China: Christians reportedly forced to join government’s churches

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Reports reveal that the Communist Party has stepped up the persecution of Christians by forcing them to join the state-run-churches. A Christian persecution watchdog China Aid, reported that Protestant under-ground house churches and Catholicism have been facing the brunt of the recent anti-Christians drive which resulted because of ‘Sinicisation of religions.’

Communist party in China

The house churches are being referred to as “private Christian meeting places,” since last year to a sequence of “special rectification orders”. This implies that the cross demolition drive would gain momentum, although this reduced in recent times.

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Report revealed that the Evangelical house churches are now facing pressure from the government to join either of the two government-approved Christian churches including the “Three-Self” church. Details emerged that any church that refuses to participate in the registration process faces ban. Pastors who refuse to accept bribes are slapped with ban or may even face imprisonment.

“The Chinese Communist Party officially is atheist and took steps in 2015 to ensure that Party members
reject religion or belief. More than half of China’s population is unaffiliated with any religion or belief. There are nearly 300 million Chinese who practice some form of folk religion; more than 246 million Buddhists; at least 68 million Christians; nearly 25 million Muslims; and less than 3.6 million apiece practice Hinduism, Judaism, or Taoism,” reported United States Commission for International Religious Freedom.

“In May 2015, authorities in Zhejiang Province circulated draft regulations governing the color, size and location of religious signs, symbols, and structures. While the regulations apply to all religious markers, the move aligned with provincial officials’ systematic efforts in recent years to forcibly remove church crosses in Zhejiang Province, an area with a high concentration of Christians.

Officially branded the “Three Rectifications and One Demolition” campaign, Chinese authorities use the pretext of building code violations to target houses of worship, particularly churches, as illegal structures. By some estimates, the number of cross removals and church demolitions totaled at least 1,500, and many who opposed these acts were arrested,” USCIRF report said.