Pew Research Centre: China Worst in the World in Terms of Religion Restrictions

According to a report titled “In 2018, Government Restrictions on Religion Reach Highest Level Globally in More Than a Decade” and published on November 10, 2020 by the Pew Research Centre, China continued to have the highest score on the Government Restrictions Index (GRI) out of all 198 countries and territories studied in the report.

The report stated that China had topped the list of restrictive governments every year since the Pew Research Centre began to conduct the study in 2007, and it has the highest score of 9.3 out of 10 in the newest study of 2018.

“The Chinese government restricts religion in a variety of ways, including banning entire religious groups (such as the Falun Gong movement and several Christian groups), prohibiting certain religious practices, raiding places of worship and detaining and torturing individuals. In 2018, the government continued a detention campaign against Uighurs, ethnic Kazakhs and other Muslims in Xinjiang province, holding at least 800,000 (and possibly up to 2 million) in detention facilities ‘designed to erase religious and ethnic identities,’ according to the U.S. State Department,” the report stated.

According to the report, global government restrictions on religion, including “laws, policies and actions by officials that impinge on religious beliefs and practices,” also reached an all-time high in 2018, with 56 countries (28%) scoring “high” or “very high” levels in the study.

Pew Research Centre considers itself “a nonpartisan fact tank that informs the public about the issues, attitudes and trends shaping the world.” It conducts “public opinion polling, demographic research, content analysis and other data-driven social science research.” It was established in 2004 and is headquartered in Washington, D.C.