Source: Direct Reports from China
Date: June 15, 2018
The increased crackdown on religion this year in China does not only restricts believers from following their faith but also severely infringes on individual liberties. The Communist Party’s draconian measures are pervasive, quite often bordering on totalitarian.On March 18, 2018, five policemen from the Xi County Police Station in the city of Xinyang, Henan Province, came to a Three-Self Church. They burned all religious portal paintings and couplets in the church and ordered the believers to hand over their Bibles, threatening, “Whoever keeps the Bible will be fined; whoever brings minors under the age of 18 to the church will be fined from 100,000 to 200,000 yuan. Failure to pay will result in detention and disobedience will result in imprisonment.” Since then, plain-clothes policemen have been monitoring the church at each gathering. Pastors and elders are forbidden to preach the authentic understanding of the Bible – they can only speak about the sermonic contents prescribed by the CCP. Believers are forbidden to read the Bible in private; the offenders will be fined if found out.
On the morning of May 6, a believer was moved to tears when singing praises to the Lord at the church. Plain-clothes policemen on surveillance at the church reproached him, “You are not allowed to thank and worship the Lord. Thank the Communist Party instead!” The police barred the believers from testifying about healing their sickness through prayer or thank and praise the Lord Jesus. When Party authorities came to the church for inspections, the police demanded the believers unite in giving thanks to the CCP.
It seems that the CCP’s persecution of religious beliefs has reached the critical point, while Christians fear that Xi Jinping is about to start the next Cultural Revolution.
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Bitter Winter plans to report on how religions are allowed, or not allowed, to operate in China and how some are severely persecuted after they are labeled as “xie jiao,” or heterodox teachings. We plan to publish news difficult to find elsewhere, analyses, and debates.
Placed under the editorship of Massimo Introvigne, one of the most well-known scholars of religion internationally, “Bitter Winter” is a cooperative enterprise by scholars, human rights activists, and members of religious organizations persecuted in China (some of them have elected, for obvious reasons, to remain anonymous).