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Why China is terrified of Christianity From destroying churches to jailing priests, the Communist Party is bent on eliminating religion

A procession of Chinese Catholics. (Photo by China Photos/Getty Images)

A procession of Chinese Catholics. (Photo by China Photos/Getty Images)


February 17, 2021   5 mins

Religious freedom in China is facing the most severe crackdown since the Cultural Revolution — and most people don’t even realise. Yes, in the past year, the plight of the predominantly Muslim Uighurs has drawn increasing attention. At least a million, perhaps as many as three million, have been incarcerated in prison camps, where they face systematic torture, rape, slave labour and forced sterilisation. Likewise, the continued persecution of Falun Gong, a Chinese spiritual discipline in the Buddhist tradition, has inspired worldwide condemnation.

But far less known is the brutal, and intensifying, repression of China’s Christians. For while the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) regime has always repressed religion in general, Christianity has always been its biggest target. This is partly a result of the Party’s promotion of atheism, as well its nervousness towards any gathering of people that it does not control. But it is also rooted in its fear that Christianity represents a “foreign” threat to its way of life, albeit one that the CCP hasn’t quite worked out how to deal with.

Under Mao Zedong, the Party attempted to eliminate Christianity altogether, though it succeeded only in driving the church underground. Indeed, as Deng Xiaoping started to open up the economy in the 1980s, the regime realised that the Church could not be eradicated so sought to control it instead; re-establishing state-approved church institutions for Catholics and Protestants that had been shut during the Cultural Revolution, while continuing to persecute underground congregations.

There then followed a period of varied relaxation in which, while there was never religious freedom, the situation for some Christians did improve, depending on the attitudes of provincial authorities. Some local leaders turned a blind-eye to gatherings of unregistered churches, as long as they did not directly challenge the CCP. In other places, even large unregistered “mega churches” were permitted; Beijing’s Zion Church operated for years with hundreds of worshippers, while the Golden Lampstand Church in Shanxi province attracted a staggering 50,000 members.

But now China is in a fourth era — one of severe repression, propaganda and central control. Since he became President in 2013, Xi Jinping has taken an active interest in policy on religion, and initiated several national-level conferences dedicated to its “Sinicisation”. They culminated in the introduction of new regulations in 2018; today, even churches within the state-controlled institutions face new restrictions. Officially, the regime estimates that there are 50 million Christians in China today, though the real figure is believed to be at least double that number.

Every church is now forced to demonstrate its loyalty to the CCP by displaying portraits of Xi Jinping and party propaganda banners alongside, or even instead of, religious images. Surveillance cameras are installed at the altar, recording all who attend, while under-18s are prohibited from going into places of worship at all. Meanwhile, Christians on low incomes have been pressured by officials to give up their faith, with threats that their state support could be withheld.

Most dramatically, thousands of crosses have been torn down and some churches have not only been closed, but demolished. In 2018 alone, the Golden Lampstand Church was dynamited, Zion Church was forced to close and the Home of Christ Church in Shantou, Guangdong province, was shut after the authorities called it an “illegal religious organisation”.

Christmas and the Bible are now in the regime’s sights, too. In 2019, the CCP announced its intention to produce a new translation of the Bible, which would bring it into line with the party’s “thought” by reinterpreting key passages. Last Christmas, they banned all festive activities, with the exception of attending government-sanctioned churches and family gatherings at home. Even so, groups of so-called “Pro-Mao” citizens reportedly marched through the streets in subsequent days, proclaiming anti-Christian messages. Some universities prohibited students from celebrating the holiday and banned them from attending off-campus events.

But in many ways, the CCP regards Christianity as an external threat — as a “foreign” force intent on undermining the country’s way of life. We can see this in the publication last November of a new draft document on regulations for foreigners’ involvement in religious activities. In effect, the new measures prohibit Chinese religious adherents from participating in activities organised by foreigners in China, and criminalise proselytisation — or even religious education and training — completely.

This wariness towards Christianity’s “foreign” elements partly explains why in Hong Kong, where the rule of law is being dismantled by the CCP, religious freedom is particularly under pressure. Consider the case of pastor Roy Chan, whose Good Neighbour North District Church was raided by police last year, an act of retaliation for Chan’s decision to support young pro-democracy protestors. “Beat me, not the kids,” Chan said at the time. And he was beaten — not just by the police but by HSBC which, under pressure from the authorities, have frozen the assets of the church, pastor Chan, and his family.

