CHINA - Earn $1500 to Identify ‘Illegal Religious Activity’

Arno Froese

Guangzhou has become the first major city in China to offer financial rewards to people who report “illegal religious activities,” as authorities continue to crack down on underground gatherings.

An announcement was made recently by the southern city’s ethnic and religious affairs department, which said that members of the public could earn up to 10,000 yuan (US$1,500) for providing tip-offs about illicit groups.

The move comes amid a nationwide drive to sinicize foreign religious traditions, and after the country’s religious affairs regulation was amended in February last year to give grass-roots officials more power to act against religious practitioners and impose tougher penalties on worshippers.

Much of the crackdown has been directed at unregistered Protestant churches, which despite the restrictions have been flourishing in Chinese cities. But the religious controls have also seen the demolition of Catholic churches and convents, Buddhist statues, temples and mosques on the grounds they had not been approved.

The measures aim to identify religious activities that support extremism, endanger national security and disturb the public order, including “unsanctioned religious venues, groups, institutions, activities, donation, training and conferences,” the website statement said.

Ying Fuk-tsang, director of the Divinity School of Chung Chi College at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, said the mobilization of grass-roots officials and community groups for social control purposes, including cracking down on religious activities, was increasingly common.

“This will compress the survival space of house churches,” he said. “Not only will they have to deal with the official crackdown but now also the threat from their neighbors.”, 29 March 2019

Arno's commentary

The key phrase is “illegal religious activities.” Under that umbrella, there is increased difficulty for those who operate or are members of unregistered churches. Based on these reports, the communist Chinese government seems poised to effectively suffocate religion. That, however, is not the case, because from various other sources, we gather that the Church, for example, is growing leaps and bounds. Why? There is just one simple answer: Jesus said, “I will build my church,” and He will do so until the Church—globally—is completed. At that moment, she will be raptured into the presence of the Lord, to be with Him forevermore.

Arno Froese is the executive director of Midnight Call Ministries and editor-in-chief of the acclaimed prophetic magazines Midnight Call and News From Israel. He has authored a number of well-received books, and has sponsored many prophecy conferences in the U.S., Canada, and Israel. His extensive travels have contributed to his keen insight into Bible prophecy, as he sees it from an international perspective.

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