Faith

Religious Persecution Ramping Up in China as Government Enforces Strict New Rules

Official seal notices are placed on the backdoor entrance of the Zion church after it was shutdown by authorities in Beijing, Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2018. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)

If you’re curious about what happens to religious people in a thoroughgoing secular society and you don’t want to read a history book, look no further than China. The officially atheistic Chinese government is cracking down on religion, all religions.

Make no mistake, this is no slap on the wrist kind of crackdown. China is going after religion and people of faith hardcore. Baptist Press reports:

China is raiding and shuttering churches, assaulting worshipers, destroying crosses and burning Bibles in escalating persecution of Christians under a Communist constitution that claims to grant religious freedom.

Police shut down the largest house church in Beijing Sunday (Sept. 9), the multisite Zion Church, Reuters reported. The Chaoyang District Civil Affairs Bureau told the church it was illegal because it wasn’t registered with the government-controlled Three-Self Patriotic Movement (TSPM).

A week earlier in Henan Province, federal and local government officials of various ranks stormed several churches and assaulted worshipers.

HuffPo explains, “The campaign is part of a drive to ‘Sinicize’ religion by demanding loyalty to the officially atheist Communist Party and leader Xi Jinping. Observers call it the most severe crackdown since religious freedom was written into the Chinese constitution in 1982.”

The list of new rules and regulations that religious organizations must adhere to is long and purposefully oppressive. Streaming religious services is now illegal. Anyone who wants to teach religion or preach must submit to an extensive vetting process that includes determining if the person is morally fit to teach or preach — translation: the Chinese government wants to make sure that no one contradicts the Communist Party. Bible are being burned and people are being forced to sign statements recanting their faith.

China’s crackdown isn’t just aimed at Christians, though. According to HuffPo, “In the northwestern region of Xinjiang, an estimated 1 million Uighurs and other members of Muslim minority groups have been arbitrarily detained in indoctrination camps where they are forced to denounce Islam and profess loyalty to the party.”

As China continues to persecute people of all faiths, Christians in America need to pray for God’s protection over the many faithful house churches throughout China. Christians should be praying for God to bolster the faith of the pastors and their congregations as many of them are facing tough trials in the days ahead — if they’re not already. We should also be praying that God will be pleased to spare this country from the kind of persecution that the secular government of China is perpetuating on their people.