The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) released a report on State-Controlled Religion and Religious Freedom Violations in China on December 29, 2022.
The report provides an overview of the seven state-controlled national religious organizations—the Buddhist Association of China (BAC), the Chinese Taoist Association (CTA), the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association (CCPA) and Bishops’ Conference of the Catholic Church in China (BCCCC), the Protestant Three-Self Patriotic Movement (TSPM) and China Christian Council (CCC), and the Islamic Association of China (IAC)— and their local subsidiaries; and highlights their complicity of state-controlled religious organizations in the government’s systematic, ongoing, and egregious violations of religious freedom. These organizations are under the CCP’s United Front Work Department (UFWD) and the government’s State Administration for Religious Affairs (SARA).
The brief report or “Factsheet” also touches on “Sinicization of Religion” and “Sinicization and Forced Assimilation Campaigns in Xinjiang and Tibet.” For instance, sinicization campaigns in Xinjiang have led to arbitrary and extrajudicial detention of millions of Uyghurs and other Turkic Muslims, forcing Uyghurs to renounce their Islamic faith, eating pork, and gathering to burn copies of the Qur’an. Authorities have also banned traditional Islamic practices such as the wearing of beards and veils.
In Tibetan areas, the state-controlled BAC is involved in sinicization campaigns in Tibet, often implementing them in the name of “anti-separatism” and in connection with the Dalai Lama. The report states “central to the CCP’s sinicization of Tibetan Buddhism is its insistence on interfering in the reincarnation or selection process of Tibetan Buddhist leaders—including the Dalai Lama.”