China has banned the house church Zion, a 1500-member congregation, after they refused to install surveillance cameras in their church. China threatened to close down the church if they did not comply and have now come through on their threat.
According to Christianity Today, even though the church had been able to gather without registering for some time, the Chinese government claimed that the church was banned because without registering first, its gatherings were illegal.
The Chinese government also confiscated what it called “illegal promotional material” from the church, Reuters reports. It is unknown what the “illegal” material consisted of, but one guess is it was mostly Bibles and church literature. This happened despite the country’s constitutional guarantee of religious freedom to churches. Reportedly, Xi Jinping, who took office 8 years ago, began completely disregarding this right in China’s constitution and began shutting down churches left and right and persecuting religious minorities.
However, religious asylum seekers who founded The Epoch Times have long reported on the Chinese affronts to any religion that doesn’t worship the state and its leaders. The paper cited the Tiananmen Square massacre, where China famously slaughtered religious adherents to a different form of Buddhism from the official, government-sanctioned versions.
In recent times, China has also been heavily persecuting Christians. In one town, the Chinese government demanded Christians pray to the Chinese president. They took down a cross and replaced it with an image of the president instead. An 84-year-old man was harassed over it.
Additionally, there are reports that the Chinese government is working on a “socialist” bible that they will use as a “replacement” for all other real Bible translations in the country. The Christian Post also reports they are trying to force churchgoers to sing communist anthems, in addition to other forms of persecution.