The Chinese government has ordered local town officials to keep tabs on the number of Christians in their locality.
In its latest show of oppression towards the faith community, the government has ordered officials to ensure that Jesus-followers are watched closely and their behavior monitored.
“The government is taking the matter of religion very seriously now. Every day, they ask us how many people in our village believe in God,” one local official from Henan province told Chinese persecution watchdog, Bitter Winter.
“If we say there aren’t any believers, they claim that we’re concealing what we know and failing to report it. If it is determined that we didn’t report the situation truthfully, we will be punished.”
Far from a monthly report on the activities of believers, town administrators are tasked with reporting back to central government twice daily. “It’s like our lives are being threatened,” the official noted. “After reporting someone, we have to restrict their movements and report their situation every day.”
Back in April, grassroots-level officials located in the eastern province of Shandong were forced to sign a one-year responsibility statement to relentlessly suppress religion.
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“The officials sign on to make sure that “no neglected areas and spots” are left behind in discovering and remediating non-licensed Buddhist, Taoist, and Christian venues within the jurisdiction.
For religious venues that have been shut down, close attention must be paid to their developments to “attain a timely grasp of the dynamics of key relevant personnel, and prevent them from rebounding and reviving.” As for newly established religious venues, they must be investigated and dealt with promptly and “prevented from evolving and gaining momentum.””
Earlier this month, a pastor from the same province committed suicide after trying to work with the government on issues facing the church in China.
Reverend Song Yongsheng threw himself off the rooftop after saying it was “a failure” trying to work with the communist regime.
According to China Aid, Song was the chairman of Shangqiu’s Three-Self Patriotic Movement (TSPM) and the president of the city’s China Christian Council (CCC) — the official government organizations that regulate the state-approved collective of churches.
In his suicide note, Pastor Song said he tried to convince the Chinese authorities to open up a way for the every church movement to in order to improve the wellbeing of churches, unregistered or not, and to bridge the divide between the two. This goal, he said, became impossible to achieve, with officials remaining committed to criminalizing Christians who refused to bow down to the government.
The constant control and oppression and lack of cooperation showed by the Communist regime had left him “exhausted,” Song wrote.