China Bans Popular Christian Website In Crackdown
By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent Worthy News
BEIJING (Worthy News) – One of China’s most popular Christian websites has been closed down by the ruling Chinese Communist Party as part of its ongoing crackdown on Christianity, well-informed Christians confirmed Thursday.
The “Jona Home” site was forced to end operations after serving believers for about 21 years, according to sources familiar with the situation.
“Due to reasons known to everyone, from now on, our site can no longer serve brothers and sisters in Christ. Thanks to all for your company and support in the past 21 years!” Jona Home said in a notice to readers.
Jona Home encouraged Christians to stay strong in their faith as “the disappearance of a website is merely a website’s disappearance.”
However, “it does not carry any meaning. Except that the website link can no longer be opened, there is nothing else which stopped at that moment. [You] need not to be concerned, and just keep walking” in faith, Jonah Home added.
The closure came after China’s autocratic President Xi Jinping reportedly complained that social media and the internet are being used throughout China “to proselytize for religion.”
FAITH EXPRESSIONS LIMITED
Under the new legislation, known as Administrative Measures for Internet Religious Information Services, online expressions of faith are limited.
The law, adopted March 1, mandates an “Internet Religious Information Service License” for any religious group that wants to disseminate religious content on the internet.
But it says only “legally established” organizations can do so. Experts said this practically means only groups that are part of the five authorized religions in China can use the internet to distribute religious content.
China’s five state-sanctioned religious groups include the Buddhist Association of China, the Chinese Taoist Association, the Islamic Association of China, the Protestant Three-Self Patriotic Movement, and the Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association.
However, millions of devoted Christians reportedly prefer to worship outside state control, prompting a harsh response by Communist authorities.
Earlier the Chinese government already banned the sale of Bibles at online bookstores to comply with a “white paper” that dictated compliance with the “core values of socialism.”
Copies of the Bible’s Gospels were said to have been removed from online retailers after Beijing published “China’s Policies and Practices on Protecting Freedom of Religious Belief.”
“VALUES OF SOCIALISM”
The document warned that Chinese faith groups “should adhere to the direction of localizing the religion, practice the core values of socialism.”
Additionally, they were told to “develop and expand the fine Chinese tradition and actively explore the religious thought which accords with China’s national circumstances.”
The measures have done little to halt the spread of Christianity in Communist-run China, figures suggest.
Advocacy group, Open Doors USA, estimates that China has more than 97 million Christians, while other sources say the figure may be as high as 130 million.
Many of these Christians worship in unregistered or so-called “illegal” underground house churches, according to several sources.
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