Vision Logo Circle
Vision Logo Circle

China Has “Declared War On Christianity”

by | Wed, Feb 21 2024

Text size: A- A+

The Church in China is undergoing its most severe persecution since the Cultural Revolution of the 1960s according to the local partners of persecution watchdog Release International. They report: The Communist Party is cracking down on the church across the board. It has declared war against Christianity. It has adopted an aggressive policy of social control and the securitisation of everything. Censorship is expected to tighten even further this year.

Christian rights advocates accuse the Communist Party of actively discouraging children to follow the Christian faith. Release International reports Chinese schoolchildren are being ordered to declare whether they are Christian. Those who admit their faith are required to sign a declaration that they will renounce Christianity.

Bob Fu who’s president and founder of ChinaAid told the Voice of the Martyrs Canada: “If parents and grandparents refuse to cooperate in making their children renounce their faith, then their job security is jeopardised. Cases show that grandparents can lose their public health and welfare if parents fail to dissuade their children from believing in Christianity”.

Mr. Fu who’s a prominent religious freedom campaigner, explained that a mother was teaching her five children at home about literature, maths and religion, when she found herself surrounded by police and arrested. “She learned that her husband had reported her faith. You can only imagine the kind of trauma this is causing right inside the family.’

Release International which is a partner of China Aid continues to name China as a country of particular concern in its 2024 Persecution Trends report. Charity spokesman Andrew Boyd told Premier Christian News the crackdown is extremely hard to navigate due to surveillance, censorship and control from the Chinese government:

The principal tool in China’s armoury is surveillance technology. According to ChinaAid, the population of 1.3 billion people is under constant surveillance by 2.5 billion face-recognition cameras. Bob Fu explains: ‘Every Chinese citizen is followed by at least two digital face recognition cameras every day, 24-hours-a-day, combined with big-data technology. The state is also remotely monitoring citizens’ phones. They know where you are going and where you are heading to on a Sunday. They can simply show up and get you arrested.

Andrew Boyd adds: “Our partners know that face recognition cameras are being put up in every pulpit and in the four corners of [State recognised] churches. It’s monitoring the congregations, and the reason it’s doing that is not only to track those who are turning up, but to dissuade people from turning up.”

“It’s illegal for you to bring your children to church if they’re under the age of 18. Children cannot go to church. Church is off limits to Communist Party members, civil servants, police officers, and members of the military. So those cameras are there to ensure that they never go near a church. How do you navigate that if you want to stay true to your faith? You probably have to join an underground church and run the gauntlet of all those CCTV cameras in order to worship secretly — and in China —unfortunately, illegally.”

Release reports that: “Evangelicals and others face charges of being corrupt, belonging to cults, or engaged in illegal religious activity. The authorities have targeted leaders and members of unregistered churches for harassment and questioning. Many Christian leaders have been arrested and imprisoned on charges of fraud, including those who take up offerings. Those who talk to foreigners risk accusations of being a threat to national security.”

“The Communist Party portrays Christianity as unpatriotic and pro-Western, and therefore a threat. It wants to control the Church and what it can’t control, it seeks to eliminate,” said Release CEO Paul Robinson.

The Church in China has been growing rapidly in the face of the persecution and is on course to have the largest Christian population in the world by 2030. Chinese state surveys indicate that growth has levelled off. But the secular Pew Research Centre points out: “Some people may choose not to reveal their Christian identity because they fear negative social or financial consequence, especially if they belong to an unregistered church. Hypothetically, there could be a real increase in the share of Chinese adults who identify with Christianity that is hidden from survey measurement.”