top of page

PRESS RELEASE: New Report Details Communist Party Takeover Of Religion in Hong Kong

30 January 2024 – The Committee for Freedom in Hong Kong (CFHK) Foundation has today launched a major new report detailing the collapse of religious freedom in Hong Kong. 


The report, titled “Hostile Takeover: The CCP and Hong Kong’s Religious Communities”, authored by the CFHK Foundation’s Policy and Advocacy Coordinator Frances Hui, is now available to read in full on our website.

The paper delves into the systematic breaking of promises made under the "One Country, Two Systems" arrangement, as outlined in the Basic Law and the Sino-British Joint Declaration. 


This study details the efforts of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) to assert control over Hong Kong's religious sphere, signaling a bleak future for religious freedoms in the region.


Some of the main abuses of religious freedom, and its consequences, detailed in the report, are as follows:

  • Orchestrated CCP Takeover: The CCP is actively taking control of Hong Kong's religious institutions, as seen through various initiatives and efforts to influence religious groups.

  • Strategic Importance of Religion: A recent Chinese Bluebook emphasizes the strategic importance of Hong Kong's religions for China, linking religious groups with accusations of involvement in "violent protests" and collusion with foreign organizations.

  • ‘Sinicization’ of Religion: The Hong Kong Catholic Diocese is working with the CCP to implement its control over elements of the Church, in a process known as ‘Sinicization’. Trips to Beijing omit discussions on the "underground" church and persecuted faithful in mainland China.

  • Politicization of Religious Organizations: The CCP is politicizing religious organizations to advance its agenda. Ominously, the CCP is rallying Muslim governments to downplay human rights violations against the Uyghur population in Xinjiang.

  • Influence on Education: Textbooks incorporated into religious curricula promote pro-China content, equating Chinese identity with CCP values. National security education and patriotic values are incorporated into the curriculum.

  • Suppression of Information: The Catholic Church in Hong Kong is suppressing information on religious persecution in China, and the Justice and Peace Commission under its auspices has diluted its focus on Chinese affairs and human rights.

  • Legal Prosecution and Harassment: Religious leaders and believers face increasing legal prosecution. A Protestant pastor was sentenced to 13 months in jail under the National Security Law. Falun Gong practitioners routinely encounter harassment and physical attacks.

  • Vatican's Role: The Vatican is considering opening a liaison office in China, raising concerns about the potential legalization of state-controlled entities. Hong Kong clerics fear pressure to join associations pledging fidelity to the government.

The report calls for urgent international action to address the deteriorating religious freedom situation in Hong Kong, with specific recommendations for the United States, other democracies, the Vatican, Islamic states, and global religious leaders.


For the United States and Other Democracies:

  • Utilize sanction tools like the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act to hold bad actors accountable for violating religious freedom in Hong Kong;

  • Prioritize advocacy for religious freedom in diplomatic engagements.

  • Support religious prisoners of conscience.

  • Include Hong Kong religious figures in the US Commission on International Religious Freedom’s victim list.

  • Hold hearings on CCP's violations of religious freedom in Hong Kong and China;

  • Discourage the Vatican from extending the agreement with Beijing to Hong Kong.

  • Monitor the status of religious freedom in Hong Kong.


For the Vatican, Islamic States, and Global Religious Leaders:

  • Establish an advisory board on China affairs.

  • Advocate for the release of religious prisoners.

  • Repeal the Vatican-China agreement.

  • Speak out against China's erasure of Uyghur and Hui Muslim culture.


The report will be officially launched at the International Religious Freedom Summit via YouTube livestream and in-person in Washington D.C at 7:00pm today. A panel discussion on Jimmy Lai and religious freedom in Hong Kong with the report author, Frances Hui, CFHK’s president Mark Clifford, and other panelists will be held, followed by a screening of “The Hong Konger”, a documentary on Jimmy Lai. 


Lai, the founder of now defunct pro-democracy newspaper Apple Daily, is a Catholic believer currently on trial in Hong Kong, facing sham charges under the Beijing-imposed National Security Law.


Frances Hui (許穎婷), Policy and Advocacy Coordinator at the Committee for Freedom in Hong Kong Foundation and author of “Hostile Takeover: The CCP and Hong Kong’s Religious Communities” said: "As the CCP has tightened control over Hong Kong, particularly since the rollout of the NSL in 2020, religious communities have continued to face threats to their values and practices. 


“This report cites eyewitness testimonies from people directly affected by the CCP's takeover of the religious sphere in Hong Kong in hopes to highlight some of the tragedy they have been forced to undergo simply for having personal beliefs that the CCP perceive as a threat to their dominance.


“This report examines the deterioration of religious freedom in Hong Kong by highlighting the voices of these persecuted people, and exploring a range of other concrete sources. Many of the findings in this report were not publicly known prior to my research, and should be of deep concern to the international community.


“The world must respond to these alarming signs with real collective efforts to safeguard religious freedom in Hong Kong."

652 views1 comment

1 Comment

The article recommends that the Vatican cancel it's agreement with China. This is an excellent recommendation. It might be better if the Vatican would make the agreement public first. Ever since Francis has made agreements with China, the status of Christians there has become much worse. The Vatican seems to be ignoring the situation. Why? What are the terms of these agreements that Francis does not want to expose? Why is he not sending emissaries to China to speak for and try to protect Catholics? Why is he not supporting Cardinal Zen, who has been defending Catholics in China for many years? Why is the Vatican acting in this way?

bottom of page