Religious Liberty In China ‘Rapidly Deteriorating,’ Persecution of Christians Expected to Increase

Three dimensional map of China in Chinese flag colors.
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The persecution of Christians in China has increased, and is expected to continue to do so, as a result of a dramatic policy change by the communist government, according to the human rights organization China Aid.

In its annual report released March 2, China Aid said Beijing’s shift in how it seeks to manage religion and the adoption of that new policy by government agencies resulted in expanded persecution of individual Christians and greater oppression of unregistered house churches in 2016. Conditions for Christians in the world’s most populous country are expected to deteriorate further this year, the non-profit organization reported.

Chinese President Xi Jinping signaled the shift when he stressed during an April 2016 speech the significance of religions “persistently following the path of Sinicization,” according to the report. China Aid has described “Sinicization” as the effort to “transform Christian theology into a doctrine that aligns with the core values of socialism and so-called Chinese characteristics.” Beijing formerly guided “religion and socialism to mutually adapt,” China Aid reported.

“The key findings of what happened last year and the reports from these first two months of 2017 have shown the situation of religious freedom is rapidly deteriorating,” said Bob Fu, president of China Aid, which promotes religious liberty and the rule of law in the communist giant. “We call upon both the persecuted faithful in China and the international community to be increasingly vigilant and persevere in facing this harsher year.”

Travis Wussow, the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission’s general counsel and vice president for public policy, expressed alarm on behalf of Southern Baptists.

The ERLC “has been concerned about the signs of increasing persecution of the church in China over the last two years,” Wussow said. “China Aid’s new report highlights the systematic approach the Chinese government has taken to take control of the church and its doctrine.

“We join in praying for our persecuted brothers and sisters,” Wussow said in written comments for Baptist Press, “and at the same time, we are hopeful that the Trump administration will pressure the Chinese government to provide its citizens with true religious freedom.”

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SOURCE: Baptist Press
Tom Strode