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One Nation Under Xi? This is why Christian Persecution in China is Escalating

One Nation Under Xi? This is why Christian Persecution in China is Escalating Read Transcript

- The United States Commission on

International Religious Freedom

says Christians in China

are facing an alarmingescalation of persecution.

This week Public SecurityBureau Police invaded

and shut Zion Church in Beijing.

Moments before thatraid, this sign appeared

just outside the church sanctuary.

Now it looks like this.

PSB agents removed the sign.

No church here.

Members of Zion Church were not deterred.

Although authoritiesclosed their building,

they continued to pray andworship outside in the street.

Also this summer otherChristians throughout China

have seen their churchesclosed or demolished.

Government officials havearrested church leaders.

They've confiscated and burned Bibles.

And they're still removing crosses

from atop church buildings.

What in the world is goingon in China and why now?

Well here to provide some insights

is Voice Of The Martyrs radio host

and spokesman Todd Middleton.

So Todd is this somethingnew or more of the same?

- Well we are seeing more persecution

or a higher level of persecution.

There's a couple of developments

that have happened this year

that I think contribute to that.

One of those is inFebruary new regulations

on religious affairs tookeffect all across China.

And so we're seeing those regulations

now being put into effect and enforced.

We're seeing how that's being translated

from the national government,down to the provincial level

and then to the local level

and how that's effecting churches.

Another thing thateffects this is the fact

that in March, ChinesePresident Xi Jenping

was essentially given a lifetime contract.

He was renewed his presidency and was told

that term limits areno longer apply to you.

So he can essentially serve as President

for as long as he wantsand one of his emphasis,

even going back to his daysas a provincial leader,

was on controlling religious expression

and controlling thechurch and so we're seeing

that what he put into effectas a providential leader

now that he's the presidentof the entire country,

that same emphasis is spreading

from the national government level

down to every part of China.

- Why is it happening now?

- Well our Christianbothers and sisters in China

are telling us that thisis the worst persecution

they've seen, even going backto the cultural revolution

and what's happeningis that the government

at the national levelis trying to exert more

and more control overreligious expression.

What we've seen in thelast number of months

is the government will come into a church

and say, hey why don't you take down

that picture of Jesus your sanctuary

and put up thesepatriotic posters instead.

Why don't you not sing hymnsto start out your service?

Why don't you sing some patriotic songs

about the wonderfulnessof the communist party?

One pastor in Beijing not long ago,

was told by the government,they said pastor

we don't mind if you continueholding your services,

we just want to put thiscamera on your platform

looking out at the audience

and it's attached tofacial recognition software

so that we can tell whocomes to church on Sunday

and who's there and what they're doing

and how involved they are.

The pastor obviously said,

no we're not gonna allow you to do that

and just last weekendthat church was shutdown.

Officials came to the service,they said no, you are closed,

You cannot meet anymore.

Basically the nationalgovernment is making

more and more effortto control every facet

of religious expression in China

and this is not only effecting Christians.

There are tens of thousands of Muslims

in Western China that have been detained

and they're also seeking to control

religions expression by Muslims as well.

- What impact is thislikely to have on the church

and Christianity in China?

- The larger gatheringsmay stop for a while.

Maybe put on hold and we will see

more and more smaller gatherings.

One of the challenges forthe church in that situation

is, okay, if we're notmeeting in one group of 400,

but we're meeting in lotsof groups of 12 to 20,

we need a lot of group leaders.

We need leadership that is trained

and ready to lead those groups

and so leadership development

becomes a high priority in that situation.

- What can our viewers do about it?

- You now the first thing that we can do

is pray for the church in China,

pray for our brothers and sisters there

as they go through this time of trial,

and not long ago, on our VoiceTo the Martyrs radio podcast

we had a guest, one of ourworkers, who's very involved

with the church in China, and I asked him

how we could pray, andhe gave what I think

is a very insightful prayer request.

He said, "Pray especiallyfor the young people

who are part of the church in China,"

because they've never faced this before.

They've never been through this.

Their parents and their grandparents

have gone through persecution,they've see how God sustains

and God empowers and protectsduring times of trial

and times of suffering,

but these young people within the church,

they haven't' been throughit, they haven't see that

and so naturally like many of us,

they're intimidated,they're a little frightened,

by how are we gonna deal withthis level of persecution

that we're facing and sosecondly we can have a voice,

and we can have a voice toour own government officials.

A lot of the conversationbetween the US Government

and the Chinese Governmentright now is about trade,

but we need to make sure thatour government officials here

know that we vote and that wecare about religious freedom,

that they should use their influence

and we expect them to use their influence.

Okay, Todd Middleton ofthe Voice of the Martyrs,

thank you for joining us.

Thank you Gary.


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