China (MNN) — China continues its crackdown on religious freedom. New rules require all religious workers to pledge allegiance to the Chinese Communist Party and resist foreign interference.
Without intervention, China will soon be “competing with North Korea as the worst place to live as a Christian,” Dr. Ewelina U. Ochab predicted on Wednesday. Co-founder of the Coalition for Genocide Response, Ochab advocates extensively for persecuted ethnic and religious minorities worldwide.
China topped this year’s United States Commission on International Religious Freedom report. In his remarks regarding China, Commissioner Gary L. Bauer commented in part:
Of the countries named each year by USCIRF as egregious violators of religious liberty, one is in a category by itself. Communist China doesn’t only deny its citizens basic human rights, including the right to seek and worship God. It is also asserting itself as a new authoritarian model for developing nations around the world.
“Religious freedom violations in China, and the extension of their influence far beyond their borders, represents the most troubling developments in the year 2020,” USCIRF Vice Chair Tony Perkins said during the report’s April 22 release.
Even groups registered with the Chinese government, like Bibles for China, experience problems. “We feel more scrutinized and watched, and we have to be more careful,” President Kurt Rovenstine says.
“We work through the registered Church to reach the people in rural China, so we’re not doing anything subversive. But even in that [sphere], pressure continues to increase.”
You and I cannot control China, but we know the God who holds China in His hands.
“Pray for doors to remain open; those we work with are protected; the hearts of those in places of leadership would be softened, and God would allow us to continue ministry,” Rovenstine requests.
“We’re confident that if God gives us funding, there’ll be an avenue to get that funding into China, but we’re watching [the situation] closely.”
Header image depicts Chinese believers praying in a rural church. (Photo courtesy of Bibles for China)