By Theodore Bunker
China has tightened its grip on Christians, where two-thirds of an estimated 100 million practice their faith in secret, according to an op-ed published by The Wall Street Journal.
Hudson Institute fellow Nina Shea and pastor Bob Fu, founder of the Christian human rights nonprofit ChinaAid, wrote the article, which notes that Chinese “President Xi Jinping last year began enforcing religious regulations to rein in church growth and bend Christian belief to party dictates,” by handing control of churches to the Communist Party, which is officially atheistic.
“Some urban underground megachurches were shut down. Thousands of congregants were arrested and several prominent Protestant pastors received lengthy prison sentences. Earlier this month, the regime launched a nationwide campaign to eradicate unregistered churches.”
The authors note that Xi’s policy, which he calls “sinicization,” is intended to turn religions into “instruments of the Party,” according to the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions. ChinaAid confirmed this plan when the Chinese government accidentally released internal documents that showed its intent to “contain the overheated growth of Christianity.”
Thousands of Protestant churches were forced to close in Henan province last year despite most having been registered with the state. In that year, over one million Christians faced threats or prosecution, while 5,000 were arrested, including a pastor who is serving seven years to “organizing illegal border crossings” to bring aid to the nearby country of Myanmar.