Ever since Xi Jinping became president of the Chinese Communist Party, there have been increasing restrictions on religious activity. Initially there were some indications that the new government was simply trying to confirm and prove it authority in every area of life. The silent hope was that with time, like in the past, these kinds of pressures would ease. However, that has not happened. Instead, the restrictions are becoming more severe. This is shown in various way.
Children forbidden to attend church services and join Christian groups
On one of the Breitbart website pages one can find an article by Thomas D. Williams PhD asserting that Christian Churches in China are told that children are forbidden to attend Church services and to join Christian groups (see also: www.onenewsnow.com and www.wnd.com). All Sunday schools for children are to be shut down. A summer camp run by churches was forced to disband. This stipulation comes in the wake of a study showing that more than 60% of students are interested in learning more about Christianity. The article further claims that this is in response to increasing numbers of young catechumens attending both official and underground Christian communities.
All the registered Churches, both Roman Catholic and Protestant are forced to put up notices forbidding young children from attending. Unregistered house churches are illegal and therefore parents taking their children to these Churches will be faced with a two-fold charge; for attending an illegal religious organization and for illegally taking their children to a religious activity. Both primary and secondary schools are tasked with notifying students of these stipulations. This context adds pressure on these children should they indicate in any way during school hours that their parents may be involved in religion.
Primary and Secondary School teachers forbidden from attending church services and joining Christian groups
This recent government stipulation and regulation goes further by applying the same restrictions to all teachers and leaders of these children. The concern is that these leading figures in young children’s lives may show a terrible example and by their actions further tempt young people to become involved in religion. Understand well, this means that these leaders of the youth may not be caught even attending the registered Churches or religious organizations.
The stipulation makes a point of applying this regulation to all those working with children, including toddlers. Thus, it applies to day-care workers as well. Other citizens, those not involved with the youth, still have permission to attend registered religious organization, but this stipulation is intended to make it appear that attending religious organization is a harmful adult only thing, like an adult only night-club or adult only video.
Security cameras are to be placed in all Church buildings
Although initially a government regulation for all registered Chinese Churches to be equipped with security cameras appeared to be unrelated to the law forbidden children from attending churches, in view of how quickly this was followed by the other, one cannot help but draw a connection. It was argued that for the security of the Churches and its members such cameras had to be installed both inside and outside of all Church buildings. The stipulation included that outdoor cameras were to be focused on all entrances into the building and the internal cameras on the leading person(s) during the Church services.
The government would install these cameras, but the Churches had to pay for them. Those Churches failing to comply would be fined. With the government installing the cameras, means the government, through the local police, would monitor whatever happens both in and outside of these churches. Nothing would be hidden from the civil government.
The Reason for these new Regulations
The official reason given for these new restraints is to endorse the government’s atheistic policy. Included in this policy is the need for all citizens to embrace a communist world view. This world view can be likened to a colony of ants, where the entire community and country is busy for its own good. It leaves no room for any kind of God or other authority. All human activity must be focused on the well-being of everyone else as determined and directed by the state. The state is the highest authority to which all must fully submit.
This is really nothing new. Throughout the history of this sinful and broken world, in one way or another, civil governments or states have been exalted as gods over their citizens. The Pharaoh’s of Egypt deified themselves as gods or direct agents of the gods. The Roman Emperors put themselves in the place of gods and gave themselves the authority of the gods. The Greeks too, hardly distinguished their gods and heroes. In all these heathen societies the political leaders were deified either before or after their death. Today, the only difference is that such deification is hidden under the guise of being scientific and atheistic.
Modern science and philosophy continually emphasise that there is no God. There is no such existence as God. By way of concession, it is added that, even if there is a God, we do not know Him. We have not been able to see Him. With modern equipment, we have looked deep into space. We are able to observe stars that are thousands of light years away. We have seen no heaven, the dwelling place of God. We tried, but we have not been able to observe any extra-terrestrial being. There is no other existence out there. At least for now, man, and all living beings, are stuck on this earth. We have not yet been able to expand our borders beyond this planet on which we, by chance, have evolved. In short, there is no higher authority than man.
In practice, from a communist point of view, this may mean that we either: let the majority of opinion rule, like is done in the western counties with their conflicting religious viewpoints that leads only to conflicts and hostilities, or let a central government rule. The latter means that the central government imposes its ideals on the masses and forces them all to conform. No mention is made of God. No room is left for any authority to which the civil government must submit. No God is mentioned. The civil government is the highest authority. It takes the place that properly belongs to God. The communist attack on Christianity and all religion can only be understood in this context. It will not allow for anyone to insist that the rulers of this world are accountable to God. It tries to undermine the enmity the Lord proclaimed between the seed of the woman and the seed of the serpent by denying God who will hold mankind to account.
In view of all this, how thankful we must be that the Lord God is King, whether the communist civil government acknowledges it or not! It makes us all long for the Lord to complete His victory and show His glory at the return of Christ Jesus.
PKA de Boer