Xi’s Crackdown Deepens the Church: Part 1
03/10/2019 Washington D.C. (International Christian Concern) – It is no secret that the Chinese government is determined to diminish Christianity and make believers exalt communist ideology above Christian theology. President Xi Jinping envisions a China where all religions are “Sinicized” and people of all faiths willingly submit to government control. In other words, no god in this world is more worthy of your loyalty than the Communist Party.
Nearly six years after Xi took office, observers already call the crackdown against Christians in China “the worst it has ever been since the Cultural Revolution in the 60s.” Today, thousands of churches across China no longer have crosses displayed on their buildings. Some churches have been demolished, while others have been repurposed for other uses. Hundreds of Christians have been sent to jail on trumped up charges. More and more churches are being shut down, with home gatherings increasingly monitored and harassed.
Thanks to the revised religious regulations that came into force last February, the Chinese government now has a legal basis (albeit flawed) to clamp down on churches. Whether state-sanctioned or not, churches are subjected to harassment, raids, confiscation of property, or a complete shutdown. Additionally, some worshippers are threatened by their landlords and bosses that they will lose their homes or jobs if they continue to attend church.
Sichuan’s Early Rain Covenant Church was the latest high-profile house church to face such treatment. Local authorities arrested and detained more than 150 members at one point and criminally charged more than 20 leaders.
Amid the agony facing the victims’ families, various accounts of the previously detained Christians show how God is at work even inside these detention centers. During his 10-day detention, brother H. was able to share the Gospel with many others, including a Tibetan seeker, a highly educated, but troubled, young man, and a Christian struggling with marriage issues. He promised to send them Bibles and useful literature, while inviting them to attend his small group.
Now, many church members joyfully call the detention of their fellow body in Christ a “prison ministry.”
Stay tuned for Part 2, coming tomorrow.
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