Atheism and repressive prisons

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Atheistic China, political prisoners and forced labor in prisons

See also: Atheism and forced labor and Atheism and communism

According to CNN, hundreds (or perhaps thousands) of labor camps and forced labor prisons (called laogai) still exist in modern China.[1]

Most atheists are East Asians (see: Asian atheism).

China has the world's largest atheist population.[2][3]

In 1955, Chinese communist leader Zhou Enlai declared, "We Communists are atheists".[4] In 2014, the Communist Party of China reaffirmed that members of their party must be atheists.[5]

In 2016, the International Business Times reported:

A senior Chinese advisor on religious affairs has said the country should promote atheism throughout society, in remarks that appear to reflect a deepening campaign to reinforce traditional Marxist values in China — and could add to concern about official attitudes among believers in the country’s five officially recognized religions.[6]

According to CNN, hundreds (or perhaps thousands) of labor camps and forced labor prisons (called laogai) still exist in modern China.[7] The prisons house political prisoners and dissidents alongside dangerous criminals.

The Chinese government run media outlet Xinhua reported in early 2013 that the country plans to reform its "controversial re-education through labor system this year."[8]

See also:

China and involuntary organ harvesting of prisoners

See also: China and involuntary organ harvesting

Several researchers — for example, Canadian human rights lawyer David Matas, former Canadian parliamentarian David Kilgour, and the investigative journalist Ethan Gutmann estimate that tens of thousands of Falun Gong prisoners in communist China have been killed to supply a financially lucrative trade in human organs and cadavers, and that these human rights abuses may be ongoing concern.[9]

Soviet Gulags, political prisoners and forced labor

See also: Atheism and forced labor and Atheism and communism

According to the University of Cambridge, historically, the "most notable spread of atheism was achieved through the success of the 1917 Russian Revolution, which brought the Marxist-Leninists to power."[10]

The Gulag is the extensive network of prison camps used in the atheistic Soviet Union to imprison Joseph Stalin's political enemies. Although the prison camps housed a wide variety of criminals, it also had a large amount of political prisoners.

For information about forced labor in Soviet prison camps, please see: Atheistic communism and forced labor

Atheistic communism, prisoners and torture

See also: Atheistic communism and torture

The above photograph shows the Russian Nikolai Khmara, a new Baptist convert in the Soviet Union, after his arrest by the KGB. He was tortured to death and his tongue cut out.[11][12]

Atheism was an integral component of Marxist-Leninist/Maoist communist ideology (see: Atheism and communism).

The website declares concerning atheistic communism and the use of torture:

Significantly, communists did not merely try to block or halt religious faith but to reverse it. This was particularly true for Romania, even before the Nicolai Ceausescu era. This meant not just forbidding religious practice and jailing ministers and believers but employing torture to force them to renounce their faith. It was not enough to contain, silence, even punish believers in prison; it was decided they must be tortured in truly unimaginably degrading ways to attempt to undo religious faith.[13]

Richard Wurmbrand, a Romanian pastor of the Underground Church, wrote in his book Tortured for Christ:

I worked in both an official and underground manner until February 29,1948....On that Sunday, on my way to church, I was kidnapped from the street by the secret police....A van of the secret police stopped in front of me, four men jumped out and pushed me into the van. I was taken away for many years.

For over eight years, no one knew if I was alive or dead. My wife was visited by the secret police who posed as released fellow-prisoners. They told her they had attended my burial. She was heart-broken.

Thousands from churches of all denominations went to prison at that time. Not only were clergymen put in jail, but also simple peasants, young boys and girls who witnessed for their faith. The prisons were full and in Rumania, as in all communist countries, to be in prison means to be tortured....

A pastor by the name of Florescu was tortured with red-hot iron pokers and with knives. He was beaten very badly. Then starving rats were driven into his cell through a large pipe. He could not sleep.... If he rested a moment, the rats would attack him....

The communists wished to compel him to betray his brethren, but he resisted steadfastly. In the end, they brought his fourteen year-old son and began to whip the boy in front of his father, saying that they would continue to beat him until the pastor said what they wished him to say....When he could not stand it any more, he cried to his son; 'Alexander, I must say what they want! I can’t bear your beating any more.