But while some religious leaders in in the city continue to speak out against this crackdown, others, including Hong Kong’s current Apostolic Administrator, Cardinal John Tong, are not showing similar courage. When the President of the Federation of Asian Bishops Conferences Cardinal Charles Bo tried to mobilise a prayer campaign for Hong Kong last year, the diocese actively discouraged it. A few weeks later, Cardinal Tong issued an instruction to clergy to “watch your language” in homilies, and the diocese has since published religious textbooks with guidance on how Hong Kong students can “contribute to their nation” — a clear pro-Beijing slant. Whether it wants to or not, the diocese is undoubtedly feeling — or at least anticipating — the CCP’s pressure.

Yet none of this dissuaded the Vatican from renewing its two-year-old agreement with the regime in China over the appointment of bishops in September 2020. First negotiated in 2018, the text of the agreement remains secret but it essentially allows the Chinese Communist Party to nominate bishops, for final approval by the Pope. In the Vatican’s mind, the aim was to better protect Catholics in China and bring the state-approved and underground churches together, but it has had the opposite effect.

Even when it was first mooted, a precondition for the deal should have been the release of all imprisoned Catholic clergy, at a minimum. Instead, not only was that not secured, but several brave underground Catholic bishops who had stayed loyal to Rome for decades, who had been in and out of prison or risked arrest many times, were forced by Rome to stand aside in favour of Beijing’s preferred bishops.

Only two months after the deal was announced, bishop Peter Shao Zhumin of Wenzhou, was arrested for the fifth time in two years. He was released, but continues to face harassment. Meanwhile, in January last year, Bishop Vincent Guo Xijin of Mindong, Fujian Province, who had already been demoted to the position of auxiliary bishop to make way for a Beijing-appointed prelate, was forced by the authorities to leave his residence, which was then shut down. The 61-year-old cleric ended up sleeping in the doorway of his church office and only after an international outcry was he permitted to return to his apartment, albeit with the utilities cut off. Then in June 2020, 70-year-old Augustine Cui Tai, coadjutor bishop of the underground church in Xuanhua, was arrested again — having already endured 13 years in detention. Since then, there have been countless others like him.

And so as the world rightly focuses more on China, on accusations of genocide against the Uighurs and breaches of an international treaty in Hong Kong, we must not forget the images of dynamited churches, destroyed crosses, Communist propaganda in holy sanctuaries and jailed priests.

Wang Yi, the pastor of Early Rain Church in Chengdu, warned over two years ago that the regime had launched “a war against the soul”. A year later he was sentenced to nine years in prison for “inciting to subvert state power”. But as Pastor Wang made clear in his one of his offending sermons: the CCP has “established for themselves an enemy that can never be detained, can never be destroyed, will never capitulate nor be conquered: the soul of man.”


Benedict Rogers is a human rights activist and writer. As East Asia Team Leader at Christian Solidarity Worldwide, he specialises in Burma, Indonesia, China and North Korea.

benedictrogers

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Arnold Fishman
Arnold Fishman
3 years ago

the world has attempted to destroy the message and teachings of Jesus Christ for nearly 2000 years. It hasnt happened worked. Communism is just one more in a long line of antiChrist beast systems. In fact the more anti-Christian governments like China oppress Christians, the more Christianity will grow.

Allan Edward Tierney
Allan Edward Tierney
3 years ago
Reply to  Arnold Fishman

Communism has worked eminently well for the Chinese people for decade upon decade now whereby tens of millions of Chinese have been lifted from abject poverty decade after decade.

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
3 years ago

communism worked out so well that millions were murdered, followed by millions more forced abortions, followed now by how religious minorities are treated, etc etc. Could you possibly be more of an apologist? The people lifted from poverty are the result of China’s govt allowing some capitalism to be injected into the country.

stephen f.
stephen f.
3 years ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

He is not an apologist-he is a “useful idiot”-he wears their collar.

George Lake
George Lake
3 years ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

Sadly you are wasting your time.
Comrade Tierney is predictably, in complete denial.
Despite frequent requests he has yet to explain either
“The Great Leap Forward” or the so called “ Cultural Revolution”.

I suspect she/he is a Communist stooge, real name Fu Manchu or suchlike.

Last edited 3 years ago by George Lake
George Lake
George Lake
3 years ago

You mean a diet of rice and noodles has finally, after millennia, been replaced by one of boiled Pangolin twice a week, fried bat four times a week, and roast dog once a week? Charming.

Last edited 3 years ago by George Lake
Ralph Windsor
Ralph Windsor
3 years ago

This message has been approved by the Embassy of the PRC.

