AP News reported on August 07, 2018, “President Xi Jinping, China’s most powerful leader since Mao Zedong,… is waging the most severe systematic suppression of Christianity in the country since religious freedom was written into the Chinese constitution in 1982.”
AP News offers these examples:
- Xi is pushing to ‘Sinicize’ all the nation’s religions by infusing them with ‘Chinese characteristics’ such as loyalty to the Communist Party…. This spring, a five-year plan to “Sinicize” Christianity in particular was introduced, along with new rules on religious affairs.
- Over the last several months, local governments across the country have shut down hundreds of private Christian “house churches.” A statement last week from 47 in Beijing alone said they had faced “unprecedented” harassment since February.
- Authorities have seized Bibles, while major e-commerce retailers JD.com and Taobao pulled them off their sites.
- Children and party members are banned from churches in some areas
- At least one township has encouraged Christians to replace posters of Jesus with portraits of Xi.
- Some Christians have resorted to holding services in secret.
- A dozen Chinese Protestants interviewed by the Associated Press described gatherings that were raided, interrogations and surveillance.
- One pastor said hundreds of his congregants were questioned individually about their faith.
- In March, a prominent Chinese house church leader with U.S. permanent residency was sentenced to seven years in prison after he built Christian schools in Myanmar. And half a dozen Christians were sentenced last month to up to 13 years in jail for involvement in a “cult,” according to U.S.-based Christian non-profit ChinaAid.
- Last March in Henan Province, officials went door-to-door stripping decorative scrolls bearing the cross from home entrances. 700 religious banners were removed, 200 religious texts were seized, and 31 illegal Christian gathering places were shut down. This all happen on a single Sunday morning.
- House churches that once hosted gatherings of hundreds have now sealed their doors and split into groups of no more than a handful. Services are announced last-minute and held in different locations each week, often under the cloak of darkness.