China wants to “cut of the oxygen” of churches, the head of a persecution watchdog has warned. pexels
The head of a persecution watchdog has warned that Chinese authorities are seeking to “cut off the oxygen” of Christian churches amid reports non-Chinese Christian leaders are being deported for proselytizing.
David Curry of Open Doors USA recently told Mission Network News that government officials want to reduce the influence of “outsiders” on Chinese life. The government wants to restrict access to the Western World. Curry says that they strongly believe the Church should be part of the Chinese government.
” We want it to be about Jesus’ words, life and cause, and his burial and resurrection. “
MNN notes that there’s been a recent wave of deportations of non-Chinese Christian leaders — and those who remain won’t allow Chinese Christians into their services because they don’t want the Chinese government to kick them out.
South Korean believers in Shandong province stopped a Chinese believer at the door, the outlet reports, stating the following:
“The Chinese government has stipulated that Chinese people and foreigners cannot attend mass together… The government will ban us from holding worship activities in China if we are found to be holding mass together with Chinese people. We may even be returned to our homeland. We don’t want this, but it’s what we have to do. “
In 2015, officials introduced the term “sinicization,” meaning Muslim, Buddhist, and Christian leaders must fuse their religions with Chinese socialist thought.
The country’s revised Regulations on Religious Affairs, implemented in February, have seen church closures, congregants being detained, Bibles burned, and students being forced to sign documents renouncing their faith. Underground churches have been encouraged to join the government’s registry.
Other religious minorities, including Muslims and Buddhists, have also faced widespread crackdowns and increased persecution, including detentions at so-called “re-educational” camps.
“He (Xi Jinping) is trying to find a way to cut off the independence of the Church,” Curry explained. They’ve always had laws they could use against the Church. But now, they’re starting to narrow their focus and ‘cut off the oxygen’ for freedom of religion expression in China. “
Currently, China is ranked #43 on Open Door USA’s World Watch List of 50 countries where it’s most difficult to be a Christian. Curry said to MNN that the ranking could change following this year’s events.
“You have a massive amount of Christians in that country,” he said. “It will soon be, if not already, one of the largest bodies of Christ anywhere in the globe. “
Roderic Wye, a former first secretary in the British Embassy in Beijing, told Business Insider that the Chinese government ‘has always had trouble with religion one way or another,” because often religious activity tends to imply some sort of organization.
“Once organizations exist, the party is keen to control them,” Wye said. He also stated that China’s desire to have control over religions is to limit foreign influence.
“There’s always been a concern the Chinese state has had about the extent of foreign influence over religion and the way foreign forces might use to manipulate societal thought,” Wye, now an associate fellow at Chatham House, told Business Insider.
“This was part of the larger ‘China dream’ that Xi Jinping had, to make China strong and powerful again.” he said.
“Whatever political and social development China will take in the future, it is to be decided and promulgated by the Chinese Communist Party, and no other source of moral or social authority is tolerated.”
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