Andy Clark
Andy Clark
3 years ago

It seems to me a pity that while replies to your posts, Mr Tierney, can find a list of faults with the recent governmental structure and policies of China, there is not any balance comparing to earlier history, and the European and Japanese incursions into China which preceded (perhaps precipitated) the CCP.
As you mention elsewhere, Western countries and policies have wrecked various levels of havoc almost everywhere.
It also seems to me that it is the population size of China which creates the large 30 million death toll of the Great Leap Forward and cultural revolution. Compare that on a population percentage scale and western havoc looks equally dumb (and the GLF does seem to have been a very dumb policy).
The (sometimes immense) successes of recent decades shouldn’t wash away the dumb policies and havoc, equally the dumb policies and havoc shouldn’t wash away the successes.
With the near universal condemnation of your comments, on an article about Christianity, i am reminded of the Biblical quote : “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”
Freedom and prosperity for all !!!

Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
3 years ago
Reply to  Andy Clark

The West is flawed, but free. China is today a one-party – indeed now one-man tyranny. You may have noticed many books in bookshops on the Opium Wars and other western incursions into China in the 19th century. I don’t think there are any published in China about its own brutal conquests (by the Qing dynasty) of Xinxiang, or then and in the 1950s, of Tibet. (That of course is also colonialism, but only the Western expansion is today, fashionably, deemed to be an evil. And unlike the Western variety, not subsequently reversed!)

Millions were also killed in the Taiping rebellion, an internal Chinese civil war, orders or magnitude more than Chinese killed by Western powers.

These ‘humiliations’ by the West, which occurred over 100 years ago, are simply a convenient narrative to maintain control by the Chinese Communist Party. By the way, Marxism-Leninism is a Western import and had nothing at all to do with traditional Chinese political or philosophical thought.

Michael Saxon
Michael Saxon
3 years ago

Funny how some western liberals will support gross inhumanity and tyranny all because it fits with their utopian fantasies. There were plenty of them around during the Nazi and Stalinist periods too. People like Mr Tierney make my skin crawl and the bile rise in my throat, but I still defend his right to make a fool of himself.

Last edited 3 years ago by Michael Saxon
Mark Lilly
Mark Lilly
3 years ago
Reply to  Arnold Fishman

Any attempt to suppress the vile supernaturalist gibberish of religion is to be applauded, even if undertaken by a contemptible regime opposed to individual freedoms. Surely none can object to the prohibition on proselitizing children? That practice, pace Hitchens, is the worst kind of child abuse.

Last edited 3 years ago by Mark Lilly
Giulia Khawaja
Giulia Khawaja
3 years ago
Reply to  Mark Lilly

But you apparently approve of the proselytising of the Communist religion. Because the under 18’s are almost certainly suffering that child abuse from their school and their society in general.

Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
3 years ago
Reply to  Mark Lilly

By any means? I’m an atheist, but the attempts to suppress religion by political authorities have always led to appalling cruelty and mass violation of human rights. No sign either that they’d relent once they’d destroyed all religious communities. Such regimes are fundamentally insecure and paranoid and will persecute for ever. It isn’t a philosophical debate for them but about crude power.

In fact the entire concept of the ultimate value of individual lives and hence human rights derives ultimately from Christianity – as recently well argued by Tom Holland in his recent book ‘Dominion’. We often just don’t see what a historically radical concept this is.
Without it, it is difficult to argue other than ‘The weak suffer what they must’. This is what sets the evolution of Western thought, with all its complexities and contradictions, apart. Admittedly, the ‘world community’ now often just pays lip service to human rights, but that they do so so it is a starting point for progress. Even the Nazis didn’t boast of their extermination of the Jews, disabled people and others (why not, it is what they believed in?) but largely tried to cover it up.

Certainly neither Ancient Rome or Greece or indeed China throughout its history had any such notion.

stephen f.
stephen f.
3 years ago

It is not the fault of Christians (or Muslims, or Falun Gong, or Bahai, or any belief) that this ruthless, totalitarian state sees danger in any thoughts or beliefs that do not grant absolute fealty to the state.

stephen f.
stephen f.
3 years ago
Reply to  stephen f.

Oh I have been to China, Mr. Stooge…

David Hartlin
David Hartlin
3 years ago
Reply to  stephen f.

Does your line of nonsense ever get a positive response in sane company?

Ralph Windsor
Ralph Windsor
3 years ago
Reply to  stephen f.

….said a spokesman for the Chinese Embassy.

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
3 years ago

It’s not Christianity, per se, it is freedom itself that is under assault. Then again, China is run by the communist party, so why is this surprising at all? The Soviet Union was an atheist state; ditto Mao’s China and the same applies to a host of other totalitarian regimes.

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
3 years ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

millions of poor have been lifted out of poverty because China embraced some capitalist principles that already existed in every first-world nation on the planet. Let’s not act as if China magically discovered something new.

David George
David George
3 years ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

Something to celebrate I guess, things have definitely improved from when the people were imprisoned, impoverished, starved and murdered by their hundreds of millions.
A more valid comparison is the post WW2 success of South Korea, Taiwan and Japan. Much higher standards of living, freedom and justice without the mountains of corpses.

