China Cracks Down On Online Christian Content - Permission To Post Required
By WND News CenterSeptember 18, 2023
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China long has persecuted Christians, censoring and suppressing them, formalizing all sorts of discrimination against them, even jailing and killing them.
Even when the government there was printing Bibles, the suppression was there, as it only allowed people to have Bibles the government deemed allowable.
Now a new report is warning that the Communist regime is trying to suppress any visible presence of Christianity.
According to a report from the Christian Institute, it is Release International, which focuses its ministry on helping Christians around the globe, that said new restrictions have popped up in China.
"According to RI, the new measures confine all religious activities to official venues and ban the outdoor display of religious symbols," the report said.
And, it said, "Places of worship can also no longer be named after denominations, churches or individuals, and religious leaders must clearly show they are 'supporting' the Communist Party and leadership."
The moves have become like, according to RI CEO Paul Robinson, the "tightening of screws designed to eliminate the visible presence of Christianity in China."
Now it's illegal to post evangelical Christian content online without special permission from the Communist Party.
"Under the regulations, only the five officially sanctioned religions - Three-Self Church Protestantism, Roman Catholicism, Daoism, Buddhism and Islam - are eligible to apply for a special license," the report szid.
The rapidly surging house churches of Christians specifically are barred from sharing anything of a religious nature online, the report said.
A large Protestant church in the city known as "China's Jerusalem" was recently demolished on the orders of local leaders. Sanjiang church, in the eastern city of Wenzhou, took six years and 30 million yuan ($4.8 million) to put up, but officials said it had violated building codes.
Local Christians gathered at the church but were unable to stop the demolition. Unregistered "house churches" have long been the target of government crackdowns, but Sanjiang was part of the officially approved church.
One church even was banned from using "Christ" in its online message.
Release International reported the rules, from the State Administration for Religious Affairs, are intended " to limit" religious activities.
"From September 1, all religious activity will have to be supervised by the state to make sure churches and places of worship support the leadership of China's Communist Party," the group reported.
Groups working with Release International explain the campaign simply is a way to impose "a complete ban on religious activities" and specifically targets house churches, where hundreds of millions worship.
Among recent campaigns was a scheme to require sermons from Christian pastors to "reflect China's politics and the core values advocated by Chairman Xi Jinping."
Delivering something other than the state messaging means pastors no longer are allowed to preach, the report said.
Robinson explained, "This is a further attempt to clamp down on the church in China. Yet by every account Christianity in China is growing. The number of Christians in China has long surpassed the membership of the Communist Party."
RI partner Bob Fu, president of ChinaAid, said, "I don't think I've seen the Chinese Communist Party as bold as they've been this summer in playing God and twisting how the gospel is taught. The only correct perspective in the eyes of the communist government is worship of the state and placing faith in Xi Jinping Thought."
Open Doors reports there are almost 100 million Christians in China, about 7% of the nation's population.
They have been under restrictions and surveillance for years, and those limits are tightening.
The organization bluntly confirms that it is getting harder to be a Christian in China.