Rumors that China’s Central Government ordered its towns to monitor and count Christians appear to be true.
More specifically, Asian Access’ Joe Handley says, “What we’re hearing is they’re following up and wanting to get actual names of those who believe in God. It’s not just Christianity; it includes Buddhism, Taoism. It’s spanning the scope of everything, including Catholics, Protestants, and probably intense focus on underground church leaders.”
He added that a primary motivator for the crackdown might relate to government alarm over the explosive growth of Christianity. “The government certainly is concerned about that. They’re afraid that political movement could come to this and, that eventually, these faith leaders could overthrow the government.”
Old hat, new cycle
China began enforcing a series of policies over the last 24 months aimed at ‘sinicism,’ or making different elements of society more ‘Chinese.’ According to the original story, as reported by ChristianHeadlines.com, local officials report the numbers of Christians living in their jurisdiction to the Central Government on a monthly basis.
While the story appears unique, the situation is not new. Arresting believers, removing crosses, and closing or demolishing churches are commonplace. Religious rights watchdog groups often point out that the Communist regime feels threatened by Christian communities who view God as their authority.
Handley explains that decades ago, believers got creative in how they lived as the body of Christ under severe persecution. “The older ones (Christian leaders), that’s what they did in the early days when the doors first started opening. They’re used to that. But the younger pastors, and a good percentage of the leaders today, this is all new territory for them, and (we’re) so equipping them to face that transition.”
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SOURCE: Mission Network News, R.B. Klama