Chinese police in Taiyuan, the capital and largest city of Shanxi Province, have recently put up posters promising rewards to citizens who snitch on Christians in the city. Known as Dragon City because it is one of the main manufacturing bases of China, Taiyuan is a busy hub of more than 4.5 million people across six urban districts. Here, police are trying to crack down on Christian communities.
According to ChinaAid, Chinese officials in Taiyuan Pingyang Road and Pingyangjingyuan Community Business Center have put up posters with large slogans that read, "Report illegal religious activities and receive a cash reward up to ¥2,000 (310 United States Dollars). Call: 110 or 12345."
This move is part of China's Communist Party to further intensify Christian persecution in the area.
In recent years, China's Communist Party intensified persecution by rolling out new legislation involving religious communities. Anyone who refused to join the state's Three-self Churches or register with the government's Religious Affairs Bureau would face persecution, would be jailed or detained and even slapped with criminal cases.
China's Religious Affairs Bureau, Public Security Department, national security agents, and sub-district offices teamed up to persecute house churches, including threatening, forcibly expelling residents through their landlords, conducting raids and arrests and demanding large fines, fake charges, and more. Such examples happened as recently as August 2020.
In August, authorities beat and arrested nine Christians, one of which was with child in Nankaishe village, as they commemorated Christian missionaries who were murdered during the 1900 Gengzi massacre. In September 2020 in Yuncheng in the Yanhu District, authorities ordered the demolition of tombs of missionaries from "Swedish Mission in China," as well as a nearby photo exhibition. A hundred people and three excavators were tasked to do the job and plant trees on the space where the tombs used to be.
In December 2020, missionaries' tombs were destroyed in Xinzhou, where eight foreign missionaries and more than 40 Chinese Christians were buried. The same occurred in Daning County, where five Christian missionaries from "China Inland Mission" were buried.
Authorities with China's Communist Party are not only targeting Christians who are alive, but those who are dead as well. On top of raiding church gatherings in the Taiyuan Xuncheng Reformed Church in November 2020, Chengguan Church in Fenyang and Xiying church in Jiaocheng county in March 2021, they also continued to arrest Christians, search their property, and take them in for questioning.
Persecution watchdog Open Doors ranked China as the 17th country in which Christians faced the most persecution with a score of 74. It has a very high level of persecution among its 97.2 million Christian population. But as China's Communist Party continues to ban Bibles, more Christians are recalling the major 1981 effort of Project Pearl to bring Bibles into China, which has helped increase the number of faithful in the communist country.
"I am very aware that persecution is getting worse," a young Christian by the name of Zhang Ming told Open Doors. "I won't be surprised if bulk purchase of Bibles becomes more and more difficult. But I'm not anxious. In fact, I'm full of hope, because the Bible's prophecies and promises have prepared us for what is to come. We can't possibly withstand persecution and hardship by ourselves, but by trusting the Lord we will be victorious."