As Christians prepare for the International Days of Prayer for the Persecuted Church on November 3 and 10, advocates have increasingly turned their attention to China.
Christian persecution is not new in China, but it is growing. According to Open Doors – which ranked the country 27th on its 2019 World Watch List, a 16-spot jump from 2018 – Chinese authorities are removing young people from church, monitoring worship via CCTV, and prohibiting teachers and medical workers from maintaining any religious affiliation.
David Curry, CEO of Open Doors, told CT that many Americans see China as a global superpower, but don’t recognize the extent of the restrictions by the Communist government . “Right now, in 2019, Christians are walking into churches where there are signs posted at the door that say ‘No Children Allowed,’ and where they are being video taped as they worship,” he said.”
Church closings, arrests, surveillance, a crippling rating system, and church demolitions are part of life for China’s 97 million Christians. In October video emerged showing a wrecking ball demolishing a church during a worship service. ChinaAid reports that authorities later detained the pastors.
Todd Nettleton, host of Voice of the Martyrs’ VOM Radio, says that while unregistered house churches have endured persecution for years, the church in the October video was a registered church, marking a new wave of religious oppression.
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