|China’s Christians see mounting persecution in the country’s effort to disband churches:
There has been an aggressive crackdown on house churches in China, where the faithful are forced to call their gatherings “patriotic” assemblies or sent to prison where they can face torture.
Cases of the government persecuting Christians rose 42 percent last year, amid a three-phase plan by Beijing to eradicate the home-based churches. The Communist Party in China has long felt threatened by any movement that galvanizes a large sector of the population, fearing it could wield political clout. Last year, the government mounted the three-phase approach designed to wipe out unregistered house churches by forcing them to join the official “Three-Self Patriotic Movement” and stop defining themselves as churches. China’s State Administration for Religious Affairs secretly investigated house churches and created files on them. The current wave of crackdowns, which began midway through 2012, is part of the second phase.
The government is using a wide array of subtle and ham-handed tactics to persecute Christians, targeting house church leaders and churches in urban areas.
Last year a softer approach used utility companies, service committees and neighborhood committees to terminate contracts with rental facilities and cut off electricity and water to the churches. Those semi-official agencies, including industrial and commercial affairs departments, used various excuses to harass, interfere and ban church services.
In most cases, they did not take anyone into custody, or detain or sentence, and even if a person was in custody, he was quickly released. The unrelenting persecution of Shouwang Church in the past nearly two years has been conducted in this manner. For example, landlords were pressured to terminate lease agreements with church members, church members who had purchased real estate were unable to take possession of them, church leaders were placed under house arrest and church members were evicted — all of which was done to make it impossible for the house church to operate normally so that it would eventually disband.
Now it appears that the government is prepared to simply arrest and beat up or imprison anyone who does not comply with the new directive.
Note from Adrian Greenslade:
I have posted stuff on here previously, and I now repeat that I have no doubts about what the church is facing in our country in the future. It\'s the same devil!
You want to see revival? It won\'t happen without persecution. We see the same thing over here: you can go to the religious social club, or you can do God\'s work! Toe the line and any Christian worth his salt who is reaching out, will have to stop, and we will be the last generation of Christians who meekly bowed out as God removed the candlestick! Or, if we have revival, then brother WILL betray brother to the death.The choice is yours.