While the repression against believers continues to widen, the Chinese government strengthens policies that prohibit the use of religious customs and rituals during funerals. The Muslims of Xinjiang have been banned from commemorating the dead as required by their faith and Christians have been ordered to stay away from religion during funerals . Now new stories are coming from all over the country on the application of these oppressive rules.

The Central Funeral Organization Policy , adopted by Pingyang County of Wenzhou City in eastern Zhejiang Province , came into effect on December 1. The new rules aim to “eliminate bad use for funerals and establish a scientific, civilized and economic modality for these ceremonies”. One of the rumors in the document states that “members of the clergy are not allowed to attend funerals” and that “more than ten family members of the deceased are not allowed to read the scriptures or sing hymns, however softly.”

Similar policies have also been adopted elsewhere on the national territory. An official from a village in the central province of Henan, who asked to remain anonymous, told Bitter Winter that the local administration in April convened a meeting for religious workers, to communicate that all religious funerals are subject to limitations. Shortly thereafter , management measures were issued for workers on the religions of villages (or communities) and municipalities (or villages). The document states that those who are part of the clergy must be “promptly prevented from exploiting religion to attend citizens’ weddings and funerals, or other occasions in their lives”.

When a member of the state-run Church of the Three Autonomies , who lived in Wuhan, the capital of the central province of Hubei, passed away in October , his family organized a Christian funeral. While the family and friends were saying goodbye to the deceased, the police raided and arrested her daughter, who was praying for her mother at the time. As it turned out, someone had reported them to the authorities. The daughter was released only two days later, after the deceased had been buried, but without a Christian ceremony.

“When my father died, village officials threatened to arrest us if we hadn’t planned a secular funeral. We have not dared to oppose, “he told an angry villager of the village of Gucheng, in the city with the status of the prefecture of Yuzhou, Henan. “My father had been a believer for decades. The regime persecuted him even when he was dead….”

The above comes from a late January story on the Bitter Winter (Italy) website.