China: Cash rewards offered for info on Christians’ ‘illegal religious activity venues’

September 21, 2020

Persecution of Christians in China: The Chinese government has been acting with ever greater impunity against Christians. Its attempt to create a form of Christianity with “Chinese characteristics” is a matter of grave concern also for all the Christians of the country, including the tiny community of Orthodox Christians in China. The Chinese government is clearly trying to remake Christianity into a pliant tool of the Communist Party, or worse, as a Christian says in the article below, “The CCP will not stop until it eliminates all religious beliefs.” In this environment, the Orthodox churches in China could be closed at any time at the whim of local officials, and Orthodox Christians taken into custody.

China offers yet another instance of the persecution of Christians by governing officials that is unfortunately on the increase not only in China, but in all too many other nations around the world.

For previous coverage of the persecution of Christians in China, see here.

“Awards Offered to Snitch on Unregistered Religious Venues,” by Han Sheng, Bitter Winter, September 5, 2020:

In August, the Ethnic and Religious Affairs Bureau of Gushi county in the central province of Henan issued a notice encouraging people to collect photos, videos, audio recordings, and other materials and report on “illegal religious activity venues.” An award of 500 RMB (about $ 70) is offered for each tipoff.

As per the notice, all places of worship that don’t have registration certificates and are not approved by religious affairs authorities are “illegal religious activity venues.” The document also claims that over the nearly five months that religious venues have been closed due to the coronavirus outbreak, some people of faith were “cheated and lured by religious organizations into private meeting venues” to attend “illegal religious activities,” “causing a great negative impact on security and stability in the field of religion.” Therefore, all such illegal activities in the county should be investigated and suppressed.

Almost immediately after the campaign was launched, the landlord of a house church refused to rent her property to the congregation. “Encouraged by the government propaganda, the landlord drove us away, refusing to rent us her property,” a church member said. “She explained that she didn’t want to suffer consequences if our venue was discovered. The CCP will not stop until it eliminates all religious beliefs.”

The congregation used to belong to a registered Three-Self church but was shut down last year to reduce the number of religious venues. Believers were once again left with no place to gather.

In July, banners and slogans promoting “proactive reporting on illegal religious activities” were displayed in other Henan locations: in Mengzhou, Jiyuan, Shangqiu, and other cities. Propaganda activities were organized to inform residents that any gathering of three to five believers should be reported immediately.
Banners promoting “proactive reporting on illegal religious activities.”

“The government exerts strict control not only to curb the development of Three-Self churches but also ban house churches, for fear that they will help topple the regime,” a local government employee explained….