Handbook on Human Rights in China
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Handbook on Human Rights in China

Edited by Sarah Biddulph and Joshua Rosenzweig

This Handbook gives a wide-ranging account of the theory and practice of human rights in China, viewed against international standards, and China’s international engagements around human rights. The Handbook is organised into the following sections: contested meanings; international dimensions; economic and social rights; civil and political rights; rights in/action and access to justice; political dimensions of human rights in Greater China; and new frontiers.
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Chapter 16: Freedom of religion and belief

Sarah Cook


This chapter takes stock of the practical realities and legal framework surrounding religious freedom and persecution in China under the leadership of Xi Jinping with regard to seven major religious groups—Chinese Buddhism, Taoism, Catholicism, Protestantism, Islam, Tibetan Buddhism and Falun Gong. The author argues that three features of the environment for religious freedom in China are notable in the context of a discussion of human rights. First, there is a large discrepancy between law and practice, including between China’s international human rights commitments and the day-to-day actions of its government. Second, China is home to ongoing and severe violations of internationally-recognized aspects of religious freedom. Third, while some restrictions on freedom of religious practice and belief touch all faiths in China, there is very uneven implementation of government policies across geographic, ethnic and religious lines, resulting in a wide diversity of treatment and experience among believers.

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