The son answered, 'Father, don’t do me the injustice to have a traitor as a parent. Withstand!...'

The communists, enraged, fell upon the child and beat him to death, with blood spattered over the walls of the cell. He died praising God....

Handcuffs which had sharp nails on the insides were put on our wrists. If we were totally still, they didn’t cut us. But in bitterly cold cells, when we shook with cold, our wrists would be torn by the nails.

Christians were hung upside down on ropes and beaten so severely that their bodies swung back and forth under the blows. Christians were put in ice-box 'refrigerator cells' which were so cold, frost and ice covered the inside...

We Christians were put in wooden boxes only slightly larger than we were. ... Dozens of sharp nails were driven into every side of the box, with their razor-sharp points sticking into the box....

I have seen communists torturing Christians and the faces of the torturers shone with rapturous joy. They cried out while torturing the Christians, 'We are the devil.'

'We wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against the principalities and powers of evil.' We saw that communism is not from men but from the devil. It is a spiritual force...of evil—and can only be countered by a greater spiritual force, the Spirit of God.

I often asked the torturers, “Don’t you have pity in your hearts?” They usually answered with a quotation from Lenin that “you cannot make omelets without breaking the shells of eggs”...

I have testified before the Internal Security Subcommittee of the U.S. Senate. There I described awful things, such as Christians tied to crosses for four days and nights. The crosses were put on the floor and hundreds of prisoners had to fulfill their bodily necessities over the faces and bodies of the crucified ones. Then the crosses were erected again and the communists jeered and mocked...[14]

Torture in the Soviet Union

Joseph Stalin, the Premier of the Soviet Union from 6 May 1941 to 5 March 1953, patronised the League of Militant Atheists, whose chief aim, under the leadership of Yemelyan Yaroslavsky, was to propagate militant atheism and eradicate religion.[15][16]

In the atheistic communist regime of the Soviet Union, torture was frequently employed to extract false confessions which were subsequently used to establish that individuals were "enemies of the people" - particularly under the militant atheist Joseph Stalin's regime.[17]

In the Soviet Union, many Orthodox priests and laymen experienced religious persecution in the form of torture and being sent to prison camps, labor camps or mental hospitals.[18][19][20][21]

Atheistic, Chinese communism and torture

The Chinese communist regime has used beatings, harassment and torture to suppress religion in China and continues to use these practices.[22][23]

Atheistic communist North Vietnam and torture

From 1961 to 1973, the North Vietnamese government and Vietcong held hundreds of Americans soldiers captive. Hanoi's Ministry of Public Security's Medical Office (MPSMO) was responsible for "preparing studies and performing research on the most effective Soviet, French, Communist Chinese and other ...techniques..." of extracting information from POWs. The MPSMO "...supervised the use of torture and the use of drugs to induce [American] prisoners to cooperate." Its role also "...included working with Soviet and Communist Chinese intelligence advisors who were qualified in the use of medical techniques for intelligence purposes."[24]

North Korean communism and torture

See also: Atheism and cannibalism

North Korea practices state atheism and belief in God is actively discouraged.[25] Open Doors, an organization based in the United States, has put North Korea at the very top of its list of countries where Christians face significant persecution - for 12 years in a row.[26]

The Christian Post published an article entitled North Korean Defector Who Spent 28 Years in Prison Camp Details Hunger, Torture, and Cannibalism in the DPRK which stated:

More than 200,000 North Koreans, including children, are imprisoned in camps where many perish from forced labor, inadequate food, and abuse by guards, according to Human Rights Watch. The isolated, secretive nation has no media, functioning civil society, or religious freedom, and pervasive problems include arbitrary arrest, lack of due process, and torture.[27]

