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The leader of a watchdog group that monitors Christian persecution in China said he’s seeing echoes of the Chinese Community Party “playbook” in the U.S., and he’s worried it’ll get worse.
Bob Fu, president of the U.S.-based non-governmental organization ChinaAid, said he’s seeing the same tactics in Western nations that the CCP uses to crack down on churches.
“The similarities are very, very striking between the Chinese Communist way of persecution and the American leftist way of restriction and even discrimination,” Fu told Fox News Digital.
Fu said he has observed with concern how the left in the U.S. is increasingly exhibiting “dictatorial” attitudes both culturally and politically by censoring speech, enforcing “woke” culture and not tolerating dissent. He pinpointed the alleged political weaponziation of federal law enforcement agencies as a worrisome escalation of such trends.
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ChinaAid founder and President Bob Fu, who was jailed in China for his involvement in the house church movement, warned the tactics of the American left are becoming “dictatorial.” (ChinaAid)
“It is very shocking and horrible to see American society’s transformation evolving from its constitutional basis,” Fu said.
Fu was a student leader at his university during the Tiananmen Square protests in 1989 and became a Christian in the Chinese underground church decades ago, he said. As recounted in his 2013 book “God’s Double Agent,” he and his wife were imprisoned in Beijing for leading house churches, which are Christian congregations that have not registered with China’s official Protestant or Catholic churches.
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Bob Fu and his wife Heidi were imprisoned in Beijing for their work in the underground Christian church in China. (ChinaAid)
The couple escaped the country in 1996 and became refugees in the U.S. the next year. He said he founded ChinaAid in 2002 to provide “a voice for those voiceless persecuted brothers and sisters in China,” as well as “legal and humanitarian aid to those who are persecuted, imprisoned and tortured.”
Fu, who became a naturalized American citizen and attended Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia, said some of the tactics used to crack down on churches during the pandemic both in the U.S. and other Western countries were sometimes straight out of the “Chinese Communist playbook.”
“They only have one playbook,” he said. “I saw the governor of California basically prescribe and order the church to shut down and say not only when they can worship, but how. The ways that he threatened to punish those churches and pastors sometimes were word-for-word exactly the same as what the CCP is using against the Chinese churches.”
ChinaAid President Bob Fu claimed clampdowns on churches during the pandemic in states like California resembled similar tactics used by the Chinese Communist Party. (Dai Sugano/MediaNews Group/East Bay Times via Getty Images)
Fu noted how former Democratic Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti at one point threatened to cut off the utilities of homes and businesses that defied California’s COVID-19 restrictions.
“Guess what? That’s exactly the same tactic, word-for-word, that the Communist Party has issued over the years against the churches,” Fu claimed. Neither Newsom nor Garcetti responded to Fox News Digital’s request for comment by time of publication.
Fu also noted how pastors have been treated in Canada during recent years as a particularly egregious example of Chinese-style tactics being used to clamp down on churches in a Western democracy, adding that the country has been engaging in “passive and active persecution” against churches.
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“In front of the camera, the police would invade a church during the Sunday worship, kick out all the believers and basically push the pastor away from the church building and then shut down the whole church,” Fu said of Canada. “So, that is happening now. I think the church in the West has to be prepared for something like this to happen and maybe happen more.”
During the pandemic, churches throughout Canada contended with imprisoned pastors, locked facilities, steep fines and continued interference from government officials. After Pastor Tim Stephens of Calgary, Alberta, was arrested for a second time in 2021 when a police helicopter reportedly found his church gathering outside, U.S. Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., wrote a letter urging the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom to consider adding Canada to its watch list.
Pastor Derek Reimer, 36, was arrested and charged last week with one count of breaching a release order that prohibited him from communicating with LGBTQ people or being within 200 meters of events involving the LGBTQ community. (Courtesy Nathaniel Pawlowski)
Pastor Derek Reimer of Calgary remains in prison as of Wednesday after being arrested twice in recent weeks for protesting drag queen story time for children at public libraries. He was most recently charged for allegedly breaching a release order that prohibited him from communicating with self-identified LGBTQ people or being within 200 meters of events involving the LGBTQ community.
Pastor Artur Pawlowski, another Calgary pastor who was repeatedly jailed for keeping his church open during the pandemic, told Fox News Digital last week that Reimer’s arrests indicate that authorities are anti-Christian and are beginning to enforce ideology using the same tactics they used to enforce COVID-19 protocols.
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“There are so many unprecedented things that really break my heart,” Fu said. “I feel America is descending into a Chinese communist-style of governance. The media propaganda is exactly the same as in communist China, where I was born and educated in the trend.”
Much of U.S. mainstream media, he claimed, has become “the mouthpiece of one party, one ideology, by twisting and even lying and using all their so-called reports to promote one ideology.”
“I feel America is descending into a Chinese communist-style of governance.”
Fu said Big Tech’s clampdown on speech in the U.S. is also a trend he has witnessed in China, where posts from his organization have been scrubbed from Facebook.
Following the implementation of its “Administrative Measures for Internet Religious Information and Services” in 2022, Chinese censorship of online Christian content — including even in group chats — has reached an “unprecedented” level, according to ChinaAid’s most recent report.
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Fu said Christian persecution in China has worsened to a point not seen since the Cultural Revolution. According to his organization’s report, Chinese Christians are being routinely imprisoned and tortured, and the government is using the traditional Christian practice of tithes and offerings to trump up fraud charges in an attempt to “financially suffocate” the house churches.
Multiple house church pastors and elders have been jailed and potentially face years in prison, and religious citizens in China’s Henan province are required to register with the government’s new “Smart Religion” app to participate in worship services, according to the report.
A 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. (Lintao Zhang/Getty Images)
The report further noted that while the Chinese government has long demanded sole allegiance to the Communist Party, in recent years it has been emphasizing allegiance to Chinese President Xi Jinping. As the CCP “exports its repressive tactics” around the world, Fu believes the same attitude has overtaken some Western politicians.
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“There is a major spirit of similarities against God’s church,” he said. “Suddenly mayors and governors become little emperors. They think their power is above the authority of God and over the church. They want to be the manager of the church, they want to tell you when and how to worship.”
Jon Brown is a writer for Fox News Digital. Story tips can be sent to [email protected].