The Chinese government has is continuing its crackdown on Christianity by destroying crosses, burning bibles, shutting churches and ordering followers to sign papers renouncing their faith according to pastors and religious persecution groups, reports the Associated Press.
China Aid’s Bob Fu released a video showing Bibles being burned stated that “the international community should be alarmed and outraged for this blatant violation of freedom of religion and belief,” reports Fox News.
#China CCP starts burning the Bible and crosses in Henan. Last time burning Bibles campaign happened in late 1960s by dictator Chairman Mao’s wife Jiang Qing in Shanghai. She was arrested in 1976 but Christians grew to millions. Will Never be successful河南文革重现，烧圣经十字架 pic.twitter.com/T5esv16NXI
— Bob Fu傅希秋 (@BobFu4China) September 5, 2018
The intensified persecution is part of China’s move to “Sinicize” Christians and force them to pledge loyalty to the atheistic Communist party. Since Xi Jinping came into power in 2012, religious faith groups face “high” to “very high” chances of persecution from the state as well as harsh prison terms and violence.
The AP reports:
A Christian pastor in the Henan city of Nanyang said crosses, bibles and furniture were burned during a raid on his church on Sept. 5.
The pastor, who asked not to be identified by name to avoid repercussions from authorities, said several people entered the church just as it opened its doors at 5 a.m. and began removing items.
He said the church had been in discussions with local authorities who demanded it “reform” itself, but no agreement had been reached or official documents released.
Chinese law requires religious believers to worship only in congregations registered with the authorities, but many millions belong to so-called underground or house churches that defy government restrictions.
A local official reached by phone at the Nanyang city government disputed the account, saying officials respected religious freedom. The man declined to give his name, as is common with Chinese bureaucrats, while a person answering phones at the local religious affairs bureau said they were “not clear” about the matter.
In Beijing, the Zion church was shut on Sunday by around 60 government workers who arrived at 4:30 p.m. accompanied by buses, police cars and fire trucks, the church’s pastor, Ezra Jin Mingri, said Monday. Zion is known as the largest house church in Beijing, with six branches.