By Emily Watt | 23 January 2020
China | Government Tightens Control
As China continues to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic, the lavish celebrations mask the increasing difficulties that religious minorities face in the country.
In China, the government sees religious groups as a political threat, and has been further tightening its control over minority groups such as Christians. In incidents across the country, authorities have confiscated Bibles, raided churches and arrested and fined church leaders.
“Control of the church has long been high on the political agenda,” said Julie, a local partner of Open Doors. “Since 2017, the government has been closing some large churches, and monitoring and putting pressure on pastors to limit church growth.”
As the Chinese government continues to pass new measures that further regulate the establishment and operation of churches, they are also using technology to increase surveillance of citizens. This makes it easier for them to monitor, and seek to control, the Chinese church.
One member of the US Commission on International Religious Freedom called China’s increased use of cameras and facial recognition technology a “misuse of technology to create a dystopian surveillance state, one that particularly targets religious communities.”
But in the face of increasing pressure, God is growing His Church.
Many of the obstacles that Chinese Christians are facing because of new government regulations and initiatives are working to grow the church.
As large churches face increasing pressure, the number of smaller churches is rising, and with it, more people are taking on leadership roles.
“It’s like God is recalibrating the foundations of the church to prepare for growth,” Julie said. “This new season of control and fearmongering… is an opportunity from which the church can springboard to a new season of revival.”
Pray For China:
- Pray that the church in China will experience revival and that Christians will grow both in maturity and in number.
- Praise God that in times of persecution, the church is adapting and showing resilience.
- Pray that those taking on new leadership roles will be faithful servants.
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