The specialized site Bitter Winter disclosed how officials of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) offer monetary rewards for citizens to tell on “illegal” churches.
According to the magazine on religious freedom and human rights in China, the Ethnic and Religious Affairs Agency in Gushi County, central Henan Province, issued a notice in August encouraging people to collect photos, videos, audio recordings, and other materials and to report “illegal religious activity venues.”
The notice offered a 500 yuan (about $70) for each piece of information or material submitted.
According to the document, all places of worship that do not have registration certificates and are not approved by religious affairs authorities are considered “illegal places of religious activity.”
Almost immediately after the campaign launch, the landlady of a house church refused to rent her property to the church’s congregation.
“Encouraged by the government propaganda, the landlord drove us away, refusing to rent us her property,” said one church member quoted Bitter Winter.
“She explained that she didn’t want to suffer consequences if our venue was discovered,” added the Christian, saying that the CCP “will not stop until it eliminates all religious beliefs.”
Since the CCP took power by force in China in 1949, religions and beliefs, have been one of its main targets of persecution. To keep believers under control, it formed “alternative” organizations that are under its authority.
As far as Christianity is concerned, in 1954, communist authorities formed the so-called United Protestant Church (also called the Three-Self). Unlike what happens in free societies, it is the CCP that appoints Christian leaders and pastors.
That is why many Chinese Christians refuse to go to such places and do congregate in Protestant churches called “house churches.” However, that term—as described by Bitter Winter—is incorrect since these churches can be composed of millions of members.
According to the specialized site, most Chinese Protestants belong to these house churches.
Besides Christianity, other religious groups and beliefs are brutally persecuted in China.
On Sept. 9, more than 300 human rights NGOs accused the CCP of multiple human rights violations and urged international bodies to do something about it.
These calls come at a time when criticism of the CCP has escalated, particularly over the situation in Hong Kong, the Uighurs in the Xinjiang region, and the persecution of Falun Dafa (also known as Falun Gong) practitioners.
Indeed, leading British human rights lawyer, Sir Geoffrey Nice QC recently called for the formation of an independent court in London to investigate whether the CCP abuses against Uighur Muslims constitute genocide or crimes against humanity.
Nice, who previously led the prosecution of former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic at the International Criminal Court, presided over the Independent Court on the Forcible Removal of Organs of Conscience in China, known as the China Court. The court determined “beyond doubt” that the state-authorized forcible removal of organs for profit has been taking place in China for years and “on a significant scale.”
The tribunal judgement confirmed that the tenebrous market of human organs and tissue is a state-sanctioned project in China. The tribunal concluded, “Thousands of innocent people have been killed to order having their bodies—the physical integrity of their beings—cut open while still alive for their kidneys, livers, hearts, lungs, cornea, and skin to be removed and turned into commodities for sale.”