Online Crackdown Threatens Christians in China

President Xi Jinping of China

 Posted at Morning Star News:

(Morning Star News) – Unregistered house churches that have relied on online gatherings and teaching to survive the COVID-19 pandemic and persecution will have that option taken away under draconian measures taking effect on March 1, sources said.

Churches, seminaries and other ministries have been shaken by the government announcement on Dec. 20 that all religious information on the internet will be forbidden unless organizations obtain government permission – an option not open to unregistered house churches.

Only the five government-approved religious organizations may apply for such permission: The Three-Self Patriotic Movement (TSPM, representing officially-approved Protestant churches), the Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association and the officially recognized organizations of Buddhism, Islam and Taosm.

“As the measures were announced, it made Christians and other religious minorities panic, and some WeChat groups with a religious name either changed names or disbanded,” attorney Huang Deqi wrote on WeChat, before Chinese media conglomerate Tencent deleted his Feb. 8 article a few hours later, according to advocacy organization China Aid. “Implementing these new regulations will severely strip and crackdown on freedom of speech and religion, which is protected by the PRC Constitution.”