The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has initiated a new spate of persecution against house churches and underground Christian communities, True North reported Saturday.
This month, the Chinese Ministry of Civil Affairs (MCA) introduced its latest crusade to clamp down on independent groups that act outside of government-approved structures.
In the province of Sichuan, the CCP has published a list of 84 “illegal social organizations” including the Early Rain Covenant Church, an independent Christian association in Chengdu that has been the target of CCP raids and arrests for several years.
Chinese police raided the Early Rain Covenant Church in December 2018 and arrested hundreds of people, including Pastor Wang Yi, a former legal scholar and human rights defender. A year later, a Chengdu court sentenced Wang to nine years in prison for “inciting subversion” and the state-controlled Global Times declared that Wang was an agitator “brainwashed by Western values.”
As Breitbart News reported last week, CCP officials have been using mobile “brainwashing” centers on Christians to make them renounce their faith. The centers employ beatings, indoctrination, and solitary confinement designed to induce self-harm.
Under the leadership of President Xi Jinping, the CCP has sought greater control over all religious practice in the country and pressures Christians to join either the state-run Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association or the Patriotic Three-Self Church, also run by the Communist Party.
CCP authorities oblige preachers of approved churches to adapt their message to the ideology of Chinese communism in an effort to “Sinicize” Christianity, or render it compatible with Marxism.
Many Chinese Christians reject both options and opt instead for membership in the illegal underground Catholic Church or “house churches,” where small groups of Christians meet for prayer, worship, and Bible study.
“In the eyes of the Chinese government, any religious group that refuses to submit to the CCP, or even charity groups, are seen as ‘illegal organizations,’ for the government is fearful that these civil groups can become a force that overthrows them,” Father Francis Liu told Radio Free Asia.