China (MNN) — In China, some local health workers broke into the homes of quarantined COVID-19 patients, killing their pets.
Local officials later apologized. But the bizarre stories illustrate how much pressure Chinese districts face to keep COVID-19 cases at zero, especially as the Chinese government prepares for the 2022 Winter Olympic Games in Beijing.
Zero COVID-19 policy
Eric Burklin with China Partner says small COVID-19 outbreaks shut down entire cities. He spoke to one pastor in Nanjing, a city of over 8 million. “I think they had maybe 10 or 15 cases in that town. And everyone had to stop going to work. They had to show up in their districts for testing sites. And were literally testing everybody, the whole population.”
People who test positive get quarantined in hospitals. Most areas also retain mask mandates, even outdoors. China remains one of the few countries left to hold a zero COVID-19 case policy, and it has kept cases very low ever since the initial outbreak in early 2020.
Burklin says the Chinese government wants stability. “I talked with a pastor in Hong Kong last night. And that’s the keyword that they are saying in China right now: stability. They want everything to be stable. They want everything to go smoothly for the preparations of the Olympics.”
Meanwhile, many Christians still can’t gather in large numbers to worship. But that doesn’t mean ministry has stopped. Burklin says, “We are in regular contact with pastors over WeChat who are just rejoicing and saying, ‘We know Jesus Christ is the Head of our Church. We are going to keep serving Jesus in our community. Even though the local churches are shut down, they meet in small groups, but a lot of the house churches were already doing that anyway.”
Chinese Christians see themselves as the Church. Burklin says Western Christians can learn from their example.
The header photo shows Beijing National Stadium. (Header photo courtesy of Peter23, CC BY-SA 3.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0>, via Wikimedia Commons)