A local government communications agency in China held a seminar in April to discuss with Communist Party members the “enormous harm” the growth of Christianity is to the atheist nation.
The Chinese Christian persecution watchdog China Aid raised an alarm about the event, titled “Christianity’s Enormous Harm on China’s Security,” held on April 22 in the city of Hebi in China’s Henan province.
According to the NGO, the seminar encouraged party members to avoid being persuaded by Christian ideology and to sustain “correct views” when it comes to religion.
“The Chinese government often views religions, including Christianity, as foreign attempts to undermine its rule, even though there is no evidential basis for such a claim,” the China Aid report reads. “As a result, they often try to suppress religious adherents, and they openly forbid Communist Party members from practicing a religion.”
UCANews.com, an organization that exclusively covers Asia-Catholic news, reports that the Hebi Municipal Radio Administrative Bureau in Henan publicly admitted to holding the seminar on its WeChat page. However, the post was deleted from the social media platform two days later.
The seminar comes as China has seen explosive growth in the number of believers over the last several decades since the Cultural Revolution. Estimates have even suggested that China is on track to have the largest Christian population in the world by 2030.
According to a Council on Foreign Relations report from last October, the number of Chinese Protestants has grown by an average of 10 percent annually since 1979.
Fenggang Yang, a professor of sociology at Purdue University’s Center on Religion and Chinese Society, estimated in 2017 that there are anywhere from 93 million to 115 million Christians in a nation of over 1.3 billion people, reports the South China Morning Post.
About 30 million Christians in China are estimated to attend state-sanctioned churches while many others attend illegal underground house churches that are not registered with the government.
Authorities throughout China have shut down a number of prominent house churches and arrested Christians for worshiping without the approval of the government. For over 10 years, China has imprisoned American Pastor David Lin, who has maintained his innocence on a charge of “contract fraud.”
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SOURCE: Christian Post, Samuel Smith