There are fears that the persecution of Christians in China is going to get worse following the 19th National Party Congress of the Communist Party of China held in October.
Mr Xi Jinping has been the Chinese President for 5 years. During that time he stepped up measures against freedom of religion and speech. Underground churches have been closed down; members, pastors and their lawyers harassed, imprisoned and tortured; church buildings damaged or demolished, all done to reduce the influence of Christianity in the country.
President Xi has now been re-elected as president for another 5 years, given greater powers, and the highest national honours at the same level as Mao Zedong. This is an endorsement of his work in the preceding 5 years. In his main speech Xi said “The party exercises overall leadership over all areas of endeavour in every part of the country”. This means the Communist Party aims to control everything. Dissent and freedom of speech and religion will be further suppressed. He also said that “erroneous” ideology (including Christianity) must be opposed. The government will also step up its campaign to “sinicize” religion. In other words religion must be changed to promote communism. All this means churches may not preach the true Gospel, and “underground” gatherings for Bible study and devotion will be prohibited. Those caught breaking the rules will face punishment including impossibly high fines, property confiscation or imprisonment.
The Christians and churches in China are going through a difficult time and, humanly speaking, it is likely to get worse. Please pray for them.