Barnabas Fund, 19 August 2021 (excerpts)
Qiqihar, the second largest city in China’s Heilongjiang province, on 9 August joined an increasing number of cities, districts, and county governments to offer cash rewards to anyone who reports to the authorities on “illegal religious activities”.
Whistle-blowers could pocket between 500 yuan (£56, $77, €65) and 1,000 yuan (£112, $154, €132) for informing on private house gatherings, preaching, the distribution of printed religious works, audio-visual products outside churches, unqualified religious personnel, and illicit foreign infiltration.
Residents of Qiqihar are being told the new rewards scheme will ensure a “harmonious” religious landscape
The measures aim to “strengthen the control of illegal religious activities in the district and prevent any Covid-19 cluster resulting from religious gatherings”, according to a statement from the Work Department of Qiqihar.
The goal was to mobilise the public to help ensure a “harmonious and stable religious landscape”. Reports could be made through phone calls, emails, and letters.