Religious persecution grows in China and around the world
Lauren Green reports on the disturbing trend of rising religious persecution in governments around the world.
The Chinese Communist Party escalated its persecution of Christians throughout 2022 as the country clamped down on churches and online religious content while demanding allegiance to Chinese President Xi Jinping, according to a watchdog group.
A report released last week by the U.S.-based non-governmental organization ChinaAid warned that the Chinese government is using charges of “fraud” to financially suffocate the house church movement, which consists of Christian congregations that have not registered with China’s official Protestant church.
Authorities are using the traditional Christian practice of giving tithes and offerings to trump up charges against house churches under the “Measures for the Financial Management of Religious Activity Venues,” which were updated last June, according to the report. The report noted that multiple house church pastors and elders have been jailed and potentially face years in prison.
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A new report from ChinaAid warned that while the Chinese government once demanded allegiance to the Communist Party, it increasingly demands “worship and allegiance” to Chinese President Xi Jinping. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)
ChinaAid president and founder Bob Fu said in a statement that his organization is also “gravely concerned” with how state-sanctioned churches are being treated in China, which has approximately 96.7 million Christians, according to persecution watchdog Open Doors.
“By using the new measures against religious content online and the infamous ‘zero-COVID’ policy, authorities limited or eliminated Christian gatherings,” said Fu.
The Chinese government is also cracking down on Christian websites and apps in an attempt to “remove Christianity from cyberspace,” according to ChinaAid.
Following the implementation of the “Administrative Measures for Internet Religious Information and Services” in 2022, censorship of online Christian content — including even in group chats — has reached an “unprecedented” level, the report warned.
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Authorities are using the traditional Christian practice of giving tithes and offerings to trump up charges against house churches that have not registered with the government, according to ChinaAid. (Courtesy Open Doors USA )
CathAssist, which became China’s first Christian phone app in 2013, was among those that were shut down under the new regulations because they were unable to obtain a license. ChinaAid’s report said the app “did not meet the government’s requirements for the license, despite having taken various actions including suspending sharing, changing its name, and modifying content.”
“…religious Sinicization is evolving from supporting the CCP to worship and allegiance to Xi Jinping.”
Fu also noted that while the Chinese government has long demanded sole allegiance to the Communist Party, in recent years it has been emphasizing allegiance to Jinping.
The report from ChinaAid warned that “religious Sinicization is evolving from supporting the CCP to worship and allegiance to Xi Jinping.” (CFOTO/Future Publishing via Getty Images)
“Before, during, and after the opening of the Congress, China’s state-run religious groups lavished compliments and praise on Xi with more extravagant words and phrases than China’s state-run media, showing that religious Sinicization is evolving from supporting the CCP to worship and allegiance to Xi Jinping,” the report said.
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“Their goal is not only to curate a ‘socialist-friendly’ church; they hope to erase it,” said Fu. “The international community needs to know about these trends and developments as China continues to rise on the global stage.”
Jon Brown is a writer for Fox News Digital. Story tips can be sent to [email protected].