The Chinese government’s campaign to “Sinicize” organized religion – to make religion completely subordinate to the Communist Party – grew more aggressive this year and featured the destruction of Bibles, crosses, and entire churches.
Religious freedom activists call it the worst crackdown on Christianity since religious freedom was nominally granted by the 1982 Chinese constitution.
A Fox News report on Monday linked the crackdown with Communist Party leader Xi Jinping’s ascension to dictatorial power and the fulfillment of worst-case fears expressed by underground Christian leaders when Beijing began using government-controlled churches to co-opt the religion:
Activists reportedly filmed footage of what appeared to be piles of burning bibles and forms declaring that the signatories had rejected their faith. The authorities allegedly forced the believers to sign the forms or risk being expelled from school or losing welfare benefits.
A Christian Pastor in the Henan city of Nanyang, whose name was identified out of fear of retaliation by the authorities, reportedly confirmed that crosses, bibles, and furniture were burned during a raid on his church on Sept. 5.