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. This is a matter of grave concern for Orthodox Christians in China and all other Christians as well. This story concerns house churches, but Orthodox Christians are in no less precarious position.
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 ChristianPersecution.com coverage of the persecution of Christians in China, see here.
“How China’s Xi Jinping destroyed religion and made himself God,” by Steven W. Mosher, New York Post, February 1, 2020:
Catholic churches torn down or denuded of their crosses and statues. Images of the Madonna and Child replaced with pictures of “People’s Leader” Xi Jinping. Signs posted outside evangelical churches forbidding anyone under the age of 18 from entering. The Ten Commandments painted over with quotes from Xi.
These are just some of the ways that the Chinese Communist Party is persecuting Christians in China.
But it’s not just Christians. In China’s Far West, over a million Muslims languish in concentration camps — Beijing cutely calls them “vocational training centers” — while mosques are being torn down, religious signs removed and ancient cemeteries leveled.
Elsewhere in China, Buddhist temples are being turned into shrines celebrating Xi Jinping, China’s President For Life. His picture adorns the walls, his recorded voice booms out of the loudspeakers, and it is his “Thought” — not Buddha’s — that the monks are now required to meditate upon.
Not even the Taoists, China’s ancient folk religion, have escaped this new Cultural Revolution. Temples that have stood for over 1,000 years have been closed and ancient statues smashed, all on the orders of “Religious Affairs” officials.
Perhaps some of those who are concerned about protecting cultural sites in Iran could spare a thought for the daily demolition derby now going on in China.
A demolition derby that is about to get worse, a lot worse.
On Feb. 1, 2020, new restrictions on all forms of religious activity came into force.
The “Control Measures for Religious Groups,” as the 41 new rules are called, deal with everything from the holding of rites and rituals, to the selection of leaders and annual meetings, to the hiring of staff and the handling of funds. All of these must be reported — in advance, no less — to the comrades at the “Religious Affairs” office for their approval.
In other words, without the permission of the authorities, you can’t organize a Bible study. And if you do get permission, you’d better hold it in a Party-approved religious venue, at a Party-approved time, with a Party-approved leader and using the new Party-approved Bible, which contains quotations from Confucius and, of course, Xi Jinping.
No Communist directive would be complete without a Catch-22 and the “Control Measures” contain a doozy: “Religious groups must also report to the appropriate government authorities any and all other matters that should be reported.”
Translation: We can shut you down at any time for any reason.
The “Control Measures” are part of Xi Jinping’s New Cultural Revolution, one goal of which is to stamp out all religious groups that the Communist Party cannot co-opt and control. “A religious group cannot carry out any activities,” warns the new rules, “without registration with the Civil Affairs office and the approval of the Religious Affairs office of the people’s government.”
Some religious groups will never be allowed to register, no matter how innocent their activities. The Early Rain Covenant Church and the Falun Gong have already been declared to be “heretical cults” and their followers will continue to suffer arrest, imprisonment and, in some cases, torture. The Early Rain pastor, for example, has just been sentenced to nine years in prison.
Members of other groups are being forced to join existing Party-controlled organizations. In the case of the bishops, priests and laity of the underground Catholic Church, for instance, this is the Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association, whose leaders are handpicked Party followers.
But, like Mao’s Cultural Revolution, Xi’s copycat version has an even more ambitious goal. It is to extinguish faith in God altogether, replacing it with faith in the Chinese Communist Party and the Party’s own “small-g” god of the moment, who is Xi Jinping himself.
And it perversely intends to enlist China’s churches, mosques, shrines and temples into this effort.
The new rules order all “religious groups” to “propagandize the principles and policies of the Chinese Communist Party, along with national laws and regulations, to all of their religious staff and followers” and to “educate and guide all religious staff and followers to embrace the Chinese Communist Party’s leadership, to embrace the socialist system, to uphold the path of ‘Socialism with Chinese Characteristics’ . . . and to maintain the overall policy of sinicization of religion.”…