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China Bans Christian Prayer App

by | Wed, Feb 28 2024

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In its latest attempt to drive Christianity out of China, the Chinese Communist Party has banned a popular faith app. Pray.com is a platform filled with daily Bible-reading plans and spiritual development programs, but it has now been removed from the Apple App Store in China.

The ban came at the direction of the Measures for the Administration of Internet Religious Information Services which were introduced two years ago. They require a government-issued permit to post religious content online and outlaw the airing of religious ceremonies, events and worship services on the internet.

MacDailyNews noted: “It’s amazing the Chinese Communist Party ever allowed the Pray.com app to be distributed via Apple’s App Store in the first place. Pray.com said: “It stands in solidarity with its members in China during this challenging time and is working tirelessly to find solutions that align with regulatory requirements while maintaining its core mission to grow faith and cultivate community.”

“This decision aligns with the Chinese government’s policies on internet publishing and significantly affects Pray.com’s mission to grow faith and cultivate community on a global scale. A direct consequence of this action is that individuals in China will no longer have the ability to participate in the National Day of Prayer livestream through Pray.com. This revocation signals a change from previous policies, which allowed the Christian prayer app to minister in the Communist nation,” the app’s operators added.

“Since starting Pray.com we’ve grown accustomed to positive relations with China. President Xi has allowed for the printing of nearly 150 million Bibles per year, and President Trump ensured that Bibles were exempt from Chinese tariffs,” said co-founder Michael Lynn.

Founder and CEO Steve Gatena said that: “In response to these limitations, our team is exploring alternative avenues to deliver our content and services to people in mainland China. As we work on a solution, I want to personally extend an invitation to President Xi Jinping to join us for this year’s National Day of Prayer event in Washington, D.C. in May.”

“I am speaking with former President Donald J. Trump. We are committed to overcoming these barriers to ensure that our global community remains connected and supported, especially during significant spiritual observances such as the National Day of Prayer,” said another co-founder Matthew Potter.

China is no stranger to censorship. Under Xi’s regime, the Chinese Communist Party is reportedly rewriting Scripture and calling Jesus a “sinner.” The revisions include adding ‘core socialist values’ and removing passages that do not reflect communist beliefs.

Chinese officials are also testing out an app that would require citizens to pre-register before attending authorised religious services. They would need to provide all their personal information to government officials before being approved for entry. Christians who attend underground churches would not need to do so because those churches are illegal and try to stay hidden.