I have written several articles in the past how China has taken a sharp turn to the left under its latest president Xi Jingping. The communist trademark hammer and sickle is showing up in public displays around China.
Now Asia News is reporting that the Chinese city of Guangzhou is offering rewards of as much as $1,500 US for people to turn in Christians to authorities.
Over the previous couple of decades China entered an unprecedented time of prosperity and freedom. During this time, Christianity, that was flourishing in the underground church, moved above ground and this resulted in the construction of several mega churches.
However, under Jingping this is all changing. The government is now cracking down on these churches. In early December, police demolished one of the the country’s largest church, The Golden Lampstand Church in Shanxi Province, using dynamite and heavy machinery.
As a result of this crackdown, Christians are heading back underground where they flourished before Jingping gained tyrannical control of the nation.
Now the leaders of Guangzhou want its citizens to turn in people attending these underground churches and are offering rewards ranging from $3,000 yuan ($450 US) to $10,000 yuan ($1,500 US) if they do. No doubt this is a test program and if it proves effective will be used across the nation.
Of course the reward is based on how beneficial the information is.
You will receive $450 if you provide a clue, $5,000 ($750 US) if you provide information on any foreigner pushing religious views and the 10,000 yuan prize ($1,500 US) goes to anyone willing to work with police and infiltrate the underground church.
So what kind of activities are illegal in China?
It is now illegal for Christians to meet unless they receive permission from the Chinese government. This includes church services, conferences and camps. Essentially, the rule makes underground churches illegal. It is also illegal for people under the age of 18 to receive any religious training at all, even from parents. And it is also illegal for Chinese Christians to communicate with foreign religious people.
In an interview with Asia News one Catholic priest noted the irony that the city instituted these rules just prior to Easter stating:
“At this time, we often meditate on the passion of Jesus and Judas’ treachery for 30 pieces of silver. The Guangzhou government wants to turn people into mini Judas.”
But what is perhaps most disturbing is that the largest reward will go to people willing to work with police. This means the government is actively recruiting spies to infiltrate the underground church. These are the people, who Jesus described as wolves in sheep’s clothing (Matthew 7:15).
But who will be believers greatest enemies in this type of persecution. It will be family members who are aware of the private affairs of children, brothers, sisters and parents.
Jesus specifically warned that this will be a problem in the end times:
21 “Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child; and children will rise up against parents and [s]cause them to be put to death. 22 You will be hated by all because of My name, but it is the one who has endured to the end who will be saved. (Matthew 10:21-22 NASV)
Though money will be the incentive to turn in family members to the government, Jesus stated that the ultimate reason will be because of a hatred of Christ.
This is a step up from what happened in 2016, when the Communist government required all students, parents and teachers in schools and universities to fill out a form. According to Jack Wu, who provided a copy of the form on his blog, people were asked if they attended an underground church, and if they did to then list the name of its leaders and those who attended the meetings.
This put Christians in a very difficult position because they only needed one member or former member to expose them all.
Despite the country’s rapid shift back to Communism, Christianity is spreading in China. The Chinese government puts the official number of Christians at 25 million with most being in the underground church. However, several other more reliable estimates say the number is much higher. For example, Pew Forum, a survey company, estimates there are 67 million China in China. These higher numbers suggest there are more Christians in China than members of the Communist party and this is obviously posing a threat to Jingping.
Unfortunately, China’s influence in the world is on the upswing and these ideas along with its social credit system may spread.
- Guangzhou to encourage modern-day Judas with cash rewards for people who report on house churches: Asia News
- Chinese city pays citizens $1,500 to be a ‘mini-Judas’ and turn in Christians: Christian Headlines
- China is serious this time: Jackson Wu blog
- Regional Distribution of Christians: Pew Forum