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06/23/2022 China (International Christian Concern) – On June 8, the release of a report entitled “Joint Initiative on Advocating Frugality and Abstaining from Extravagance” signaled heightened control of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) over state-sanctioned churches.

The news outlet China Christian Daily reports that registered Christian organizations such as the Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association and Chinese Catholic Bishops’ Conference issued a joint statement discouraging extravagance among Christian leaders. Instead, frugality should be practiced to avoid “damaging the social image of religion and hindering the further advancement of the Sinicization of Christianity in China.” The report quotes John 6:12 in an attempt to further justify and convince Christians that living a simple life is Biblical. Anyone who disobeys the stated regulations risks possible punishment.

The report also advises that believers practice a green, low-carbon lifestyle and worship in eco-friendly spaces. These instructions align with the government’s most recent initiative to provide a carbon-neutral environment.

The CCP relies on its state-vetted churches to further its Sinicization mission by pressuring believers to conform to the party’s standards. Since registered churches are under the direct influence of the Chinese government, unregistered churches and believers are under constant scrutiny as they continue to practice their faith.

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