Snitches rewarded in China for exposing Christians
Tuesday, April 2, 2019
Steve Jordahl (OneNewsNow.com)
China continues its brutal crackdown on underground churches – even going as far as putting a bounty on the heads of church leaders.
The Guangzhou Department of Ethnic and Religious Affairs is offering about 10,000 yuan (approx. $1,500 U.S.) to anyone who has verified information about and can help with hunting down leaders of illegal house churches. That's about two months' salary for the average Chinese citizen. Lesser rewards are being offered for information about where believers meet and about behavior encouraging "religious extremism."
Brynne Lawrence of ChinaAid says it's the latest in the long-running persecution of Chinese Christians and other religious minorities by the oppressive Chinese government.
"The government's really trying to crack down on religion because it views religion as an attempt by foreign countries to infiltrate and undermine its power," she explains.
China has fought against religious minorities of every stripe since the cultural revolution of the 1960s but has picked up speed under President Xi Jinping, who is going after Muslims and Christians with a renewed zeal. Lawrence says leaders and church members simply disappear.
"The people who have connections to foreign religious people, they're viewed with a lot more suspicion," she shares. "Some of them might be taken in for questioning, some of them might be arrested."
She says it's especially frustrating because, left alone, Chinese Christians would be a boon to the crowded country. "Christianity and religion can really foster good citizenship," she notes. "It can bring a sense of morals to a country and people who do good deeds just out of their faith."
U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for Religious Freedom Sam Brownback says the Chinese government has rebuffed efforts to fold religious freedom into trade or other negotiations.
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