See also


  1. Labor camps reinforce China's totalitarian rule. (1984-10-09). Retrieved on 2013-03-20.
  2. Top 50 Countries With Highest Proportion of Atheists / Agnostics (Zuckerman, 2005)
  3. A surprising map of where the world’s atheists live, Washington Post By Max Fisher and Caitlin Dewey May 23, 2013
  4. Noebel, David, The Battle for Truth, Harvest House, 2001.
  5. Senior Chinese Religious Advisor Calls For Promotion Of Atheism In Society, International Business Times
  6. Labor camps reinforce China's totalitarian rule. (1984-10-09). Retrieved on 2013-03-20.
  7. "China to reform re-education through labor system", Xinhua, January 8, 2013. Retrieved on January 8, 2013. 
  8. Review of: Ethan Gutmann, “The Slaughter: Mass Killings, Organ Harvesting and China’s Secret Solution to Its Dissident Problem”, (Prometheus Books, 2014).
  9. Investigating atheism: Marxism. University of Cambridge (2008). Retrieved on July 17, 2014. “The most notable spread of atheism was achieved through the success of the 1917 Russian Revolution, which brought the Marxist-Leninists to power. For the first time in history, atheism thus became the official ideology of a state.”
  10. Martyred in the USSR
  11. The Russians' Secret by Peter Hoover with Serguei V. Petrov, Speaking Without a Tongue, Chapter 1 (Pages 1-3)
  12. The War on religion
  13. Tortured for Christ - excerpt from Chapter 2, by Pastor Richard Wurmbrand, founder of Voice of the Martyrs
  14. Michael Hesemann, Whitley Strieber (2000). The Fatima Secret. Random House Digital, Inc.. Retrieved on 09 October 2011. “Lenin's death in 1924 was followed by the rise of Joseph Stalin, "the man of steel," who founded the "Union of Militant Atheists," whose chief aim was to spread atheism and eradicate religion. In the following years it devastated hundreds of churches, destroyed old icons and relics, and persecuted the clergy with unimaginable brutality.” 
  15. Paul D. Steeves (1989). Keeping the faiths: religion and ideology in the Soviet Union. Holmes & Meier. Retrieved on 04 July 2013. “The League of Militant Atheists was formed in 1926 and by 1930 had recruited three million members. Five years later there were 50,000 local groups affiliated to the League and the nominal membership had risen to five million. Children from 8-14 years of age were enrolled in Groups of Godless Youth, and the League of Communist Youth (Komsomol) took a vigorous anti- religious line. Several antireligious museums were opened in former churches and a number of Chairs of Atheism were established in Soviet universities. Prizes were offered for the best 'Godless hymns' and for alternative versions of the Bible from which ... the leader of the League of Militant Atheists, Yemelian Yaroslavsky, said: "When a priest is deprived of his congregation, that does not mean that he stops being a priest. He changes into an itinerant priest. He travels around with his primitive tools in the villages, performs religious rites, reads prayers, baptizes children. Such wandering priests are at times more dangerous than those who carry on their work at a designated place of residence." The intensified persecution, which was a part of the general terror inflicted upon Soviet society by Stalin's policy, ...” 
  16. Alexander Solzhenitsyn. "The Gulag Archipelago"
  17. Father Arseny 1893-1973 Priest, Prisoner, Spiritual Father. Introduction pg. vi - 1. St Vladimir's Seminary Press ISBN 0-88141-180-9
  18. L.Alexeeva, History of dissident movement in the USSR, Memorial society, in Russian
  19. A.Ginzbourg, "Only one year", "Index" Magazine, in Russian
  20. The Washington Post Anti-Communist Priest Gheorghe Calciu-Dumitreasa By Patricia Sullivan Washington Post Staff Writer Sunday, November 26, 2006; Page C09
  21. China: The crackdown on Falun Gong and other so-called "heretical organizations". Amnesty International (23 March 2000). Retrieved on 17 March 2010.
  22. Militant Atheist extremist regime persecuting and torturing Christians in China
  23. "War Crimes: The Cuban-Vietnam Connection", National Alliance of Families.
  24. Elizabeth Raum. North Korea. Series: Countries Around the World. Heinemann, 2012. ISBN 1432961330. p. 28: «North Korea is an atheist state. This means that people do not pray in public or attend places of worship. Buddhist temples exist from earlier times. They are now preserved as historic buildings, but they are not used for worship. A few Christian churches exist, but few people attend services. North Koreans do not celebrate religious holidays.»
  25. Repressive, atheist North Korea has a surprising relationship with Christian missionaries
  26. North Korean Defector Who Spent 28 Years in Prison Camp Details Hunger, Torture, and Cannibalism in the DPRK