George Lake
George Lake
3 years ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

By eating dogs, pangolin and bats?

toyinajidele
toyinajidele
3 years ago

Interesting views about Christianity in the comments thread.
I think the material point of the article is that as China walks into the limelight as a world leading economy it knows with this comes new ideas it must face.
China sees Christianity – a dominant religion in America and the wider west as a threat because it is this religion that ushered in the enlightenment, the American constitution. The Gospels translated is “good news” that came to the world to set the hearts of mankind free. Christianity places freedom, individuality and the pursuit of new ways of thinking and ideas at the centre of everyone’s journey to truth. Christianity led to reason and the idea that all men are created equal in the image of God and are therefore free and calls out false narratives.
And yes Christianity like many religions has and continues to suffer from bad actors that want to control it. The core of the gospel message however remains the same.
This so called Monotheistic religion often thrown away these days by the West despite benefiting from its proliferation continues to inspire freedom.
As China emerges onto the wider world stage, it emerges with Human Rights abuses ignored because of lost ethics.
How does one defeat a bad idea? The introduction of a new one.

VĂłreios ParatiritĂ­s
VĂłreios ParatiritĂ­s
3 years ago
Reply to  toyinajidele

American is not a christian nation. There are no western christian nations. Like China, there are just nations with Christians in them.

stephen f.
stephen f.
3 years ago
Reply to  toyinajidele

You are not willfully ignorant…you lie with an agenda-an agenda that omits 10s of millions of deaths.

George Lake
George Lake
3 years ago
Reply to  toyinajidele

No. The “greatest human rights abuse” of the last century was, as you well know, The “Great Leap Forward”, the dream of that homicidal idiot Mao.
Even the wretched Joe Stalin could not equal it.

Last edited 3 years ago by George Lake
Ralph Windsor
Ralph Windsor
3 years ago
Reply to  toyinajidele

Talking of planks, A E Tierney might be in contention for Talk Radio’s ‘Plank of the Week’ award….if he were not unknown outside his posts here.

Last edited 3 years ago by Ralph Windsor
Michael Whittock
Michael Whittock
3 years ago

The Chinese government is more scared of the Christian Church than it is of the US because they see that long-term it is a threat to their power. Christianity is the fastest growing religion in China. It has weathered persecution for decades and it is particularly vicious at the moment. There can’t be any competent historians amongst the Communist elite otherwise they would have learnt that if you want to attempt to destroy Christianity the last thing you do is persecute Christians. It is estimated that there are 50 million Christians in China and the trajectory to growth remains astonishing. Some estimate that by 2030 there will be 200 million Chinese Christians, hardened and strengthened by persecution.

j hoffman
j hoffman
3 years ago

Look, China is, these days, a Fascist Dictatorship–you know, State Sponsored Industry, Do as We Say or We Will Kill your Children.
That is how Hitler Rearmed with such Amazing Speed–in SIX years 1933 – 1939. Then he Blitzed Europe. Except Russia–no one has ever Blitzed them, and the Plucky Little UK, under Churchill.
That’s HISTORY!

Daisy D
Daisy D
3 years ago
Reply to  j hoffman

China’s central religion is Communistic atheism.

Hitler’s Democratic Socialism, while having some features that differ from Communism’s Democratic Socialism, is essentially the same empty hearted atheistic totalitarianism.

Both totalitarian regimes have embraced a particularly heartless, ruthless, form of atheism. And have done so because there is no way on earth, or in Heaven, that totalitarianism can successfully compete w God and come out ahead.

Christianity, with its center most tenet loving forgiveness, with its continual striving for the ineffable, with its foundational given of free will and inalienable God given rights, is especially threatening to any and all expressions of concretistic totalitarianism.

Last edited 3 years ago by Daisy D
Allan Edward Tierney
Allan Edward Tierney
3 years ago
Reply to  j hoffman

The Chinese people are massively better off now than in the past. There can be no question of this. I have traveled in China many times and I have seen this first hand.

VĂłreios ParatiritĂ­s
VĂłreios ParatiritĂ­s
3 years ago

Sure. But what comes next? Is the CCP right? That prosperity and stability can only come through the party and that its supreme authority must outshine all others? Why must the Party speak for the People and not the People though a party?

Terry M
Terry M
3 years ago

Chinese are better off, but not as a result of communism, but as a result of morphing into a variation on fascism. Whereas the state owned and micromanaged all industry before, now they permit industries to work quasi-independently, keeping close watch and control on any the government finds useful. I have known hundreds of immigrants from China who are afraid to go back even for a brief visit. That speaks loudly.

