddhist Officials Join in Persecution of Activist Monk,” August 23, 2006, http://www.hrichina.org/public/contents/30305.
 “Zhongguo Daojiao Xiehui” [中国道教协会], http://www.taoist.org.cn/zuzhi/zhongguodj/zhongguodj.htm; “Jia Attends China Taoist Association's 50th Founding Anniversary,”Xinhua News Agency, September 19, 2007,
 Andreas Lorenz, “The Influence of Taoism in Communist China,” Speigel International, September 2, 2007, http://www.spiegel.de/international/spiegel/0,1518,465055,00.html.
 David Ownby, “Statement: Unofficial Religions in China: Beyond the Party's Rules,” 2005, http://www.cecc.gov/pages/roundtables/052305/Ownby.html
 “Governmental Awards and Recognition of Falun Dafa from China and the World,” Falun Dafa ClearWisdom.net, http://www.clearwisdom.net/emh/special_column/recognition.html.
 “Behind the April 25 Incident,” Falun Dafa Information Center, April 8, 2001, http://www.faluninfo.net/article/518/.
 On July 22, 1999, the government-controlled China Central Television (CCTV) announced the three government decisions intended to wipe out the Falun Gong: “Guanyu gongchandangyuan buzhun xiulian ‘Falun Dafa’ de tongzhi” [关于共产党员不准修炼"法轮大法"的通知], issued by the Central Committee of the CPC [中国共产党中央委员会] on July 19, 2008; “Guanyu qudi Falun Dafa yanjiu hui de jueding” [关于取缔法轮大法研究会的决定], issued by the Ministry of Civil Affairs [民政部], promulgated and effective on July 22, 1999,http://www1.peopledaily.com.cn/GB/channel1/10/20000706/132286.html; and “Zhonghua renmin gongheguo gong'anbu tonggao” [中华人民共和国公安部通告], http://www.fmcoprc.gov.hk/chn/zt/2003zt/jpflg/t50310.htm; all per Duan Qiming [段启明], “Qudi Falun Gong shi shunying minxin, zhiguo lizheng de zhongda jucuo” [取缔法轮功是顺应民心、治国理政的重大举措], Kaiwind [凯风网], July 19, 2007, http://news.xinhuanet.com/politics/2007-07/20/content_6406477.htm.
 “Xinhua Commentary on Political Nature of Falun Gong,” People's Daily, August 2, 1999, http://english.peopledaily.com.cn/english/199908/02/enc_19990802001003_TopNews.html.
 “President Jiang Zemin Comments on Falun Gong's Harms,” Embassy of the People’s Republic of China, October 25, 1999, http://www.china-embassy.org/eng/zt/ppflg/t36565.htm.
 Criminal Law (as revised in 1997), article 300, http://www.people.com.cn/item/flfgk/cyflfg/c003.html.
 “Guanyu banli zuzhi he liyong xiejiao zuzhi fanzui anjian juti yingyong falü ruogan wenti de jieshi” [关于办理组织和利用邪教组织犯罪案件具体应用法律若干问题的解释], issued by the Supreme People's Court and the Supreme People's Procuratorate [最高人民法院、最高人民检察院], promulgated and effective October 9, 1999, http://www.lxjcy.gov.cn/show_hdr.php?xname=1EGVA11&dname=P4KHVV0&xpos=21.
 “Guanyu qudi xiejiao zuzhi, fangfan he chengzhi xiejiao huodong de jueding” [关于取缔邪教组织、防范和惩治邪教活动的决定], issued by the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress [全国人民代表大会常务委员会], promulgated and effective October 30, 1999, http://news.xinhuanet.com/legal/2003-01/21/content_699651.htm.
 Richard C. Morais, “China's Fight with Falun Gong,” Forbes, February 9, 2006, http://www.forbes.com/technology/2006/02/09/falun-gong-china_cz_rm_0209falungong.html.