ucanews.com. After claiming 2014 to be the worst year for religious persecution in China since the Cultural Revolution, observers in and outside the country say this year saw the situation deteriorate further in 2015. Relations between China’s religious groups and the Communist Party have not been this strained since the days of Chairman Mao.
The claim is often made that there are perhaps 100 Million Christians in China. Though there is no way of actually counting them, Christianity in China is complicated by the fact that most churches and most Christians are unofficial -- that is, they belong to house churches which have no official sanction or approval. In contrast to this, China does officially allow some churches, however, even these have faced increasing governmental scrutiny. Clearly the only churches the government can tolerate are those it can control. So the aim of the government has been to make churches more Chinese and more friendly to the goals and purposes of communism and the current leaders.
We hear little of the persecution of Christians from those who are charged with watching out for such persecutions. The US government is strangely silent about the plight of Christians in China or in the Middle East, among other areas. That silence does not and should not be interpreted as things improving. Christians face more oppressive regimes today than in a long time. It has been said that Christians fared better under what the West considered to be authoritarian and oppressive dictators than it has where those governments have been toppled. That said, Christianity in China has not enjoyed very many protections and there, among other places, Christians bring great risk to themselves and their families by attending worship.
Our prayers and our voices should be raised on behalf of those who do not enjoy any protection for the exercise of their faith. Governments may be silent in the face of this effort to silence or reduce the numbers of Christians but churches in America and throughout the West should not be silent. We have a duty to tell their story even as we pray for them and for the protection of their right to worship without fear or sanction.
Don't forget them.