BEIJING – The world as we know it is at a virtual standstill in the presence of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. People are isolating in place to avoid falling victim to the virus. Businesses, churches, sports and entertainment venues, and even government offices are closed.For Christians in China, where the COVID-19 is believed to have begun, isolating in place appears to have presented an opportunity for the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) to ramp up its campaign to erase the worship of Christ in the country.
Chinese officials have already established an unparalleled security system that monitors citizens’ every move. They have demanded that the Ten Commandments be modified so as not to acknowledge the Lord’s supremacy. They have ordered the Bible to be Sinicized so that it is compatible with the philosophy of the CCP. They have detained pastors and church leaders, forced the closure of many churches, and banned home churches.
Following a recent pre-pandemic visit to China, David Curry, CEO of Open Doors, noted that nearly 5,600 churches had been closed.
Officials have now hired workers who, during the pandemic, are removing crosses from Christian churches if the crosses are positioned higher than the Chinese flag (which is required be flown on church property).
Church leaders who attempt to prevent the removal of the crosses face threats against themselves, their families, and their church buildings. In one case cited by Bitter Winter, government officials threatened to demolish a place of worship if anyone attempted to prevent removal of the cross from it.
CCP officials in some provinces have even prohibited online church services.
According to Pastor Jian Zhu, Director of the China Institute at Lincoln Christian College in Lincoln, Illinois,
“The Chinese government now has placed severe restrictions and policies …, asking neighbors to spy on one another, pressure school teachers and college professors to betray and sign a statement to denounce their faith as well as to do the same to the students.
“Now, they are trying to eliminate Christianity from public life. Cameras are all over to watch churches and Christians go to Sunday service. Families are threatened to not go to church, or they will be punished, or their relatives could be in trouble.”
Dr. Curry rightly observed that China seems to be resurrecting the CCP philosophy that the state is god.
“They are using this artificial intelligence and surveillance to a whole new level,” he added. “All indications show that in 2020 — and this is why we are highlighting this — they are bringing these two systems together. They are merging the social scoring system and surveillance and artificial intelligence to give them the tools and the power to oppress the people.”
Jian Zhu described the oppression against Christians and house churches as “now the worst he has seen since 1979.”
Be mindful to pray for our Chinese brothers and sisters in Christ, and let us be thankful for the freedoms we are blessed to enjoy.
Follow this link to learn more about Christians in China reported by Missions Box News.
Read more news on Missions Box on Religious Persecution and the Coronavirus Crisis.
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