Andrew D
Andrew D
3 years ago

Pope Francis’ cosying up to the CCP will not be forgotten or forgiven

stephen f.
stephen f.
3 years ago
Reply to  Andrew D

It’s beginning to look as if one will need a computer to keep track of all the utterances of the Pope that will not be forgotten or forgiven.

Raymond Morace
Raymond Morace
3 years ago

The CCP is like a religion – and with the power and will to eliminate all local competitors.
Religion extends bonds, loyalty, and common values across borders and tribal boundaries, with a message of hope and a belief in something great than ourselves, and yes, greater than our worldly leaders. It is a perfect compliment and check on Nationalism. But that’s not acceptable to the Chinese Communist Dictatorship, which basically functions with the Party as the State sanctioned religion.

Jonathan Ellman
Jonathan Ellman
3 years ago
Reply to  Raymond Morace

Yes, China is a theocracy. Other religions are rivals. Understand this and you start to understand the CCP.

Terry M
Terry M
3 years ago
Reply to  Raymond Morace

Precisely. Religions teach morals. The ChiComs hate this because many, many of their policies can then be judged as immoral. Thus they lose public support. A higher power is one they cannot acknowledge. Religions also teach the inherent value of the individual, again a problem for collectivist regimes (also for Progressives) who gladly sacrifice individuals for the benefit of the all-holy State.

Joseph Berger
Joseph Berger
3 years ago

I am surprised that this article which mentioned a number of truly horrible actions, avoided a real discussion of the main reason why the current Chinese regime – as did the 70 year Soviet communist Regime – seeks to destroy religion and religious activity.
The fundamental underlying principle of the 3 major religions is a belief in God, the Creator of the Universe, who has given us humans a code of moral behaviour and guidelines that each of the religions may differ on in detail but agree on in principle.
And the consequence of such belief is that there exists in the universe a superior moral power that ultimately judges good or bad, decency and kindness – or evil.
A fundamental principle of communism is that the ‘party’ is the supreme authority, as it supposedly represents the collective – the people.
No competition for that supremacy can be allowed, and therefore to maintain that supremacy, a totally controlled society is necessary, a totalitarian state.
Individual freedom, even worse belonging to a freedom group such as an organized religion, is a threat to that fantasized ideal supremacy – and therefore must be eliminated.
The Russians and those within the Soviet empire tried to do it for 70 years and failed miserably, the Chinese are trying to do it today.
Like the Soviet Union with its ridiculous five year plans, and Kruschev with his ‘we will bury you’ the attempt is made to ‘bribe’ the people, promising them a more prosperous future, more goodies, but eventually they realize they have been fooled.
But on the way, many may have suffered horribly.

Andre Lower
Andre Lower
3 years ago

If you guys allow me to skirt the religion angle for a moment: Whether we like it or not, China is undeniably succeeding with its current model. If indeed we Westerners have any hope of winning the inevitable competition for world domination, we will need to prove our assumed superiority by… winning.
So unless the West picks up its act, our current opinions won’t matter for long.

Dougie Undersub
Dougie Undersub
3 years ago

Perhaps, for just a moment or two, the ABofC could stop chastising the British Government because welfare payments are a bit too low and give some thought to helping oppressed Christians in China and elsewhere?

Chris Wheatley
Chris Wheatley
3 years ago

In this country we have almost no religion worth speaking of. When religious groups move in and they follow their own customs, it can be worrying because it is like a country within a country. This is why any secular country can be afraid of religion.

Mark H
Mark H
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley

Monothestic religion is an especial threat to any authoritarian government, because it claims that people’s first loyalty should be to an “other” that is not of this world. That “other” cannot be locked up or assassinated, hence the attempts to suppress the turbulent priests (e.g. Bishop Tutu) or couple the religious order to the government program (S.A. Dutch Reformed Church).
I’ve used the apartheid examples here to illustrate that it’s a feature of authoritarian governments regardless of their position on the political spectrum.

Chris Wheatley
Chris Wheatley
3 years ago
Reply to  Mark H

It is also a perceived threat to the people in the country, not just the government.

Allan Edward Tierney
Allan Edward Tierney
3 years ago
Reply to  Mark H

However you designate the authorities who govern China it cannot be denied that their policies have raised hundreds of millions from abject poverty over the last few decades.

David Hartlin
David Hartlin
3 years ago

Cull any herd and the remainder have a larger share of resources.

George Lake
George Lake
3 years ago

There is more to life than eating pangolin, dog and bats! Ask the French.

Giulia Khawaja
Giulia Khawaja
3 years ago

The policies of the CCP were seen to be failing by Deng Shao Ping so he decided to adopt a form of capitalism. That is why and how the Chinese raised the standard of living for their people.

