Chinese Christians involved in Hong Kong’s pro-democracy protests have been subject to heightened persecution at the hands of the Communist government that continues to view people of faith as a hostile force endangering its regime.
According to religious liberty magazine Bitter Winter, many Hong Kong Christians have been active in the region’s ongoing anti-government demonstrations calling for democracy, amnesty for more than 6,400 people arrested so far, and an independent investigation into police actions.
In response, some local authorities in mainland China are using Hong Kongers’ participation in the protests as an excuse to oppress all Christians, even those who belong to the state-sanctioned Three-Self church. Under Chinese law, places of worship must register and submit to government oversight.
On Oct. 28, 2019, when a Three-Self church in Anyuan county under the jurisdiction of Ganzhou city in the southwestern province of Jiangxi came to the local Religious Affairs Bureau to renew the church’s permit, they were informed by an official that “It was decided at a meeting that all religious meetings should be banned and churches must be shut down.”
The official further argued that because many Christians had reportedly been involved in the Hong Kong “riots,” and because Christianity has been brought to China from the West, Communist authorities are concerned that people of faith in mainland China might have contact with believers in Hong Kong and the United States, so all churches must stop their activities, he said.
Also in October, the Religious Affairs Bureau officials in Wuning county under the jurisdiction of Jiangxi’s Jiujiang city raided the meeting venue of a local Three-Self church. They destroyed its cross, removed the words “Christian Church” from the wall, and took down all religious symbols, for the reason that Christians in Hong Kong were involved in the “riots.”
After the raid, a Chinese national flag was left flying on top of the church.
Two house church believers from Xuzhou city in the eastern province of Jiangsu who planned to travel to Hong Kong for sermons during China’s National Day in October were also told they would lose their welfare benefits if they did so.
“At the worst, you’ll go to prison,” the police officers said, warning that traveling to Hong Kong amounted to going against the Communist Party, and those who do so are deemed as “anti-China forces.”
Similarly, in September, a preacher and the leader of a house church in Jiangxi’s Ganzhou city were summoned by the State Security Bureau and ordered to sign a statement promising not to go to Hong Kong. Their Hong Kong-Macau travel passes were then confiscated.
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SOURCE: Christian Post, Leah MarieAnn Klett