China’s Communist Party reportedly demolishes churches and repurposes places of worship, turning them into entertainment venues, factories, or “cultural centers” promoting President Xi Jinping’s socialist values to ensure Christians are unable to meet.
Bitter Winter, a publication that monitors religious liberty violations in China, reports that in April, the Guangxin district government in Shangrao city shut down an old local church venue for “organizing illegal gathering” and refusing to join the Three-Self Church.
The next month, it was converted into a “Civilization Practice Station for a New Era,” a nationwide project launched by the CCP in July 2018 to encourage people of faith to abandon religions and follow the Party.
“Party propaganda posters were posted everywhere in the venue, and table-tennis tables were brought inside,” a church member told Bitter Winter, adding that the church congregation is now forced to gather in homes of believers.
The church was just one of many shuttered by the CCP in recent months.
According to Bitter Winter, last year, more than 70 Protestant venues — including state-approved Three-Self churches — were shut down in Jiangsu Province’s prefecture-level cities of Lianyungang and Suqian.
In August, at a meeting of Three-Self Church directors in Bailu, a town in Lianyungang’s Guannan county, town officials explained that empty churches must be rented or sold.
One of the churches, which had been unused since its closure in June last year, was rented out in August, while another was sold the same month. Another church, Chenzhuang Church was sold for a mere 20,000 RMB (about $ 3,000.), Christian Post Reported.
“The government is eradicating churches,” the church director said.
China is ranked number 23 on Pesercution Watchdog, Open Door 2020 list of top 50 countries where it is most deadly to be a christian.