The China Communist Party has started demolishing churches and changing places of worship into places of fun and entertainment, factories, and cultural centers. The are exploiting this method to promote President Xi Jinping’s socialist values to keep Christians from meeting .
According to Bitter Winter’s report 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. Bitter Winter is a publication that monitors religious liberty violations in China.
The old local church was the next month 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.
Obviously, That church was just one of many re-purposed 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.)
The CCP has also continually pressured church leaders to infuse their sermons with political ideology. Additionally, censors have begun removing the words “Christ” and “Jesus” from some publications, including on Chinese social media networks.
These activities are part of a larger strategy on the part of the CCP to shut down any kind of organizing outside of the party, according to persecution watchdog Open Doors USA, which ranks China 23rd on its list of 50 countries where it is most difficult to be a Christian. According to estimates, there are more than 60 million Christians in China.