In April 2019 Kathy and I went to China for vacation. We hoped to meet some brothers in Christ but we couldn’t meet anyone. We had a friend who was able to meet some brothers and he witnessed the persecution the Chinese communist government apply over the church. He told us stories of people meeting secretly in homes or in the woods, outside the towns.
I remember I was at the hotel answering questions and comments from the followers of my you tube channel in Portuguese, named “Caravanas da Noite” (Evening Caravans). All my comments were been sent without any issues. People were asking about the cities, the beauty, saying hello etc. At some point someone asked about christian persecution and, when I replied, my answer was blocked. It came up a message in red stating that the message wasn’t able to be sent. It could be a coincidence, but I end up not able to continue addressing the topic. Later I decided to let it rest…”just in case”. I was using a “private network” the same network and western businesses use in order to do business in China.
Before we went to China I learned some of the techniques used by the communists to shut down undesirable information. They don’t bluntly shutdown websites. They just make it very slow for someone to be addressing “sensitive” topics that the government don’t like. Thus, if you try to engage in political or religious conversation, the connection will be so slow that most of people would just give up.
I also noticed that at the airports and bus stations there is no available western media, literature or any contact with the “outside world”. There is no western books, magazines or even advertisements. There is no remembrance of the world outside China. The country has its own internet network and public places are just full of people with their noses glued at their Chinese cell phone utilizing the Chinese system.
Nearly 140 million Christians suffered high levels of persecution in Asia last year (2018), according to a new report, which described the situation facing the faith in China as the worst since the Cultural Revolution.*
The annual Open Doors World Watch List, released on Wednesday, said Asia is “the new hotbed of persecution for Christians”. The state-sponsored coercive apparatus at the disposal of the Chinese Communist Party perpetuates religious repression under the guise of public safety and interest.
Under longstanding protocol, all religious groups are required to register, with one of five state-sanctioned “patriotic religious associations”, which oversee the selection, training, and monitoring of politically loyal clerics. Only religions formally registered are recognized under the law. There are currently only five state-recognized faiths: Chinese Buddhism, Taoism, Islam, Catholicism, and Protestantism.
However, no religion is truly free; even registered religions are subject to oppressive measures and threats of eradication. Mr. Xi, the chinese president, apparently is very concerned that independent worship might pose a threat to the ruling Communist Party’s dominance over daily life in China. Christianity and other religions are been under a much more firmly communist party’s control. The number o demolished churches, jailed pastors have increased again in 2019. Online sales of the bible? forget it.
Pray for the brothers and sisters living in China. Pray for all people in China so they can meet the Lord and experience a new life. Shalom