Families across the United States and Europe celebrated Christmas this week exchanging gifts, drinking hot chocolate, and celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ. Families in Langfang, China, had a much different experience. In a stunning display, officials from the city invoked a ban on Christmas and the sale of Christmas goods in order to “maintain stability.”
That’s right — a literal ban on Christmas.
This is just one of China’s many fronts in its war against not just Christmas but its Christian population. Arrests, Bible bans, and turning a blind eye to North Korea’s atrocities make up this anti-Christian agenda. The situation remains bleak. It’s time for Western Christians to demand accountability from China for its treatment of our brothers and sisters in Christ.
Since the communist revolution in 1949, the Chinese government has viewed religion as a threat to its legitimacy and absolute rule. Enforcing atheism, even through violent means, became a political necessity. Thousands of Christians were slaughtered during the Cultural Revolution orchestrated by Chairman Mao Zedong.
However, years later, religious freedom seemed to be on the move in China.
Churches opened and regulations on practicing religion were loosened. Religious doctrines had to be approved by the communist state but were still allowed some flexibility. International church groups established formal dialogues with Beijing. It looked as if progress towards a more open China was advancing.
Astonishingly, these minor reforms have resulted in a Christian population that boasts an estimated 100 million believers today. China may even have more Christians than the United States by 2030 according to Purdue University professor and China expert Fenggang Yang.
Yet, any progress that was being made has not only stalled, but taken a dramatic turn for the worse. China’s new self-proclaimed Mao, President Xi Jinping, sees Christianity as a Western import that threatens to destabilize the Communist Party’s iron grip on power and their revisionist agenda.
As such, he’s instituted a number of draconian measures to quell the rise and growing power of the church in China.
In 2018 alone, more than 100,000 Christians have been arrested for merely practicing their faith. That’s a major escalation considering only 3,700 Christians were arrested in 2017. One of these Christians was Wang Yi, a prominent pastor of the Early Rain Covenant Church who was being detained on charges of “inciting subversion of state power.”
Human Rights Watch blasted the arrest, stating that “Under President Xi, the government has further tightened control over Christianity in its broad efforts to ‘Sinicize’ religion or ‘adopt Chinese characteristics.’ In other words, to ensure that religious groups support the government and the Communist Party.”
Megachurches have also been targeted by the Beijing. The Golden Lampstand Church, one of China’s largest churches, was destroyed in early 2018 by the communist regime. Explosives were used to demolish the church to ashes. Much of the $3 million worth of donations to build the church were from members hailing from one of China’s poorest areas.
In addition to attacks on the church itself, China has made it increasingly difficult for those with an interest in Christianity to pursue it. Major online retailers like Amazon, Taobao, and JD have been ordered to stop the sale of Bibles on their sites.
Not to mention that China serves as the sole lifeline to the Kim regime in North Korea, one of the most grotesque abusers of Christians in the world. North Korea ranks number one for its persecution of the church according to Open Doors USA, a nonprofit human rights watchdog.
That’s unsurprising given the fact that over 70,000 Christians in North Korea are estimated to be imprisoned in forced labor camps. Seventy-five percent of those who enter the camps are estimated to perish. Despite these horrific abuses, President Xi seem to shake it off as business as usual.
With all this in mind, it’s important educate our communities about the situation. Don’t let them be confused by China’s use of buzzwords like “democracy” and “liberalism” on the world stage. President Xi cares little for human rights and it’s clear that China is on a path towards authoritarianism.
So, make sure to spread the word far and wide. Our brothers and sisters in Christ are under assault. Western Christians must proactively spread the plight of the Chinese church to their family, friends, and congressional representatives. The time to act is now.
The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of The Daily Caller.