The Chinese government has increased its persecution of Christians as church meetings are banned in some parts of the country, and Christians and Catholics are pressured to renounce their faith.
According to reports from local Chinese Christians, Wenzhou and Shaoxing in the Zhejiang province of Eastern China government departments plan to ban all religious meeting places, and are finding excuses to shut churches down.
“The government conducted the so-called fire safety inspections in the religious venues in order to find excuses to shut down the churches,” a Hangzhou Christian named Li said. “The police often show up and say that they want to conduct a fire safety inspection. They wander around in the church and arbitrarily point out that some facilities do not meet the standards. Then, they require you to reform in two weeks. Even if you do exactly as they said, they would still deem you ‘unqualified’ in the next inspection. You are helpless.”
“The government will ban you no matter what. We no longer organize large-scale gatherings. Only a few people meet up in their own houses, changing location once in a while,” Mr. Zhu said.
Christians and Catholics are also targeted at school and work.
An anonymous Christian said, “Many schools in Wenzhou are investigating the religious backgrounds of students. Firstly, they find out if the parents are Catholics or Christians. Then, they find out the names, home addresses and addresses of their workplaces. Finally, they will show up in your house and ask you to renounce your religious belief.”
The government also forces the Christians to renounce their religious beliefs by pressuring their superiors at their workplaces. Another Christian added, “They cancel your bonus and wage subsidies and threaten you. They use all kinds of methods in order to prevent you from going to the church.”
In the Huludao, Liaoning province an operation was initiated called “Purging the Cultural and Religious Environment in the City, Fighting Against the Harmful Foreign Infiltration” where the government inspected 64 printing stores, 15 printing factories, 14 bookstores, three newsstands, and four churches. Some of these places had the Bible and other religious material and were told to stop selling it until they received permission at the department of licensing.
“Wenzhou is traditionally known as a Christian community because of it’s large population of believers. Many even refer to it as China’s Jerusalem,” Lindsay Elizabeth from Faithwire said. “The community has faced intense persecution in the past years, and it is only growing. The atheistic Communist government, which falsely claims to promote freedom of religion, has recently banned Sunday School as well.”
“Despite the levels of persecution, and the increasing fear of the government, parents are still pushing forward to teach their children the Word of God,” Elizabeth said.