Open Doors estimates that there are around 97.2 million Christians in China! China is a huge country, with around 1.4 billion people so 97 million Christians only accounts for 7% of the total population!
The goal of the Communist Party of China, led by President Xi Jinping, is to maintain power in a united China. That means controlling all religions. The Party fears that churches can be used as a means of foreign infiltration and does not want them to be independent.
Pastor Jin, who leads an unregistered church, was arrested and placed in solitary confinement for ten days after the police burst in. Up until that point, his church had enjoyed relative freedom, untroubled by the increasing restrictions placed on other Christians groups. Ten days in solitary confinement caused Jin to recognise the severity of the situation. It also made him confront his own faith.
He says, “By the end of my time in detention I had whittled the battle in my mind down to one crucial question: If I am called of God, am I really willing to sacrifice everything for the sake of the gospel? For the Lord Jesus?” This choice increasingly applies to Christians all over China. What exactly has happened?
- Churches are now monitored.
- Some have been attacked by the security forces or closed down.
- Church leaders are being detained.
- Most worryingly, children under 18 are banned from attending church.
- Religion is excluded from the public sphere
- Teachers and medical staff have been pressured to sign documents saying they have no religious faith.
The situation continues to worsen as more and more churches in China experience pressure at the hands of the state. Last year, over 5,500 churches were destroyed, closed down or confiscated.
China has risen 20 places on the World Watch List in just two years. Your prayers are needed.