CHRISTIAN NEWS/ GETTY
A report by China Aid found crucifixes have been destroyed and vicars arrested in China
The threat against Christians in China has “reached a new height” with believers forced to conform to the Chinese Communist Party’s agenda or face jail.
A report by advocacy charity China Aid found the Communist Party has shifted from setting out guidelines for religions to bringing Christianity completely under state control.
President Xi Jinxing has led the charge forcing religious people to conform to his party’s agenda with chilling consequences for those who refuse.
Since the government drafted its new set of religious restrictions, the Revised Regulations on Religious Affairs in September, the party has pressured churches to become part of the state-run Three-Self Patriotic Movement.
Churches have also come under increased surveillance with travel sanctions stopping Christians from attending religious training abroad.
The report found the government is taking action with crosses being ripped down and replaced with communist party symbols.
Vicars have also been arrested for refusing to take bribes from officials with reports of Christians banned from praying in hospitals and singing.
Zhejiang’s government continues to demolish crosses. Religious sites and activities are not allowed to separate from the government system
House churches have been raided with church leaders jailed for refusing to conform.
Pastor Yung Hua was jailed for two and a half years for “divulging state secrets” after refusing to hand over a hard drive during a raid.
China Aid’s report said: “Zhejiang’s government continues to demolish crosses. Religious sites and activities are not allowed to separate from the government system. The government has taken coercive measures to force house churches to join the official Three-Self Church.”
President Xi Jinxing released the religious restrictions
Churches must conform to the Chinese Communist Party's agenda, according to the report
Churches that refuse to co-operate face being banned with pastors being offered bribes to conform.
The report said: “The government bans or arrests the house church pastors who refuse to accept bribes.
“The government compels religious organisations to introduce symbols and activities of the Chinese Communist Party to religious sites.”
The party has pressured churches to become part of the state-run Three-Self Patriotic Movement
The charity warns 2017 could be even worse for Christians.
In a statement, China Aid said: “The new version of the Regulations on Religious Affairs empowers the local government to use coercive measures to suppress civil religions. Bearing in mind what happened in 2016, we have good reasons to worry that the major religions in China, especially house churches and underground Catholic and Protestant churches, will suffer the most unprecedented suppression under the name of the “transforming into the Communist Party of China” since the Cultural Revolution.”
It comes as a woman was jailed of three years for holding a bible study group in western Xinjiang.