The atheist revolutionary of German-Jewish descent Karl Marx is famous for calling religion the “opium of the people”. While he certainly did not care for it, many governments who take a philosophy of epicurean or darwinian beliefs enjoy using religion to attempt to control people for their benefit. This is part of the historical conflict between relationship and political tribalism, is the major reason why there has been such a tremendous amount of fighting between the governments of the West and the Church since her inception, is a source of continual scandal for the Eastern Christian world, and is still used today both in the US by way of the “Christian right” and in the “socialist left”, the latter being more obvious than the former.
China is certainly no exception, and is very obvious in her intentions. Many churches have been forced into “government” allegiances, be they Catholic or Protestant, and “illegal” churches- meaning those who have pastors or priests not vetted by the Chinese government -are severely persecuted. This is because China thinks that in her tradition of hamhandedness, she can control the people by controlling their religion and if they “refuse” to obey, then just attacking the pastor or church in public will enforce the “power” of the government over the Church.
There are many pastors and priests who are trying to work with this in order to spread the Gospel, but not all of them will “obey” everything the government is saying. Such an example recently happened when on Church, called the Three-self church in Liaoning province, had a preacher suspended because she was ordered to curse Taiwan’s President with prayer during gathering and refused to. This is, one should add, coming a a time of escalated tensions in Hong Kong and Taiwan due to then the ongoing Hong Kong protests against the Beijing-backed autonomous government and the fact that not only is Taiwan considered a part of China by China, but also that the US and France have been putting military naval patrols between her and China.
According to Bitter Winter, this preacher was reported to authorities in August, as she was deemed “anti-Party and anti-government.” Members of the church told the magazine that four days after she made the comments, officials from the local State Security Bureau came to speak with the preacher, in particular, about her views on Hong Kong and Taiwan. She was also asked whether she recently had any dealings with house churches and Hong Kong Christians or publicly remarked about Hong Kong and the “riots” there.
Due to government pressure, the church’s management committee issued a notice, punishing the preacher with suspension.
The verdict reads: “[The preacher] is clear on truth and has no bad habits, but she made remarks on a sensitive topic, causing trouble for the government and the Church. At the government’s request, this person, who has associations with the Alliance Bible Seminary, has been suspended. She will not receive wages during the period of suspension and spiritual cultivation.”
According to local sources, the preacher has left the locality of the church. (source)
The Chinese government’s pressure against Christians also applies to Muslims. While Christians at the current time are not being mass rounded up (although roundups certainly have taken place), the Muslims are being openly put into an open-air type of concentration camp where torture and bizarre forms of 20th century type eugenic programs are secretly taking place, and sometimes not so secretly also.
The Chinese government is seeking, from what it appears, to commit genocide against the Uighur culture and people. Some have cheered this saying “it is because they are Muslim,” but supporting genocide is never an answer to one’s problems.
If the Chinese communists are willing to commit genocide against a people who have a thousands of years long history in China, what does that say about Christians, as the major Christian presence in China dates from the 16th century?
China goes through periods of nationalistic and racialist fervor, and it is these periods that mark the “decline” of China just as she starts to enter into a superpower-ish stage, as she attacks her own people. However, the attacks are very violent and often involve horrible crimes, such as those right now being committed against the Uighurs and increasingly against Christians.
China is a threat, and it is possible that she may grow more and try more attacks. However, the historical paradigm suggests the opposite, as this is a highly consistent pattern Chinese history.
Right now is the time to look out for the welfare of the Christians, and to prepare for the worst to come, for just like in India, the persecutions will likely be intensified to the point of a complete genocide just like what happened in Turkey a century ago.