At least 10 Christians were taken into custody for holding a private Bible study without the permission of China’s communist regime.
The repression, which was apparently justified with the coronavirus as a pretext, was reported by Radio Free Asia.
House churches targeted
While Christianity is not “officially” banned in China, Christians are often treated like dissidents by the country’s communist regime. In particular, Chinese authorities have targeted “house churches,” or private places of worship that are not part of state-sanctioned churches.
In the southwestern city of Guiyang last week, authorities raided a Bible study at a Protestant house church, which had been organized by the Ren’ai Reformed Church, and arrested at least 10 Christians for questioning.
“The Ren’ai Reformed Church was raided by officials including the civil affairs bureau and the police on the morning of March 16,” a local Christian with the last name Huang said. “More than a dozen of our brothers and sisters were taken away [by police].”
A leader in the church, Zhang Chulei, was arrested after he went to the police station to ask about the arrests.
He was already being monitored, and had been prohibited from practicing religion by the authorities before the raid, according to RFA.
Secular totalitarianism on the rise
“House churches” have been largely unable to gather in person because of coronavirus restrictions, another local Christian with the last name Li said. The authorities have taken it upon themselves to define “house church” as no larger than a single household.
“As far as we can tell, the [CCP’s] United Front Work Department and the secret agencies of the Chinese government have their own definition of what can be called a house church in China,” Li said. “They think it should refer to a family gathering with only relatives present.”
“Sometimes we will gather in small groups of around a dozen people, or just a few people,” he said. “Large-scale gatherings are definitely banned.”
Over here in the West, we can balk at China’s abuses, but are they so foreign? For the last year, Americans have been treated with basically open contempt by their government, their right to practice religion declared “non-essential.”
Not as extreme as China, perhaps, but America is in thrall to an imperious secularism, a crusading “woke” ideology whose adherents are intolerant of even the quietest and most private dissent. Looking at China, one can’t help but wonder: is this America’s future?