The false narrative that is the Chinese Communist Party's official rhetoric on Christian minorities in China is a cover-up for what persecuted Christians actually experience under the regime, an article says.
Firsthand accounts of persecution, arrests without warrants, and abuse in the hands of authorities in "re-education" camps have come to light thanks to those who managed to get out alive. But for those who don't, it's a reminder of how China's iron fist works against those who defy the government.
In a new op-ed by Dr. Yiedi Yeh for ChinaAid, he discusses how CCP's official rhetoric on religious minorities is a far cry from the devastating realities of persecuted Christians in China. Chinese authorities and its state-run media are quick to condemn any report coming from researchers in the west, or anywhere else in the world for that matter. Anything that doesn't come from a Chinese official or is not vetoed by the Chinese authorities is labeled misinformation.
Under Xi Jinping, the Chinese Constitution's law that guarantees the fundamental right to religious freedom lies in a gray area. Citizens are only allowed religious freedom if their churches are registered with the Chinese government. If not, it will be subjected to countless raids, arrests without warrants, and persecution through torture and other human rights violations.
Moreover, state-run media will only publish church-related news if it is approved by the government, which means any news of persecution is often swept under the rug. The truth, contrary to the CCP's official rhetoric, is that Christian churches in China face a larger crackdown by its police. But people won't find this in China's mainstream media. For them, all is well.
In 2015, the Chinese government issued a "Sinicization'' plan that ordered all doctrines and operations of all officially recognized religions to comply with the core values of communism and that the leaders of the CCP must be recognized by all religious organizations. Those who don't will face criminal penalties.
Since then, four major house churches have closed: Early Rain Covenant Church (ERCC) in Sichuan, Zion Church and Shouwang Church in Beijing, and Rongguili Church in Guangzhou. Their leaders have been heavily persecuted, with Pastors Wang Yi of ERCC and John Sanqiang Cao being subjected to 9 years and 7 years in prison, respectively.
What the CCP's official rhetoric won't tell anyone is that the Chinese government has used several suppressive measures against unregistered house churches and their leaders, including threats, harassment, increased surveillance, house arrests, criminal detention, and more. What they hope to do is finally dismantle such house churches or make them succumb to the state-controlled Three-Self churches. But China remains unsuccessful in covering up crimes against Christian minorities.
According to International Christian Concern, the plight of persecuted Christians in China has caught the attention of religious individuals in the west, who have been increasingly aware and concerned for their safety. A poll released by Aid to the Church in Need-USA revealed how those who said they were "very concerned" about persecution has increased to 67% versus just 41% in 2020, indicative of a shift to a more global awareness and hopefully, action against communist China.