Bob Fu, a former pastor from China and founder of ChinaAid, discusses the increasing persecution of religion, especially Christianity, in China. At FaithStreet, Fu says that both unofficial “house churches” and denominational churches struggle to exist.
From our own ChinaAid fieldwork and contacts in China, we know that the USCIRF’s [U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom]conclusion is absolutely warranted. In fact, in ChinaAid’s own annual report for 2013, we have statistical documentation of worsening persecution persisting over the previous eight years. And in recent years, the target of that persecution has increasingly included the state-sanctioned “Three-Self Patriotic” churches, in addition to unofficial “house churches” that have all along borne the brunt of the atheist regime’s policies to oppress religion.
Fu refers to a leaked government document that warns Chinese officials about too much growth of religion and far too many new churches being built. The document also warns of “the political issues behind the Cross.” Fu says that persecution of Christians is nothing new, of course, especially in China, and it has led to more growth of the faith. It is predicted that, by 2030, China will have the largest Christian population in the world, despite the efforts of the government to rid the nation of religious faith.
Fu expresses frustration with the United States and other countries for not speaking out about the persecution that is taking place in China.
Unless and until the United States and the rest of the international community step up and send an unequivocal message to the Beijing leadership that this trampling of religious freedom is totally unacceptable, China’s ruling Communist Party will feel free to expand this crackdown on crosses into a nationwide campaign.
On May 22, Bob Fu testified at a Congressional hearing regarding freedom and religious liberty. Fu told the committee that China “has imposed comprehensive restrictions on Christian faith this year and intensified its grip on and its efforts to wipe out house churches.” He cited five cases in particular, and also listed a number of people who were being detained by the government because of their religious beliefs. Fu stated:
It is worth noting that in the past two years, the Chinese Communist regime has often used criminal charges rather than religious reasons to persecute churches and believers. And, like the conviction of Falun Gong practitioners, the government used Article 300 of China’s Criminal Law, i.e. “using a cult to undermine law enforcement,” to convict many non-mainstream Christian denominations such as “The Shouters,” the “Local Church,” and charismatic Christians, etc. We know that government does not have the right to decide between “orthodox faith” and “cult” and to punish accordingly. That authority does not lie with any secular power on this earth.