While not so extensive as its brutalization of the Uighur Muslims, Beijing’s campaign to repress its Christian subjects has been in full swing for three years. Nina Shea writes:
Tactics, aimed principally at church leadership but including ordinary Christians, range from prison to social marginalization, closures of churches, censorship of Christian teaching, secret detention in “black” jails for brainwashing and Maoist “struggle sessions,” torture, and likely execution by means of organ excision.
The Chinese Communist Party has always put pressure on church leadership to conform, but now the pressure is widespread and intensifying. A Catholic priest in China commented to AsiaNews that the policy is to treat religions “as state institutions” and religious workers as “civil servants.” This is especially ominous as China—a Communist police state anxious for religion to wither away—conflates Christianity with Western democracy, its perceived political, economic, and military arch-competitor.
Church closures and desecrations continue. The website Bitter Winter reports that at least 400 Protestant churches, both underground and state-overseen, . . . in Jiangxi province’s Shangrao city were demolished, closed, or repurposed in 2020. In April 2020, 48 [state-approved “patriotic”] churches were closed in Yugan county, Jiangxi. . . . Crosses and holy pictures are being continuously removed from “patriotic” churches, with some jurisdictions substituting Xi Jumping’s picture, and replacing displays of the Ten Commandments with Xi’s sayings.