China ordered local officials to closely monitor and keep a daily tally of Christians living in their towns.
The Asian country has been actively cracking down on religion and in its latest attempt, the communist government ordered town officials to surveil and keep a daily count of Christians in their locality, reports Premier.
Everyone wants to protect themselves. They [the government] want to make someone accountable for this. —Father Francis from Hebei region
A strict order was given to officials to report the number of Christian residents twice a day. They face severe consequences if they fail to give the accurate population of believers.
An official noted how the communist party has intensified its efforts in curbing Christianity. “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,” he revealed.
Another town official disclosed that, “It’s like our lives are being threatened. After reporting someone, we have to restrict their movements and report their situation every day.”
With the level of scrutiny Chinese Christians are facing, many chose to keep what’s happening to them away from the limelight.
In Henan province last year, and then recently in its neighboring region Hebei, authorities have threatened church leaders of destroying crosses and demolishing churches if the latter reveals what is happening to Christian communities, reports UCA News.
Father Francis from Hebei admitted that many Christians and priests wanted to keep silent on the persecution they endure. He said many churches in the province are set to be demolished to be used for other purposes.
“Once relevant photos are released, even though the specific location is not identified, you know that the authorities will investigate and find out the source of the news. This is an insidious and cunning deed,” the cleric said.
Father Francis also shared the story of a church leader whose passport was confiscated and banned from travelling abroad for refusing to cooperate with government officials.
“Everyone wants to protect themselves. They [the government] want to make someone accountable for this. Even if it is just for show, they will spend a long time seeking revenge,” said the priest.