China: Officials seize Bibles, hymn books, and other Christian literature not approved by the government

February 15, 2020

Persecution of Christians in China: as we have reported here for quite some time, the Chinese government is in the midst of an all-out campaign to turn Christianity into a weak religion that is entirely subservient to the Chinese Communist Party, and that doesn’t teach anything that would lead Chinese people away from Communist Party dogma. In fact, the government is trying to turn the Church into another organ for its propaganda; hence the war on Christian literature reported in this story.

This is a matter of grave concern for Orthodox Christians in China and all other Christians as well. Holy Orthodoxy in China predates this war on Christianity. It has a three-hundred year history in China, with the first Orthodox Christians coming into the country in 1685. In the 1980s, the Chinese Orthodox Church began to experience a revival.

Pray that it not be snuffed out. The Order of Saint Andrew, Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, requests once again that the Chinese government end these repressive measures, grant official recognition to the Chinese Orthodox Church, and give full religious freedom to all the Christians of that nation.

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

“Chinese Officials Hunt for ‘Pirated’ Bibles,” by Tang Zhe, Bitter Winter, February 12, 2020:

On December 7 last year, the police raided a house church meeting venue in Lichuan county, administered by Jiangxi Province’s prefecture-level city of Fuzhou, searching for unlicensed religious materials. Claiming that anything that is not approved by the state is “pirated,” officers confiscated several boxes of Bibles, hymn books, and other religious literature found in the church. They also noted down the ID information of all congregation members who were present and threatened to arrest them if they meet again. Government personnel paid regular visits to the church afterward, to ensure that the church has not resumed assemblies.

Similar raids are implemented all over the country. Since last year, governments of localities throughout China have been chasing for religious publications as part of the nationwide campaign “to eradicate pornography and illegal publications.” A document issued in 2019 by the Ethnic and Religious Affairs Bureau of a county in Hebei Province calls for daily inspections to look for un-approved religious publications as “primary work on religion.” All such materials should be confiscated immediately.

A confidential document issued last April by a local government in Inner Mongolia demands various government departments to investigate religious venues, training institutions, printing companies, typing and copying shops, dining and entertainment establishments for unauthorized religious publications. The document also encourages grid administrators and the masses to report any leads on such materials.

State-sanctioned churches are not exempt from such investigations. On December 20, about ten officials from the Lichuan county’s United Front Work Department and police officers raided a Three-Self church to look for “pirated Bibles.” A preacher there told them that all the Bibles had been printed by the Amity Printing Company in Nanjing, the capital of Jiangsu Province, which is approved by the Two National Christian Councils. Regardless, the officials confiscated 30 Bibles they found in the church.

A preacher from another Three-Self church in the county also reported that government employees warned him that any Bibles that are not approved by the Two National Christian Councils would be confiscated as “pirated publication.”

“If our Bibles are taken away, we have no more. We are thinking of asking our congregation members to hide them in the mountains,” the preacher told Bitter Winter….