China deporting Christians

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President Xi Jinping tightened control over religious activities have resulted in deportation of over hundred South Korean Christian missionaries

The Chinese government’s activities through the years have shown broadened crackdowns not only on Chinese Christians, but South Korean missionaries operating in the communist country as well.

These missionaries are allegedly providing aid to North Korean defectors by helping them cross the Yalu River which is between China and North Korea, apart from preaching the gospel. Authorities in three provinces – Jilin, Liaoning and Heilongjiang – have reportedly deported hundreds of South Korean Christian missionaries out of about a thousand who actively engage in preaching and evangelizing.

According to the country’s laws, it is officially illegal for foreigners to proselytize. But the local authorities have, more often than not, turned a blind eye to the activities of South Korean missionaries, given their many free humanitarian services. Some even pay local officials heavy bribes, so they can avoid persecution and continue their evangelical work.

But with President Xi Jinping’s aim to do away with foreign influences in the country and nationalize Christian churches, the Chinese government has recently gone all in to make sure this goal is achieved.

Every South Korean church in the province of Jilin has even been closed as part of China’s effort to “eradicate extremism.” These actions are seen by many as preventive measures taken by the government, before it brings into effect new and strict regulations on religious affairs on February 1, 2018. Under these new rules, people who still engage in unauthorized religious activities can face arrest and imprisonment, and fined up to $45,200.

The new regulations apply not only to Christians, but to followers of all religions in the country. They will give permission to lower-level authorities to take care of any incident of unapproved religious affairs – a move which puts China’s religious groups under tighter control and scrutiny.

Bob Fu, founder and president of China Aid, an organization that provides aid to Chinese Christians who are under persecution believes that higher-level government authorities are increasingly worried about how fast Christianity is spreading in the country, and are concerned about the social effects of this rapid growth and public presence. “It is a political fear for the Communist Party, as the number of Christians in the country far outnumber the members of the Party,” Fu said. 

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