China Enforces New Sinicization Rules on Christian Churches

Photo courtesy VOM-USA

Under the cover of COVID-19, a global pandemic that led to a lockdown of over 500-million people, the government of China began enforcing a number of administrative measures applied to religious groups.

They went into effect on February 1, 2020 and followed earlier rules put into place in 2018. While global attention focused elsewhere, it appears sinicization efforts began in earnest.

According to the Voice of the Martyrs USA, here are some of the requirements churches are being forced to follow:
1. Pastors must submit every sermon to authorities before preaching
2. The Communist anthem must be sung at the beginning of every worship service
3. A picture of President Xi- Jinping must be hung on the walls
4. Facial recognition cameras facing the audience must be installed in the church

The religion of sinicization

The story isn’t new, says Todd Nettleton, spokesman for VOM-USA, but “Local officials have started to come into churches now and say, ‘wait a minute, you don’t have a picture of President Xi in your in your sanctuary. What are you waiting for to put that up?’ So the pressure has just ratcheted up and up.”

In the past, this kind of pressure often involved the unregistered church or the house church networks. However, enforcement is now coming down on the registered churches. It’s a concerted effort to make Christianity more Chinese, explains Nettleton. “The problem with that is that the Chinese version of Christianity that the Communist Party is putting forward is a version of Christianity that doesn’t conflict with the party teaching. It doesn’t conflict with the idea that President Xi is should be really revered and almost worshipped.”

However, for true Bible-believing Christians in China, they say, “‘we can’t compromise on this. Jesus Christ is the head of the Church. President Xi is not the head of the Church. We must follow the Bible; we must follow the dictates of our conscience and the dictates of the Scripture.’  That’s really where this conflict is coming.”

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SOURCE: Mission Network News, R.B. Klama

CALL TO ACTION

  • Pray that the followers of Christ in China stay focused on God’s Truth.
  • Ask God to provide the resources needed for believers in China.
  • Pray that the body of Christ continues to grow in strength and boldness.