China (Includes Tibet, Xinjiang, Hong Kong, and Macau)
Section III. Status of Societal Respect for Religious Freedom
Because the government and individuals closely link religion, culture, and ethnicity, it was difficult to categorize many incidents of societal discrimination as being solely based on religious identity. The Council on Foreign Relations reported religious and ethnic minority groups, such as Tibetan Buddhists and Uighur Muslims, experienced institutionalized discrimination throughout the country because of both their religious beliefs and their status as ethnic minorities with distinct languages and cultures.
Anti-Muslim speech in social media remained widespread, despite the government’s announcement in September 2017 that it would censor some anti-Muslim expression on the internet.
In some online forums, anti-Muslim speech regarding the Hui Muslims in Shadian, Yunnan Province persisted. Some individuals said imams in Shadian colluded with Rohingya Muslims from Burma on drug use and drug trafficking in Shadian. Other criticisms in these online forums include labelling the imams in Shadian as radicals for encouraging Hui Muslims in the city to marry Rohingya individuals and not to send their children to school.
Despite labor law provisions against discrimination in hiring based on religious belief, some employers openly discriminated against religious believers. Some Protestant Christians reported employers terminated their employment due to their religious activities. There were also reports from Falun Gong practitioners that employers dismissed them for practicing Falun Gong. In some instances, landlords discriminated against potential or current tenants based on their religious beliefs. Falun Gong practitioners reported having a very difficult time finding landlords who would rent them apartments. Following government crackdowns in May and December, members of the Early Rain Covenant Church in Chengdu, Sichuan Province, reported local authorities pressured their landlords to evict them due to their affiliation with the unregistered church. The members also said their universities and employers received pressure from the local authorities to expel them from the schools or terminate their employment.
The Guardian reported Uighurs faced difficulty in finding accommodation because local hotels frequently told Uighur visitors no rooms were available. One individual, who was initially mistaken as a foreigner, said hotel staff denied him entry to a hotel after they saw the word Uighur on his Chinese identification card. Hotels are required to report on guests to local police authorities, and hoteliers could face punishment for hosting Uighurs.
On April 19, the son of a pastor from the Shenzhen-based Canaan House Church in Guangdong Province said the church’s landlord relented to authorities’ pressure to terminate the lease and cut off the church’s electrical supply. The pastor’s son said the church faced “constant persecution” after unidentified people repeatedly harassed the church, broke into the church’s property, and requested members leave the building for what authorities said were safety or fire hazards.
On July 5, a Uighur woman in Shenzhen, Guangdong Province reportedly posted a letter online addressed to Shenzhen Party Secretary Wang Weizhong complaining about the frustrating restrictions she experienced as an ethnic minority in finding a rental apartment. The Uighur woman identified herself as a CCP member holding a senior management position in a big company in Shenzhen. After receiving discouraging messages from the local community, several landlords broke her rental contracts. Local officials told the woman they required her landlord and her to report in person each week to the police, which she said no landlord wanted to do. The woman was staying in a colleague’s apartment at year’s end.