China’s government is continuing to crack down on those practicing religion throughout the country, especially Christians. Officials have recently been destroying crosses and burning Bibles, while ordering followers to sign documents renouncing their faith, according to a new report.
Under rule of President Xi Jinping, Chinese religious believers are feeling their own freedoms shrink rapidly, and are feeling less and less powerful with every passing day. Experts have recently said that as Xi grows in power, he is “waging the most severe suppression of Christianity in the country since religious freedom was written into the Chinese constitution in 1982.”
China has estimated nearly 38 million Protestants, and it’s been predicted that the country will have the world’s largest Christian population within the next few decades.
Bob Fu, who works for a U.S. branch of China Aid, told RNS that the closure of churches in recent weeks represents “a significant escalation” of Chinese government cracking down on these tough laws. Adding, “The international community should be alarmed and outraged for this blatant violation of freedom of religion and belief.”
Fu provided video footage of a pile of burning Bibles alongside the forms with multiple signatures renouncing their faith. He shared that for the first time since Mao Zedong’s 1966 Cultural Revolution, Christians are being forced to make these declarations. If not, they’re looking at expulsion from school or the loss of welfare benefits.
#China CCP starts burning the Bible and crosses in Henan. Last time burning Bibles campaign happened in late 1960s by dictator Chairman Mao’s wife Jiang Qing in Shanghai. She was arrested in 1976 but Christians grew to millions. Will Never be successful河南文革重现，烧圣经十字架 pic.twitter.com/T5esv16NXI
— Bob Fu傅希秋 (@BobFu4China) September 5, 2018
Zion Church, Beijing’s largest house church with six branches, was closed down on Sunday. The church’s pastor, Ezra Jin Mingri, said that officials declared the church’s gatherings as “illegal.”
Not only are Christians suffering, any recognized religion in China is being affected by this crackdown of the law. In some areas, an estimated 1 million members of Muslim minority groups have been taken to indoctrination camps where they are being forced to comply by denouncing Islam and professing their loyalty to the Communist Party.