China's authorities in Heilongjiang Province are cracking down on Christians by ordering its citizens to spy on them and report any "illegal religious activities" such as preaching and religious house gatherings. Those who provide tips to the authorities will be rewarded with $150.

Authorities in Meilisi Daur District in the city of Qiqihar in Heilongjiang Province have released a guideline titled "The Reward System For Reporting Illegal Religious Activities Offences," which said informants will be paid up to 1,000 yuan or $150 for information on Christians engaging in what they believe are "illegal activities."

According to the Christian Post, Chinese citizens could get in touch with CCP authorities through phone call, email, or letter to report those "unqualified religious personnel" who are engaged in "unauthorized trans-regional activities, preaching" and the distribution of "printed religious literature, audio-visual products outside places of worship," as well as "unauthorized donations or private house gatherings."

The goal was to "strengthen the control of illegal religious activities" while preventing COVID from spreading from these events. CCP authorities also wanted to "mobilize the public to engage in preventing, suppressing illegal religious activities, and ensure a harmonious and stable religious landscape."

The guidelines were released by the Meilisi Daur District United Front Work Department of Qiqihar this month, with similar directives appearing in the Boshan District of Zibo City and the Shandong area of Weihai City. Such reward systems had already been in place in Fujian, Guangxi, Henan, Hebei and Liaoning since 2019.

International Christian Concern reported that "While [the Chinese authorities] do not specify which religion they are targeting, it is self-evident that house churches are being suppressed." In China, religious groups must be registered with the CCP authorities before being allowed to operate and hold gatherings and worship events. Those who fail to register will be subjected to persecution and detention when caught.

CCP is also continuing to crack down on religious groups by forcing them to align their values and teachings with their own communist beliefs. According to the Taipei Times, the "Measures for the Administration of Religious Institutes" that will take effect in China will require heads of religious institutes to support CCP leadership, while their followers must be educated in "socialism with Chinese characteristics in the new Xi Jinping era," patriotism and the sinicization of religion.

Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Wang Mei-hui opposed the CCP's control over religion, saying that it was "meant to bring comfort and encourage goodness," but instead the CCP is using it as a "tool for political indoctrination" through the requirement of the "Xi Jinping thought" study, which she said was "extremely frightening."

In China, religious groups must come under the "Three-Self Patriotic Church," which is the official Chinese Protestant church controlled by CCP's United Front Work Department, The Diplomat reported. CCP not only persecutes adult religious minorities, but also tries to limit religious education for minors by prohibiting them from attending church services and other religious activities.