Over 100 incidents of Christian persecution have been recorded by the U.S.-based persecution watchdog, International Christian Concern (ICC), in the span of just a year. The group released a new report detailing how the Chinese Communist Party has intensified its crackdown on religious minorities, specifically Christians who live in China, which is being governed by a communist regime.
According to the Christian Post, the ICC report showed that between July 2020 and June 2021, there was a significant increase in Christian church raids. Moreover, "not only were churches shut down or demolished, but pastors and church attendees were often arrested."
In fact, just this September, a crackdown occurred in Harbin City in China's Heilongjiang Province, where more than 30 officials from the CCP, including SWAT officers, police officers, religious affairs bureau officials and local school district administrators together raided Maizi Christian Music High School. Meanwhile, back in August, Chenghua District Mengzhuiwang officials in the Sichuan Province forced their way into the home of a church member named He Shan, where a small group of Early Rain Covenant Church members gathered for worship.
ICC has also recorded 23 incidents of Chinese authorities demolishing religious structures and symbols during the reporting year. The report revealed, "The CCP has torn down, destroyed, and removed numerous churches in China, especially those that refused to submit to its control." It also revealed up to 14 cases of "Sinicization," the communist state's campaign to foce religious groups to accept CCP-defined Chinese culture.
The CCP's efforts to implement "Sinicization" involves forcing a church bookstore to display Mao Zedong's Little Red Book instead of the Bible. The Administration for Religious Affairs also forced Christians to study CCP leader Xi Jinping's book and memorize some of his nationalist speeches. Meanwhile, CCP authorities have also cracked down on Bible apps and Christian WeChat public accounts as part of their highly restrictive administrative measures on religious staff which took effect earlier this year.
"China tightening down on people of faith comes as no surprise to observers," ICC's Regional Manager for Southeast Asia Gina Goh observed in a statement on the report. The ICC also reported that almost every province in China has experienced intensified Christian persecution, with most evidence of it occurring in the Sichuan, Hebei and Fujian provinces.
"What is concerning is the depth and width of persecution and that it continues to expand," Goh admitted. "From Xinjiang to Sichuan, from state-sanctioned groups to underground churches, from verbal threats to imprisonment, believers in China are constantly watched and persecuted."
Christians are not the only religious minorities that the CCP is notoriously targeting. The Turkic ethnic group called the Uyghurs are being targeted as well, subjecting them to various levels of human rights violations and abuse in concentration camps. In fact, Foreign Policy reported last week that the CCP is using the excuse of a "war on terror" for cracking down on the Muslim minorities.
The CCP argues that the East Turkestan Islamic Movement may be infiltrated by Islamist militant groups, especially after the fall of Afghanistan, which shares a 74-kilometer border with China. CCP has politically labeled ETIM as a "terrorist organization" or "separatist," and this labeling is a result of "the CCP's successful exploitation of the United States' war on terror, a hyped up boogeyman to justify long-standing repressive policies in Xinjiang, culminating in the ongoing genocide," the report said.