■ Chinese Christians are the targets of a new wave of persecution with some saying the communist government is on a mission to completely wipe out Christianity.
One of the many Christians who knows the Chinese prison system all too well is Li Hongmin. China Aid reports Hongmin was arrested and charged with “running an illegal business” for simply printing copies of Christian materials.
“The materials we printed were not heresies,” Hongmin’s wife told China Aid after her husband’s arrest. “They were not opposed to the Communist Party in any way. On the contrary, they teach people to help others, to love their fellow countrymen, their home and their country.”
Since his arrest in June 2016, the government has dragged Hongmin through government courts, forcing him to defend his faith.
This story is a common one in recent months. This year the communist government is going after Christians with a vengeance, rounding up entire house churches and charging Christians with spying or sabotaging the regime.
“Persecution campaigns made 2016 one of the most tyrannical years since the Cultural Revolution,” China Aid reports.
One of the biggest campaigns against Christians in the country are the rampant church cross demolitions.
“The cross demolition movement, which began in 2014 as part of a beautification campaign known as ‘Three Rectifications and One Demolition,’ continued in Zhejiang province during 2016,” China Aid reported.
“Although official rhetoric claims the operation intends to address ‘illegal structures,’ it specifically discriminated against Christian churches and imposed strictures on the crosses that adorned the exterior of their buildings. In 2016, the number of crosses demolished surpassed 1,800,” the organization added.
The government is also regulating church services and threatening Christian leaders if they teach anything other than the state approved version of Christianity. Human rights lawyers have tried to step in to defend religious freedom but they too face jail time.
“China continuously violates its own laws and international statutes safeguarding religious freedom in favor of promoting a socialist agenda, forcing religious devotees to choose between certain persecution and disregarding their deeply held beliefs,” China Aid reported. “Additionally, it prosecutes lawyers who attempt to defend the rights of religious practitioners, completely disregarding the rule of law.”