China Is Cracking Down on Christianity
A Country Where Faith Is Illegal

This article will look at the situation in Asia through the topic of religion.

North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un has been displaying a seemingly peaceful stance starting with his surprise visit to Chinese leader Xi Jinping. U.S. President Donald Trump, however, has had both countries marked.

“[N]o regime has oppressed its own citizens more totally or brutally than the cruel dictatorship in North Korea,” he said in his State of the Union Address.

At the UN General Assembly this past year, he also implicitly referred to communist China saying, “Wherever true socialism or communism has been adopted, it has delivered anguish and devastation and failure. Those who preach the tenets of these discredited ideologies only contribute to the continued suffering of the people who live under these cruel systems.”

Communism’s greatest enemy is religion, so looking at the state of affairs in North Korea and China through a view to religion can bring to light the true nature of the problem.


Part 1


China’s Persecution of Christianity and Xi Jinping’s Ambition

In January, 50,000 Christians in Shanxi province, China, lost their place of worship as the local government dynamited The Golden Lampstand mega church to the ground. The alleged reason was the violation of building laws. This mega church, however, had stood there for 20 years. This was an act of brazen religious oppression.

China’s crackdown on religion had intensified since Xi Jinping became president in 2013. In 2017 alone, over 20,000 Christians were persecuted, the count being fourfold compared to the year before. 3700 of those were arrested.

In February of this year a renowned lawyer and activist for Christianity died of “liver cancer” after returning to China from a visit to the U.S. Department of State. U.S. based Christian NGO, China Aid, claimed that there was a high likelihood that the Communist Party of China had murdered the lawyer.


Number of Christians in China on the Rise

Despite these conditions, the number of Christians in China are on the rise. According to Fenggang Yang, professor of Sociology at Purdue University, Indiana, there are currently 100 million Protestants and 12 million Catholics in China. In 2047 this number will rise to a total of 250 million Christians, becoming the largest Christian country in the world.

Why then is this happening?

“The Communist Party claim they are trying to eradicate corruption,” Liu Yanzi, a writer specializing on the life and teachings of Chinese activist Liu Xiaobo, told the Liberty Magazine. “But because it is a one-party dictatorship with no self-cleansing power, corruption remains rampant, mammonism pervades, and wealth disparity widens. On the other hand, Christianity teaches that all people are equal. So, it’s becoming a light of hope for the people lower down on the social ladder that come to the cities all the way from rural villages looking for work.”

“Also, since the 1960s, after the Cultural Revolution, China has become a place full of informers,” she continued. “It’s hard to make trustworthy friends. But if they are Christian, they can make trustworthy friends. In the Tiananmen Square Massacre, the values of freedom and democracy were oppressed by brute force, and this became another turning point where the intellectuals turned toward Christianity”.

Currently, the number of Christians in China has exceeded the number of Communist party members sitting at 89 million. The Party wants to “minimize the social impact of Christianity, and slow down its rapid rise,” said Guo Baosheng, a Chinese pastor who defected to the U.S.

The Communist Party wants the people to adhere to party ideology. The Christian faith, however, encourages independent thinking based on the words of God. It may also lead to some people awakening to the Western idea of human rights and the rule of law, which will clearly undermine the power of the Party. The rising Christian population is a huge threat to the Communist Party.


Sinicization of Religion

But the Communist Party is not using simple means to oppress and reduce Christianity. Liu Yanzi explains thus: “During the Cultural Revolution the city of Wenzhou was an experimental site for the ‘atheistic zone’ and became the target of a huge crackdown on religion. These persecuted people continued to pass on the flame of religious fervour, and has now grown to become nicknamed China’s Jerusalem”.

The Communist Party responded with a strategy to Sinicize religion. When Xi announced this plan in 2015 everyone thought it meant the localization of religion. But after some time, the government began to take down church crosses under this campaign, and some churches were encouraged to assimilate socialistic/communistic ideas into their doctrine.

How then do they assimilate atheistic ideologies with religion that has spiritual truth at its foundation?

