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Bitter Winter
Source: Bitter Winter

China has announced plans to export a Communist-Christian hybrid around the world in a broadcast to the nation. Release International warns atheism and Christianity can never mix, and says the policy is a smokescreen to mask increasing persecution.

China has been trying to tighten its grip on Christianity through a programme of ‘Sinicization’, a policy to compel churches to adopt the atheist ideology of the Communist Party, which denies the existence of God.


Hammer and sickle small

UK-based Release International warns the policy is a smokescreen to mask the increasing persecution of the Church in China.

A training meeting for key pastors in Jilin Province, which was broadcast throughout the country, called on church leaders to resist the influence of foreign churches and so-called illegal religion.

The Communist Party considers any missionary support from the West to be anti-Chinese, along with the burgeoning underground church in China. It has long been said that there are more Christians in China than members of the Communist Party.

According to reports, the conference in Jilin was attended by state-appointed pastors of the government-controlled Three Self Church. It called for Christianity with a Communist core to be exported around the world. And concluded with a rallying cry to ‘change the face of world Christianity’ – which was greeted with thunderous applause.

So, what does this hybrid of Communism and Christianity look like in China itself?

Tearing down crosses

The official policy of Sinicization, of state assimilation and control, has led to a ban on online religious content and the tearing down of more than a thousand crosses from official churches. Pastors have been imprisoned, along with Chinese lawyers who try to defend their legal right to display the cross of Christ on their buildings.


The Communist Party has insisted that pictures of Mao and President Xi Jinping are displayed in churches and demanded recently that a large hammer and sickle be put up beside a church sign in Zhejiang province.

Pastors who rock the boat are put under surveillance, singled out for harassment and accused of extremism. Some who take up offerings have been arrested for fraud or illegal business operations. The latest is Pastor Deng Yanxiang of Shengjia Church, Guandong, who was arrested along with three colleagues.

After the arrests, the church posted a sign reading: ‘They are innocent. They are kind, loving, and honest people. They actively participate in public service. They are well-respected among colleagues and neighbours. Law enforcement imposed huge social harm by arresting people without discerning between good and bad.’

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Wang Weicai and wife. ChinaAid source

Wang Weicai was another of those arrested. His wife posed the question: ‘He is always devout, loves the Lord and actively helps brothers and sisters. How does he suddenly become a criminal?’

The current wave of persecution in China has been described as the most severe since the Cultural Revolution.

China watchers Bitter Winter point out that thousands of Christians each year express what they really think of Sinicization by voting with their feet to leave the Three Self Church.

There is an exodus to the unofficial house churches. Christians who are caught face imprisonment for exercising their freedom of faith guaranteed under the Chinese constitution.

Christianity growing

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ChinaAid President, Bob Fu, speaking at Release International event, Eastbourne. Photo: Andrew Boyd

Bob Fu is a partner of UK-based Release International. Speaking at their recent Out of these ashes event in Eastbourne he said that despite worsening persecution, the church is growing:

‘The revival continues. Secular Purdue University estimate the number of Christians in China today has already – at minimum ¬≠- exceeded 100 million. Some put that figure as high as 130 million. That would mean almost 10 per cent of the population of China.’

Paul Robinson is the CEO of Release International, which serves persecuted Christians around the world, including China. He says: ‘This push to give Christianity a Communist core is yet another attempt to control and dominate the Church and force it to conform.

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‘The policy is simply a smokescreen to mask the persistent persecution of the true Christian faith in China.

‘Release International continues to call on China to permit full religious freedom and release its Christian prisoners of faith – including lawyers who have raised legal challenges to the tearing down of crosses from churches.’

Release International is active in around 30 countries. It works through partners to prayerfully, pastorally, and practically support the families of Christian martyrs, prisoners of faith and their families. It also supports Christians suffering oppression and violence, and those forced to flee.

Watch the latest Persecution Report on this story here:
Persecution Report is now broadcast on TV and syndicated around the world.

Sources: ChinaAid, Bitter Winter, Voice of the Martyrs Canada.