By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent Worthy News
BEIJING (Worthy News) – Outspoken Chinese Christians face more restrictions after China’s Communist government banned “illegal religious content” and closed numerous websites, Worthy News learned Saturday.
“In addition, social media content has been severely limited in what was already considered one of the most restrictive nations in the world,” said Christian advocacy group Voice Of the Martyrs Canada (VOMC).
Among the many believers targeted was a “Chinese Christian woman” who “recently found herself banned for a year from a business-related platform,” VOMC told Worthy News.
The woman, who was not identified, was reportedly active on DingTalk, an online collaboration and management platform widely used throughout China.
“One of the posts made by this Christian professional had allegedly violated the rules by including ‘illegal religious content.’ However, the post’s subject matter was no different from the content she regularly published for her job,” VOMC explained.
The prohibition will create “major difficulties for the accused Christian woman, along with other users of the platform,” added VOMC, which closely monitored the situation.
Many have “unwittingly post content containing prohibited words which, consequently, result in restrictions that prevent them from continuing to manage their work,” the group stressed.
VOMC said it had asked its supporters to “pray that China’s governing leaders will allow free expression of thought for all citizens throughout the country.”
The charity also urged prayers “that God would grant Christians in China wisdom and discretion regarding the words they use during their daily online media interactions. So they can remain undetected by the Communist authorities.”
Despite the repressive restrictions, “may these followers of Christ find ways to continue sharing the hope of the Gospel through their work,” VOMC explained.
The latest restrictions are part of a broader crackdown in China, ranging from Church closures to the jailing of Christians, several sources said.
“Church attendance is rigorously monitored, and many churches are being closed down,” said Open Doors, major advocacy, and aid group.
Authorities close independent congregations as well as those belonging to the Three-Self Patriotic Movement (the officially state-sanctioned Protestant church in China), Open Doors added.
It also remains illegal for minors to attend church, experts say. Additionally, “All meeting venues had to close during the recent COVID-19 [pandemic] crisis. Christian leaders are generally the main target of government surveillance,” Open Doors stressed.
Those facing the most persecution include Christian converts from Islam or Tibetan Buddhism. “Their family and community will usually threaten or abuse them,” Open Doors said.
“Their husbands may be pressured to divorce them, to persuade them to reconvert. Neighbors may report any Christian activities to the authorities or the village head,” the group explained.
“Converts from a Muslim or Buddhist background from minority ethnic groups arguably face the most severe types of persecution,” Open Doors said.
“Because their families and communities also persecute them. Consequently, places, where Christian persecution is particularly rife include Xinjiang, Tibet, and western China.”
The persecution increased under Chinese President Xi Jinping, according to Christians familiar with the situation. Yet despite the reported crackdown, there are at least some 100 million Christians in the country, but the actual figure may be much higher, officials and groups say.
If you are interested in articles produced by Worthy News, please check out our FREE sydication service available to churches or online Christian ministries. To find out more, visit Worthy Plugins.