Fred Bloggs
Fred Bloggs
3 years ago

“it cannot be denied” is a falsehood. With socially constructed statistics: it cannot be believed.

Judy Johnson
Judy Johnson
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley

Do you think that is why individual so-called ‘new atheists’ find Christianity threatening?

Terry M
Terry M
3 years ago
Reply to  Judy Johnson

I am an agnostic who does not find religion the slightest bit threatening. I am concerned with people’s actions, not their reasons. If a person ‘does unto others…’ it matters not whether they believe in Christ, Buddha, the Holy Rutabaga, or nothing at all. From reason alone I deduce a very similar ethos as is taught in Christianity, but without believing in supernatural souls or events. If others need a ‘guide’ to be moral creatures, no problem. The only time that religion becomes threatening is when the religion teaches violence against others as we sometimes see in Islam and previously experienced with Christian sectarian battles.

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley

freedom of religion is supposed to be a bedrock of liberal culture, and I don’t mean liberal as another word for leftist. Quite the opposite. This freedom, however, does not supersede prevailing laws; it cannot become an alternative govt. Following customs is one thing; following customs that break laws is quite another.

Gary Greenbaum
Gary Greenbaum
3 years ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

That, I think, is the nub of it, for all the author’s outrage: China does not care how old you are or what funny collar you wear, if you act to undermine the state, you will answer for it with religion no defense.

Chris Wheatley
Chris Wheatley
3 years ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

My comment said ‘perceived’ threat. I think that people on this site are ‘intellectuals’ and try to argue the point for ever. Some people view religious groups as a ‘perceived’ threat is the point.

Nelson Cifuentes
Nelson Cifuentes
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley

I have to say that sitting at my window a mile away from central Birmingham, the one thing I’ve never felt is “in this country we have almost no religion”. For most neighbourhoods (not all) within a few miles radius of the city centre, for better or for worse, religion dominates everyday life.

Warren Hill
Warren Hill
3 years ago

While most of the article seems to be referring to Roman Catholicism, the last paragraph refers to a Pastor very much of the Reformed and Presbyterian understanding of the faith. Our own senior pastor was teaching, at the in-house seminary on another floor, with Wang Yi in Chengdu the summer before his arrest at the Early Rain Covenant Church. They had a Christian school very similar to our own. When students showed up the next day after the initial arrests, not having gotten the word, some of them were arrested too. Pastor Yi anticipated his arrest and some months before had written a ‘Declaration of Faithful Disobedience’ to be released when the time came. You’d be hard pressed to find something like this better, outside of the New Testament itself. You can read that Declaration here:
https://www.chinapartnership.org/blog/2018/12/my-declaration-of-faithful-disobedience
Pastor Yi follows in the steps of those described by the author of the letter to the Hebrews as those of whom the world was not worthy:
“36 Others suffered mocking and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. 37 They were stoned, they were sawn in two,[a] they were killed with the sword. They went about in skins of sheep and goats, destitute, afflicted, mistreated— 38 of whom the world was not worthy—wandering about in deserts and mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.” ESV

Adam M
Adam M
3 years ago

This is why I don’t worry about the international threat China poses as much as some. Despite the outward projection of force and posturing, the CCP is fighting an impossible internal battle to control every aspect of its citizens lives.
To give them credit, they’ve been more effective in this endeavor than almost any other government. However, China is a huge country, with a huge, diverse population. The increasingly affluent middle and upper classes will no longer put up with being treated like slaves, the way previous generations did and whole thing will inevitably crumble. Though what exactly that will look like and over what time scale I cannot say…

Terry M
Terry M
3 years ago
Reply to  Adam M

And the Chinese are very adept at using technology as a means to micromanage the masses. Their ‘social score’ system is just one of the tools that can be very effective and hard to undermine. 1984 has become reality in China, and is closer than ever in the US.

Just how would a successful revolt in China occur? It’s hard to imagine. I fear for the future of my kids and grandkids.

Peter Shaw
Peter Shaw
3 years ago

Pope Frankie is a disgrace, working with these monsters and betraying faithful clergy

Christopher Barclay
Christopher Barclay
3 years ago

By definition a totalitarian government does not tolerate any ideology other than its own.

LCarey Rowland
LCarey Rowland
3 years ago

Caesar, Pilate and Herod could not conquer that Soul of Man who resurrected three days after execution by the State.
Nor will Xi, nor any of his CCP minions prevail over the resurrective power of our eternal Saviour.
Chinese Christians will ultimately prevail, rendering unto Xi the things that are Xi’s, and to Christ the things that God’s.

LCarey Rowland
LCarey Rowland
3 years ago

Caesar, Pilate and Herod could not conquer that Soul of Man who resurrected three days after execution by the State.
Nor will Xi, nor any of his CCP minions prevail over the resurrective power of our eternal Saviour.
Chinese Christians will ultimately prevail, rendering unto Xi the things that are Xi’s, and to Christ the things that God’s.

