“Religious Freedom and Chinese Society: A Symposium of Case Analysis” was held on May 5-7, 2014 at Purdue University. The participants included lawyers, ministers, and scholars. Through engaging discussions, some consensus was reached. Consequently, some participants proposed to draft a text of consensus for signatures so that the understanding of religious freedom can be spread and greater attention can be paid to the issues of religious freedom in China. The text was finalized after further discussion by the symposium participants. The text and signatories of the Purdue Consensus on Religious Freedom are made public today (May 14, 2014).

“Purdue Consensus on Religious Freedom” with Signatories

We are deeply concerned about the following reality:

1. China’s Constitution and law lack a clear definition of and sufficient protection for religious freedom.

2. Misunderstanding, violation, discrimination and persecution abound with regard to religious freedom in legal and social practices of China.

3. As a result, intellectuals and the general public in China lack an understanding of and a basic consensus on the value and implications of religious freedom.

In accordance with the definition and protection of religious freedom prescribed by a series of international covenants on human rights, we hold the following beliefs:

1. Religious freedom encompasses not only individual freedom of conscience and the freedom to express belief or disbelief in a religion, but also the freedom of family members (adults and children) to adhere to and to express their religious faith, the freedom of parents to instruct their children in their religious faith, the freedom of parents to choose religious education for their children, and the freedom of children to practice their religion and receive the religious education chosen for them by their parents. Religious freedom also encompasses the freedom of religious groups to practice their faith, to worship together, to establish religious venues, to use religious symbols, to publish religious books, and to disseminate religious faith.

2. Religious freedom is a basic and core value of modern nations and societies. Without full protection of religious freedom, other freedoms such as the freedom of speech and the freedom of expression, the freedom of thought, the freedom of academic pursuit, the freedom of family, and the freedom of education that are guaranteed by the Constitution will not be fully protected in reality.

3. Religious freedom implies that religious faiths and non-religious systems, whether in private or in public, are entitled to equality with respect to free expression and legal standing. Neither religious nor non-religious systems shall be deemed negative and discriminated against.

4. Religious freedom implies a constraint on state power, i.e. the state cannot pass judgment on any religious or non-religious system as doctrinally or morally right or wrong, good or bad, let alone penalize citizens on basis of such judgment. Neither can the state make any religious or non-religious system the basis for the state’s legitimacy and accord it a preferential legal status.

5. Religious freedom implies that the state has no right or moral authority to distinguish between “legitimate religion” and “feudal superstition,” between “orthodox religion” and “heterodox cult,” between “orthodoxy” and “heresy.” Members of any traditional or emerging religion shall not be subject to government censorship or legal judgment for merely believing, expressing, disseminating, or practicing their religious faith.

To that end, we fervently appeal that:

In legal and public life, all Chinese citizens, irrespective of their religion, denomination, and non-religious system, have the responsibility to respect, to protect, and to fight for the above principles and values of religious freedom.


Yang Fenggang
Rev. Wang Yongxin
(Thomas Wang)
Rev. Liu Tongsu Rev. Wang Yi Attorney
Teng Biao
Zhang Kai
Rev. Hong Yujian Rev. Fu Xiqiu
(Bob Fu)
Mr. Ling Cangzhou Attorney
Xia Jun
Rev. Man De
(Guo Baosheng)
Rev. Yan Xin’en
(John Yan)
 Mr. Wu Chaoyang Attorney
Chen Jian’gang
Rev. Jin Mingri
(Ezra Jin)
Li Xiongbing
Li Heping
Dr. Liu Junning Professor
Zhang Qianfan
Sun Yi
Rev. Chen Yaomin Rev. Jin Zhongquan Rev. Wang Baoluo
(Paul Wang)
Zhang Peihong
Mr. Zan Aizong
Rev. Li Yading Mr. Chen Yongmiao Attorney
Li Subin
Li Fangping
Sui Muqing
Jiang Tianyong
Sun Guodi
Xing Fuzeng
(Ying Fuk-Tsang)
Dr. Zhang Zhipeng Mr. Zhu Ruifeng
Rev. Wang Wenfeng Attorney
Zhuang Daohe
Attorney T
ang Jitian
Xiao Fanghua
Wang Cheng
Tang Jingling
Liu Shihui
Mr. Fan Xuede Dr. Xia Yeliang Rev. Liu Fenggang
Mr. Liu Guan Rev. Wang Zhiyong (Paul Wang) Rev. Zhang Boli Attorney
Zhang Liheng
Chen Zuoren (Stephen Chan)
Liu Weiguo
Sze-Kar Wan