Religious groups warned of China travel dangers

The CCP appears to be growing more paranoid and is tightening controls with a Taiwanese I-Kuan Tao follower detained and interrogated, an official source said

  • By Chen Yu-fu / Staff reporter

A Taiwanese has been detained and interrogated in China on suspicion of spreading and developing the religion of I-Kuan Tao (一貫道), an official familiar with the issue said.

I-Kuan Tao has been developing in Taiwan for years and has attracted millions of followers internationally, including some Taiwanese businesspeople based in China, the source said.

The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) vigorously suppressed I-Kuan Tao in the early days of its rule, but later became more tolerant of its development in China and did not label it a cult like Falun Gong (法輪功), the source said.

Religious groups warned of China travel dangers

Photo: Reuters

However, the Chinese government has begun to keep a close eye on the Taiwanese I-Kuan Tao organizations in China since the beginning of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s (習近平) third term, they said.

Beijing continues to interrogate and find faults with Taiwanese traveling to China and repeatedly violates the personal safety of Taiwanese I-Kuan Tao followers, the source said.

The government received a report from a follower, who said that when entering China, they were detained and interrogated by the Chinese authorities for several days without warning, he said.

The follower was annoyed about being subjected to an investigation while they had done nothing illegal, he said.

It was unusual for Beijing to accuse Taiwanese travelers of spreading and developing I-Kuan Tao and to look into their past activities in China and their membership in Line groups on phones, the source said.

Taiwanese government information shows that Chinese officials have often accused Taiwanese religious figures of using secret religious societies, cult organizations and superstitions to undermine law enforcement, which carries severe penalties.

For example, a I-Kuan Tao follower was imprisoned by China for carrying dozens of scriptures. Another Taiwanese was suppressed by Chinese authorities for promoting Kuanyin Buddhism (觀音法門) in China.

Beijing used to be lenient with I-Kuan Tao activities, which were allowed as long as they were reported in advance and had no Chinese participators, he said.

The CCP is growing more wary of organized civil activities, he said.

The tightly knit organization and relatively secretive meetings of I-Kuan Tao is causing serious concerns for Chinese officials, who have ended up tightening controls considerably, he said.

Beijing maintains a bottom line for everything. In this case, no Chinese citizens can take part in I-Kuan Tao activities, the source said.

The bottom line now appears to be extreme, leading to complete bans on every matter of concern, he said, warning that Taiwanese religious figures should be careful when traveling to China.

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