“After the Lutheran Reformation, the Protestants taught the salvation of those who believed in God,” says Bob Fu from China Aid. “But the Communist Party is forbidding the ministers from teaching this central part of the doctrine. The believers are taught that hero worship for the Communist Party will guarantee their way to Heaven”.

“It is obvious the seminary has degenerated into absolute obedience to the Communist Party’s so-called Christian pastors’ education base, becoming a Communist Party school dressed in the cloak of Christianity,” lamented Rev. Guo. “In this way, they submit to Caesar and [operate] contrary to God. They distort the true way [to God], and [these actions] will certainly accelerate the demise of the Three-Self Church and its seminary”.

Liu Yanzi addresses the same problem saying, “While the authorities may destroy the churches, this is just an external problem. The church is inside the minds of the believers. But the Sinicization of the Holy Bible will affect this mind of faith”.

The Sinicization of the church means to remove God from the church and turn it into the study of morals. When the Communist Party issued a white paper against religion in April at a press conference, they declared the prohibition of any form of religion in the country.

In other words, the Communist Party wants her people to put the Party above God. It they continue their crack down, however, the church will eventually turn into an educational institution for Party ideology. The party is using sovereign power as a tool. This will complete Xi Jinping’s dictatorship and it will mean the complete destruction of religion in China.


The Pope Bows Down To China

The problem with Catholicism adds another layer to this serious problem with Christianity in China. The Pope, the highest authority in the Vatican and leader of the Catholic Church, appears to be pro-China.

There is currently no diplomacy between the Vatican and China. Which is why in China there are two Catholic institutions: the non-government recognized Underground Church where the Vatican ordains the bishops; and the supposedly Catholic government recognized Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association.

Concerned about this division, Pope Francis is trying to allow the Chinese government the power to ordain Catholic clergymen. Current negotiations promise the Pope veto power.

Cardinal Joseph Zen Ze-kiun, one of the supporters of the 2014 Hong Kong protests, vigorously objects to this. “The Vatican is trying to sell the Catholic Church to China,” he said. Most Chinese Catholics go to the Underground Church to make an oath of fidelity to the Vatican and protect true faith. As discussed above, the government-recognized church is just another Communist institution.

“The 30 clergymen of the Underground Church are being pressed to decide whether to resign or accept the merge,” Cardinal Zen Ze-kiun told the Liberty Magazine. “To accept it would be to willingly become a caged bird”.

The Vatican has already dismissed 7 clergymen ordained by the Beijing government, but these were people who were excommunicated in the past. Some of them were on the Communist Party advisory panel.

Cardinal Zen Ze-kiun also spoke about the possibility of the persecution of the Underground Church. “The majority of Catholics belong to the Underground Church. If the Communist Party starts to ordain their clergy, they’ll have no choice but to bow down to the Party. The crackdown on Catholics is getting stricter. I heard that one Shanghai priest told his congregation to ‘never come again’ to avoid the danger of getting arrested”.

There are said to be 8-10 million people in the Underground Church. The problem of who will become their shepherd is not simply a question of ordaining rights.


Religious Oppression and Dictatorial Ambition

“Jesus Christ cannot save you. But Chairman Xi Jinping Will”

So says the Beijing government to the Chinese Christians, while sticking pictures of Jesus and religious frescoes on posters of Xi Jinping. When Xi Jinping eradicates his greatest enemy religion through Sinicization, he will complete his dictatorship and become “the new God” so to speak. If he resorts to violence, it would put him alongside Stalin and Hitler, and truly reveal that he is working towards a totalitarian rulership. This is none other than Xi Jinping’s true aim.


9 January 2018, The Golden Lampstand Church in Shanxi province, China, is destroyed.


A priest from a House Church in Luoning County, Henan, is arrested by plainclothes police during a sermon. Since 1 February, Henan provincial police have been investigating each building to order the dissolution of the House Church.


Party officials are stripping off religious murals all over the country.
China Is Cracking Down on Christianity
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