John Stonestreet and Roberto Rivera on China’s Escalating Crackdown on Churches

Right before the New Year, a Chinese court sentenced Early Rain Church Pastor Wang Yi to nine years in prison for “inciting subversion of state power” and “illegal business activities.” In addition to prison, Wang is deprived of his “political rights” for three years and his personal property (approximately $7,200 worth) will be confiscated.

Thirteen years ago, Wang was in the White House discussing the state of religious freedom in China with then-President George W. Bush. Today he is a symbol of just how perilous it is for religious minorities in China.

In fact, given the new regulations to be imposed on religious communities beginning Feb. 1, 2020, Wang’s imprisonment is only a prelude to what lies ahead for Chinese Christians and other religious minorities.

As summarized by the Catholic website Asia News: “Religious organizations must spread the principles and policies of the Chinese Communist Party, as well as national laws, regulations, rules to religious personnel and religious citizens, educating religious personnel and religious citizens to support the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party, supporting the socialist system, adhering to and following the path of socialism with Chinese characteristics …”

If that sounds like China will now force religious organizations to be organs of the Communist Party, that’s because China is forcing religious organization to be organs of the Communist Party. As a Catholic priest told Asia News, “In practice, your religion no longer matters, if you are Buddhist, or Taoist, or Muslim or Christian: the only religion allowed is faith in the Chinese Communist Party.”

Asia News summed up the new regulations this way: “Every aspect of the life of religious communities — from formation, gatherings to annual and daily projects — is subject to approval by the government’s religious affairs department.”

Back in November, I argued on BreakPoint that what drives the repression of religious minorities and democracy activists in China is the Communist Party’s insecurity about its own weakness. For example, contrast the way Beijing is treating Christians with how they treat technology giant Huawei. Setting aside the inherent contradiction of billionaires in a socialist system, companies like Huawei enjoy freedoms that churches can only dream about.

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SOURCE: Christian Post, John Stonestreet and Roberto Rivera