‘We are scared, but we have Jesus’: China and its war on Christianity

Sep 30, 2018 by

by Benjamin Haas, Guardian:

Crackdown on unofficial churches comes as Vatican and Beijing sign controversial deal on appointment of bishops.

Pastor Jin Mingri has felt firsthand the pain of one of Chinese president Xi Jinping’s harshest crackdowns on religion in years.

Jin’s Zion Church in Beijing, one of the biggest unofficial congregations in the country, was abruptly demolished by authorities this month, who then sent him a bill for 1.2m yuan (£133,000) for the related costs. Jin had preached there every Sunday for decades.

“Before, as long as you didn’t meddle in politics the government left you alone,” he said. “But now if you don’t push the Communist party line, if you don’t display your love for the party, you are a target.

“Of course we’re scared, we’re in China, but we have Jesus.”

Zion belonged to a vast network of unofficial “house” churches that function outside of the government mandated system, and for decades were tolerated by authorities.

They have long been vulnerable, but have become more vulnerable as China’s leaders call for the “Sinicisation” of religious practice. New regulations that came in in February require tighter control of places of worship, with some forced to install CCTV cameras that fed live footage to local authorities. In the months that followed, officials across China have removed crosses from church buildings and demolished others perceived as too large in the hope of reducing the public visibility of religion.

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See also: State’s assault on China’s young Christians, by Campbell Campbell-Jack, The Conservative Woman

 

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