Peter Branagan
Peter Branagan
3 years ago

The usual race hate from Rogers. Should be charged with hate speech.

Chris Casey
Chris Casey
3 years ago

Benedict your article is a timely reminder not simply of how the fate of Christians in China is worsening, but also of the wests seeming tolerance of Christian persecution – I’m not hearing a great deal from Amnesty on this issue, nor any of the UN offices. Why is it that persecution of Christians seems fair game to so many liberals?
Having studied alongside Pastors from the ThreeSelf Church at the start of the century they rejoiced in reasonably liberty at the time. But history teaches us that regimes with a tendency to self-deification will always be ready to issue a new ‘truth’ when it suits them and then even those who have sought to cooperate will simply become diminishingly insignificant pawns in a larger game of dominance. God help the faithful of whom ‘the world is not worthy’.

Chris Casey
Chris Casey
3 years ago

Benedict your article is a timely reminder not simply of how the fate of Christians in China is worsening, but also of the wests seeming tolerance of Christian persecution – I’m not hearing a great deal from Amnesty on this issue, nor any of the UN offices. Why is it that persecution of Christians seems fair game to so many liberals?
Having studied alongside Pastors from the ThreeSelf Church at the start of the century they rejoiced in reasonably liberty at the time. But history teaches us that regimes with a tendency to self-deification will always be ready to issue a new ‘truth’ when it suits them and then even those who have sought to cooperate will simply become diminishingly insignificant pawns in a larger game of dominance. God help the faithful of whom ‘the world is not worthy’.

john.griffiths
john.griffiths
3 years ago

my problem with this article as others have pointed out is that it is written from a catholic perspective – which is not the only Christian group in China. The author repeatedly says that China will not permit foreign religions. No it won’t. But it HAS permitted indigenous expressions of Christianity which are not cod versions of communism. And the church in China has adapted to being indigenous. Reminds me of when the Jesuits came China and were forced to choose between being China nationals or leaving the country. They opted for the former. The church in China will continue to grow as an indigenous church. If Catholicism insists on being hierearchical and multinational then it will continue to have problems in China.

Daisy D
Daisy D
3 years ago
Reply to  john.griffiths

You ought to read the article more carefully.

Lee Jones
Lee Jones
3 years ago

Who owns our souls, the CCP or the hierarchy of the Catholic Church? Two of the least Christian organisations ever to exist!

Allan Edward Tierney
Allan Edward Tierney
3 years ago

It is an unfortunate fact that far too many in the western world have not yet understood how the various tactics related to western regime change plans work.

This is surprising for a variety of reasons. One of course is the experience we have had multiple times in the not so distant past of claims by our elites which were pushed hard by western political elites and mass media alike were later found to be at least economical with the truth.

So it is with one of the latest campaigns in our western world, the campaign to paint the Chinese authorities as evil incarnate in regard to the Uighur minority. We are told of rape, forced sterilization, even genocide. Yet we are not given any reason to doubt such claims, no information which may allow a nuanced understanding of any kind regarding the issues involved. We are simply assured of certain stark black and white statements that make the entire situation appear cut and dried, the Chinese authorities are evil and that’s that.

We are not informed that a certain minority of the Uighur minority have taken part in some of the most heinous terrorist activities you have never (or perhaps only partially) heard of. You will most likely be unaware that some of this minority of a minority have become heavily influenced by the same Wahhabi teachings that have motivated terrorist activity in the past, not least on 9/11.

We are not informed that there is a radical ultra-nationalist core within this Uighur minority within a minority who wish for Xinjiang, the region they live in, to secede from China and who have also committed heinous terrorist acts.

We are not informed that when the Soviet Union was in Afghanistan the then Chinese authorities along with the elites of the USA at that time had a common ambition to remove its influence and gave Uighur people military training who were then sent to Afghanistan to fight.

We are not informed that, contrary to the accusation of genocide, the Uighur minority along with all other minorities in China were exempt from the ‘One Child’ policy in order for them to be enabled to grow in size, not shrink.

We are not informed that the Chinese authorities are actively encouraging tourism in the region due to the attractive culture of the Uighur people there with emphasis on their colourful culture and cuisine among all else.

We are not informed that there is a campaign in progress, assisted by access to almost unlimited U.S. (and other nation’s) funds to provide activists with maximum exposure in the same way as similar access was afforded to other regime change campaigns of the past such as those against Iraq and Libya among others.

We are not informed that the figures given for the so-called concentration camps are based on wild estimates provided via satellite photography of new build structures for which no information as to usage is known.

