China’s central government has intensified its crackdown on Christianity in recent months by pressuring local government officials to keep a count on the number of citizens who believe in God and to monitor them, according to a new report.
The CCP (Communist Party of China) even is threatening the officials in towns and villages with repercussions if the number is wrong. Three government officials in Yongcheng city in Henan province were suspended in April when their report to the government was too low.
“The government is taking the matter of religion very seriously now,” an unidentified local government official in the province of Henan told Bitter Winter, a watchdog that monitors religious freedom in the country. “Every day, they ask us how many people in our village believe in God. If we say there aren’t any believers, they claim that we’re concealing what we know and failing to report it.
“If it is determined that we didn’t report the situation truthfully, we will be punished. Now, we have to report our work to the township government twice a day. We also need to fill out a form in the evening. We’re so busy that we don’t have any free time at all.”
The three local officials eventually were reinstated.
“Special attention is paid to this work. It’s like our lives are being threatened,” a local official said. “After reporting someone, we have to restrict their movements and report their situation every day.”
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SOURCE: Christian Headlines, Michael Foust