Crackdown on Christianity in China Ramps Up

Persecution rising toward levels under Chairman Mao, sources say.

Early Rain Covenant Church gathering. (China Aid)

Early Rain Covenant Church gathering. (China Aid)

(Morning Star News) – As more government officials in China are empowered to close churches and a “social credit” system threatens to block Christians from schools, bank loans and jobs, authorities have taken harsh measures against more churches, sources said.

Early Rain Covenant Church elder Qin Defu was sentenced to four years in prison on Nov. 29, according to advocacy group China Aid Association (CAA). Qin was charged with illegal business operations as a result of the church using 20,000 Christian books, according to CAA.

Authorities had promised his family that he would be released if he accepted a state-appointed attorney, the group stated.

The charge on which Qin was sentenced could signal a stiff sentence for Pastor Wang, who has been charged with both “inciting subversion of the state” and illegal business practices after being arrested more than a year ago.

“Qin’s attorney said the church’s pastor, Wang Yi, admitted in a testimony that he was involved with these books,” CAA reported. “As such, the lawyer speculated Wang would receive no less than a 10-year sentence.”

Authorities on Dec. 9, 2018 arrested Pastor Wang and more than 100 members of Early Rain Covenant Church in Chengdu, Sichuan Province; most of them have been released, while Pastor Wang’s wife and child remain under house arrest.

In Shanghai, authorities raided Wheat Church on Dec. 1, broke up the unregistered body’s worship service and ejected members, accusing them of conducting religious activities at an unapproved venue, according to CAA.

The 200 Christians refused to leave, remaining outside in the cold as they sang and worshipped, according to CAA.

The actions are part of progressively harsher measures against Christianity and other faiths deemed a threat to the rule of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) since Xi Jinping became president in 2013. New religion regulations introduced in 2017 greatly expand the number of government departments that can enforce restrictions on religious practice, an attorney in China told The Epoch Times.

“Under the previous law, only the Religious Affairs Bureau would enforce religious restrictions,” the unidentified attorney told the news outlet. “Under the new law, every layer of government can regulate religious affairs. The fact that there are so many more officials cracking down on unregistered churches puts tremendous pressure on the members of those churches. As part of this crackdown, Chinese Christians are facing the most persecution since the Cultural Revolution in the 1960s.”

In ultra-nationalist efforts to stop ordinary citizens from engaging in religion and other activities deemed a threat to CCP control, China has installed 20 million surveillance cameras with advanced facial recognition software to collect data for the purpose of establishing a “social credit” system to monitor perceived loyalty and dissent, Elizabeth Kendal of the Religious Liberty Prayer Bulletin notes, citing author Willy Wo-Lap Lam in his book, “The Fight for China’s Future.”

The system is expected to be fully operational in 2020, but Kendal notes that non-compliant Christians and others, such as human rights attorneys, already find they cannot travel as negative social credit prevents them from purchasing a train ticket.

“The days are coming when whole Christian families will find themselves unable to access not merely transport, but schools, hospitals, bank loans and jobs,” she writes.

Such measures flow from the CCP in 2012 formulating five new “black categories” of groups to be quelled – human rights lawyers, underground religious practitioners, dissidents, commentators influencing opinion on the Internet and disadvantaged social groups, Kendal states. The list echoes the “five black categories” of the 1966-1976 Cultural Revolution, when Chairman Mao Zedong designated landlords, rich farmers/peasants, counter-revolutionaries, evil influences and rightists as enemies of the communist revolution to be neutralized – re-educated and if necessary eliminated, she notes.

With courts beholden to the Chinese government, authorities commonly charge pastors with subversion as religion is regarded as a threat to the CCP and stability, according to the attorney quoted in The Epoch Times.

“These pastors have no right to legal representation,” the attorney said. “If they have someone brave enough to be their lawyer, the pastor can be beaten up before seeing that lawyer. And their attorney can be beaten as well.”

The subversion charge against Early Rain’s Pastor Wang calls for a sentence of up to five years, or 15 years in extreme cases.