We are not informed that the Chinese as a whole rather admire Uighur people as they have a more western look with wider eyes and a greater variation in skin complexion.

The Chinese authorities had good reason to take a percentage of Uighur people to re-educate them rather than take the risk of mass murder through terrorism to continue. There is also an issue with language in the region as the Uighur people have their own language and are not very proficient in Han Chinese and therefore found it hard to access jobs and partake in the otherwise booming Chinese economy. The camps attempt to solve both these problems.

If you are at all interested in a detailed analysis of the long history of changing allegiances in the XinJiang province and an insightful detailing of recent events I would recommend the following video prepared by Kim Iversen.

https://youtu.be/Ff4YZBi4UTc

Last edited 3 years ago by Allan Edward Tierney
stephen f.
stephen f.
3 years ago

We are not informed that all of those poor suckers trapped for days holding the demonstration cards at the Beijing Olympics were “volunteers…”

David Hartlin
David Hartlin
3 years ago

Did you test this drivel on the pigeons in the park first?

kate fox
kate fox
3 years ago

Assuming what you say is true would you support a similar crackdown of the troublesome Muslim communities in U.K. & France who are responsible for so many deaths through terrorism?

Terry M
Terry M
3 years ago

I am anxiously awaiting your ‘nuanced’ views on ‘rape, forced sterilization, even genocide’ that have been thoroughly documented by eye-witness accounts, escapees, satellite photos, and journalist reports. The ChiComs are indeed conducting a slo-mo genocide well hidden from prying Western eyes.

Giulia Khawaja
Giulia Khawaja
3 years ago

There have been women on various news stations describing the atrocities they have experienced.

Andrew McGee
Andrew McGee
3 years ago

Unfortunately, Chima’s methods of undermining religion will not work. They need to learn lessons in subtlety from the West (there’s a rare thing). Effectivei ncreases in education and material prosperity will in fairly short order lead more people to see all religious belief for the pernicious nonsense it is. That is why such belief is declining in the West- a long overdue Enlightenment.

Terry M
Terry M
3 years ago
Reply to  Andrew McGee

Partly true. Religious dogma may be pernicious, but the underlying morality and ethics are completey congruent with modern liberal democracy and human rights. That the dogma is losing its sway is fine as long as the morality isn’t thrown out as well. But I see a lot of that.

Phil Bolton
Phil Bolton
3 years ago

Monotheistic states are just as controlling as the CCP and seek to control hearts and minds (and souls if you believe they exist) of their populations. We just shouldn’t be surprised. As an atheist, the only thing that I’d like introduced globally as per the CCP is the banning of under-18’s in churches. Indoctrination is at the heart of religious and Govt. power. Give people the choice of belief or not when they are old enough to decide. Sadly it won’t be happening any time soon.

Mark Bailey
Mark Bailey
3 years ago
Reply to  Phil Bolton

“….the banning of under-18’s in churches.”

And that isn’t “….seek(ing) to control hearts and minds..”?

What you are saying, is that you don’t disaprove of indoctrination, you just want to be the indoctinator.

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
3 years ago
Reply to  Phil Bolton

sounds like you’d like to do a little indoctrinating, too. How else can the ban idea be perceived?

Mark H
Mark H
3 years ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

If the ban was comprehensive and included political indoctrination of under-18s, that would be quite fair. A bit rough on Greta, though.

Daisy D
Daisy D
3 years ago
Reply to  Phil Bolton

Why not also ban people under the age of 18 from attending school? Oh wait, the amoral teachers’ unions have been doing that for this past year.

David Hartlin
David Hartlin
3 years ago
Reply to  Phil Bolton

Ban under 18 in churches?Laughing my ass off,would you ban religion in the home as well?Sounds woke.By the way as a child I was taken to church but never taken with religion and had enough independence to think for myself no matter the message.

G Matthews
G Matthews
3 years ago

The author seems to be conflating the Vatican with christianity. Probably China would have less of a problem with genuine grass roots christianity if it wasn’t being promoted by an organisation concerned only with the accumulation of wealth and power.

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
3 years ago
Reply to  G Matthews

is China concerned about the competition from another group concerned only with the accumulation of wealth and power?

Simon Adams
Simon Adams
3 years ago
Reply to  G Matthews

Did you get that from a Dan Brown book?

G Matthews
G Matthews
3 years ago
Reply to  Simon Adams

No, I got it after walking around the Vatican museum and realising what it was all about

Terry M
Terry M
3 years ago
Reply to  G Matthews

The Vatican has a long and sometimes sordid history. They should not expunge it, but rather share it as they have in the museum. Certainly the modern Vatican is not a power center except in philosophical terms (which sometimes are just plain stupid – see AGW). After all, how many divisions does the Pope have?