The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) released on April 29, 2019 its annual report on religious freedom worldwide. The report found that China is the worst country to belong to a religious minority, especially Christianity, reports Radio Free Europe.
The USCIRF recommended 16 countries to be designated as “countries of particular concern” (CPC)—Burma, China, Eritrea, Iran, North Korea, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Central African Republic (CAR), Nigeria, Russia, Syria, Uzbekistan, and Vietnam.
For Christians in the United States, we need to continue to pray, care, and show concern for what’s happening to brothers and sisters in China. This is a very severe problem. —Dr. David Curry, CEO of Open Doors USA
The report explained that the 16 countries are also classified as Tier 1 countries or “whose government engages in or tolerates particularly severe religious freedom violations, meaning those that are systematic, ongoing, and egregious.”
China has been on the commission’s watch list since 1999 due to its continuous persecution against religious minorities. The communist government has been implementing several measures to “sinicize” Christianity. President Xi Jinping allows the practice of religion as long as it doesn’t conflict with the government’s agenda.
A top official recently vowed to get rid of Christianity for good, claiming that Western countries use the religion to sway citizens against the Communist Party.
Amid a crackdown on Christianity, authorities have destroyed church buildings and other religious structures. Churches and other religious activities are being monitored by police officials and cameras.
In an interview with Mission Network News, Dr. David Curry of Open Doors USA, said, “This technical sophistication allows them to use facial recognition, keep master lists of people who are going to church, who call themselves Christians, and then begin to give social scoring to people who are considered less than ideal citizens if they’re committed followers of Jesus. You can see where that’s headed, in a worst-case scenario.”
Money is also being used to entice Chinese citizens to report Christians to the government and adhere to the state-approved religion. People living in poor communities are usually the first ones to be offered financial help in exchange for information on underground Christians.
Curry appealed to his fellow men, “For Christians in the United States, we need to continue to pray, care, and show concern for what’s happening to brothers and sisters in China. This is a very severe problem. And there are [a] great many Christians whose faith, the practice of their faith, the freedom of that is at risk.”