The Ban on the Bible
In April of this year, online retailers mysteriously stopped selling the Bible on their sites. The most popular sites for buying and selling books in China, Taobao, JingDong, Amazon China and DangDang all pulled the Bible from their catalogs the same day the government published a “white paper” on religious freedom. Retailers told customers they were ordered to take it down, but offered no further explanation.
Some wary citizens believe the Bible being pulled is because the government is going to “reinterpret and retranslate” the Bible. A document released by the State Administration for Religious Affairs cites a priority for the coming years is to work on “Chinese-style Christianity and theology.”
Churches Demolished or Shuttered
Liang Wang Catholic Church was reduced to rubble earlier this year in a matter of just 15 minutes. Despite having the proper permits and being state-sanctioned, the government declared the church was razed to make way for commercial purposes.
Other churches have been closed for various ambiguous reasons similar to this one—some being officially state-sponsored and others not. But the theme is the same: Christian churches never know where they stand with the government on any given day.
Also earlier this year, Zion Church in Beijing, the nation’s largest “underground” or non-state-sponsored church was told to install security cameras in their sanctuary. When the leadership of the church refused the cameras, the government shut them down. The reason the government gave for the closing was that the church failed to register with them.
Burning Bibles and Crosses
#China CCP starts burning the Bible and crosses in Henan. Last time burning Bibles campaign happened in late 1960s by dictator Chairman Mao’s wife Jiang Qing in Shanghai. She was arrested in 1976 but Christians grew to millions. Will Never be successful河南文革重现，烧圣经十字架 pic.twitter.com/T5esv16NXI
— Bob Fu傅希秋 (@BobFu4China) September 5, 2018
— 周牧人 (@ShepherdChow) September 5, 2018
— Bob Fu傅希秋 (@BobFu4China) August 25, 2018
Despite all these occurrences, though, the Chinese Church appears to be unafraid in the face of persecution. The fact that the pastors were willing to put their names on the statement points to this fact.
Commenting on the paradoxical growth of the Chinese Church, a Time article summarizes the situation this way, “The more severe the persecution, the more people are drawn to Christianity.” This paradoxical truth has proven itself time and again in the history of the church.