A Church in China. (Kevin Frayer/Getty Images)

After Islam, China Begins Crack Down On Christianity

China is going after Christianity by raiding churches and curbing religious freedom in a bid to ‘sinicize’ the country, The Times Of India has reported. Xi Jinping is touted to be the strongest leader since Mao Zedong, has been in news for his attempt to reign in Uighur Muslims.

"We must resolutely guard against overseas infiltrations via religious means”, Xi Jinping had told a religious gathering in the past. During the Cultural Revolution, Christians had been one of the key targets of the then Chinese leader Mao Zedong. The Chinese President has been called a ‘closet Maoist’ by Willy Lam a Chinese expert.

China had recently announced a five year plan to ‘sinicize’ Christianity along with new rules on religious affairs. Over the past few months thousands of ‘house churches’ have been shut down by authorities according to the report. Authorities have also seized Bibles and e-commerce sites in China have pulled out the book from their sites. Christians in China have reportedly been holding their masses in secret amid the crackdown.

As part of the crackdown, Chinese authorities are raiding churches and demanding that the practitioners and the churches be registered with the government. The report also cites the case of a township where Christians were encouraged by the authorities to replace paintings of Jesus with portraits of Xi Jinping.

The epicentre of China’s attack on Christianity has been its Christian heartland of Henan province. Several pastors have fled the country to the United States because of its religious policy.

Out of the 200 million believers in China 67 million are reportedly Christians. This has led to the crackdown on Christianity which is seen as being aligned with Western ideals.

Also Read: China Vs The Church: First Round Goes To Xi As He Embarks On A Mission To Sinicise Christianity