China’s Crackdown on Christianity

Photo courtesy of Lecheng neighborhood church

Photo courtesy of Lecheng neighborhood church

The crackdown may foreshadow a national shift in official policy on religion, a bid by President Xi Jinping to shore up political stability.

For the New York PostJillian Kay Melchior writes: Chinese police attacked the Christians gathered outside of Wenzhou Salvation Church last month, beating them with electric batons.

In this photo taken July 15, 2014, Pastor Tao Chongyin, left, speaks with church member Fan Liang'an in front of the Wuxi Christian Church with the words "Church of Jesus" in red, in Longwan, Wenzhou in eastern China's Zhejiang province. Across Zhejiang province, which hugs China’s rocky southeastern coast, authorities have toppled, or threatened to topple, crosses at more than 130 churches. “I won’t let them take down the cross even if it means they would shoot me dead,” said Fan Liang’an, 73, whose grandfather helped build the church in 1924. (AP Photo/Didi Tang)

Pastor Tao Chongyin, left, speaks with church member Fan Liang’an in front of the Wuxi Christian Church with the words “Church of Jesus” in red, in Longwan, Wenzhou in eastern China’s Zhejiang province. (AP Photo/Didi Tang)

“I won’t let them take down the cross even if it means they would shoot me dead.”

— Fan Liang’an, 73, whose grandfather helped build the church in 1924.

At least 14 and as many as 50 worshippers — some elderly — sustained wounds, including a fractured skull, broken bones and internal injuries.

Their crime? Rallying to guard their church cross, government-slated for demolition.

“It’s a risky game: In targeting the church, the Communist leaders also target a crucial source of social stability…”

It was just the latest in the intensifying persecution in Zhejiang Province, one of China’s most Christian regions.china-christians-nyt

[From our August 3rd edition: Report: China on Course to Become World’s Most Christian Nation within 15 years]

Communist China’s effectiveness at resisting reform and discouraging dissent would almost guarantee that Christianity’s future in China is not hopeful as it might appear. With Maoist China’s record of hostility to Christianity, and current success at containing or crushing competing ideologies, is this report drawing premature conclusions? (read more)

Since January, Communist officials there have toppled the crosses of at least 229 churches. The government has also torn down some churches entirely, and issued demolition notices to over 100 more.

“…and may end up politicizing a large and growing part of the population.”

And the crackdown may foreshadow a national shift in official policy on religion, a bid by President Xi Jinping to shore up political stability.

It’s a risky game: In targeting the church, the Communist leaders also target a crucial source of social stability, and may end up politicizing a large and growing part of the population.

For decades under Mao, the Communists banned all religion — enforced with brutality, prison and even death.

Beijing relaxed the ban in post-Mao reforms, allowing some state-sanctioned churches to operate legally, with the state controlling everything from the selection of pastors to the content of sermons to the membership.

Unsanctioned churches also sprung up. The government has tolerated some, while frequently cracking down on others…(read more)

New York Post

Jillian Kay Melchior is a fellow for the Franklin Center and Independent Women’s Forum.



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