He was a human rights activist and a constitutional scholar before becoming a pastor.

Under the new religion regulations, house churches have been forced to dissolve if they refuse to register, according to the attorney quoted in The Epoch Times, adding that those registering are subject to surveillance, monitoring of sermons and other heavy-handed measures.

The U.S. State Department on Dec. 10, 2018 included China among 10 countries designated as Countries of Particular Concern for severe religious rights violations.

China ranked 27th on Christian support organization Open Doors’ 2019 World Watch List of the 50 countries where it is most difficult to be a Christian.

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  1. Bro. Nick Nicholas says

    – There certainly are very-very-very few ‘Religious Christian People’ here in my very proud – and arrogant – and self-righteous – self-declared ‘Greatest Country in the World’
    – When in fact we are a very SPIRITUALLY “wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked” Lukewarm Laodicean country.
    – I do personally wonder – Why is there so much complacency – and ignorance – and increasingly open animosity by ‘Religious Christian People’ here in ‘Amerika’ against the very real -AND- constantly increasing Persecution of the Christians in China by the “antichrist” Chinese Communist Party { CCP } ?
    – For there is hardly any ‘Amerikan Christian Person’ who is willing to PUBLICKLY let it be known that they have any sympathy – or care in the least for or about ANY Persecuted Christians ! ! !
    – However I frequently think about the late Romanian pastor Richard Wurmbrand (Mar 1909 – Feb 2001) – who spent 14 years imprisoned and tortured by the Communist government of Romania for his publick proclamations of his ‘Biblical CHRISTian’ faith in “the Lord Jesus Christ” who so well said –
    ‘I tremble because of the sufferings of those persecuted in different lands.
    I tremble thinking about the eternal destiny of their torturers.
    I tremble for Western Christians who don’t help their persecuted brethren.’
    SO – My personal choice as a truly Biblically “saved” and “born again” “believeth” follower of “the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ” – a ‘Biblical CHRISTian’ is to pray for my Chinese Christian “brethren”
    – That they will always remember “the words of truth” – and hope – and assurance – and peace that are written in Romans 8:35 [AV]~[KJV]:
    Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?
    shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?
    -AND- My personal choice is to continue to Remember – and Pray for ALL of MY Persecuted “brethren” — Men – and Women – and Boys – and Girls — in China — and WHEREVER ELSE they may live
    – For there are 140+ countries where Persecution of Christians is happening RIGHT NOW ! ! !
    – AND “it is written” unto those of who truly are ‘Biblical CHRISTians’ – That part of ‘Putting on the Whole Armour of God’ (Ephesians 6:10-20 ~AV) is to do that which is written in Verse 18:
    “Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit,
    and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;”
    SO – As a ‘Biblical CHRISTian’ I will also thankfully personally continue to privately -AND- PUBLICKLY do that which I am told to do in Hebrews 13:3 [AV]:
    “Remember them that are in bonds, as bound with them;
    and them which suffer adversity, as being yourselves also in the body.”

    • For the last 5 years I have been blessed with a ministry of prayer for the persecuted Church throughout the world with a specific emphasis for China and Muslim nations. I like you have found the head in the sand attitude among Christians about persecution heartrending. Brother Nick, let us pledge to pray for and with each other for the persecuted Church daily.

      • Bro. Nick Nicholas says

        Phillip OFS – I have and will continue to pray for all of our Persecuted “brethren” “in Christ Jesus our Lord” in every country
        – Personally my primary prayer is that which is written in 1 Thessalonians 5:23-25 [AV]~[KJV]:
        And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly;
        and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
        Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it.
        Brethren, pray for us.
        – And in Luke 21:34-36 [AV]:
        And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting,
        and drunkenness,
        and cares of this life,
        and so that day come upon you unawares.
        For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth.
        Watch ye therefore,
        and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.

      • Bro. Nick Nicholas says

        Phillip OFS – I will – Bro. Nick

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