The absence of religious freedom is even more evident in China because the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is using the pandemic to continue to detain the faithful who attend religious services, even if it is virtually through internet platforms such as Zoom.

This was denounced by the president and CEO of the Christian charity Open Doors, David Curry, which helps Christians who are victims of persecution around the world caused by governments or civil society, according to Breitbart on Jan. 14.

As part of its activities to assist religious groups suffering for their faith, Open Doors publishes an annual Global Watch List. This year’s list appeared on Jan. 13, noting that increased abuses by the CCP moved it up six places on the list.

The campaign of human rights violations in terms of religious freedom intensified to such an extent that the CCP has risen 26 places in the rankings in just three years.

“China has definitely cracked down on religion. They’re returning what I call the ‘government is God’ philosophy that they had when they were connected with the Soviet Union years ago,” said Curry.

One of the differences between the CCP and the Soviet Union system is that the CCP uses the sophisticated internet surveillance system to detect those who go online to attend religious services, and punish them.

“They’re taking advantage of COVID to restrict people’s ability to meet, some of which is, of course, understandable,” Curry added.

Curry explained, “But we have cases, documented cases, where they’re arresting people who are attending Zoom church, where they’re monitoring church online.”

The CCP raided members of the Early Rain Covenant Church on Easter Sunday in April during the online service they attended.

The CCP only allows five religions that necessarily have to be linked to communist associations, which are the ones that dictate the rules under which they must conduct themselves.

The persecution is even crueler against those who do not abide by its rules. 

Practitioners of the ancient Chinese spiritual discipline of Falun Dafa, also known as Falun Gong, are among the most tortured, with the money-making program where organs are removed for transplants.

Likewise, the United States estimates that some 2 million Uighur Muslims are detained in concentration camps, where they are forced to work as slaves, in addition to being subjected to mass sterilizations, among other abuses.

Human rights violations escalated in 2020 under the leadership of leader Xi Jinping, according to Human Rights Watch documents highlighting violations in regions such as Xinjiang, Mongolia, Tibet, and Hong Kong.

“This has been the darkest period for human rights in China since the 1989 massacre that ended the Tiananmen Square democracy movement,” the report noted.