Christian Persecution

China abolishes the cross of Christ


China’s stock-market has plunged: its GDP has crashed, the yuan has been devalued and economic confidence is in free fall. Another boom-and-bust bubble has burst: Mammon threatens another tidal wave of devaluation and global contagion.

Contiguous with this, China’s churches are being demolished: Christian pastors are being detained, spires are being toppled and crosses are tumbling down. According to a BBC report, some 1,500 churches have now been stripped of the sign of the cross: it has become an offence to the Communist state, which must be systematically de-Christianised for the neutral development of human society. The New York Times has seen the directives:

The nine-page provincial policy statement says the government aims to regulate “excessive religious sites” and “overly popular” religious activities, but it specifies only one religion, Christianity, and one symbol, crosses.

“The priority is to remove crosses at religious activity sites on both sides of expressways, national highways and provincial highways,” the document says. “Over time and in batches, bring down the crosses from the rooftops to the facade of the buildings.”

Beijing says it’s all a misunderstanding: “I want to emphasise that the Chinese government earnestly protects the rights of Chinese citizens including safeguarding their freedom of religious beliefs,” said Hong Lei, a spokesman for China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. “With regard to what has happened in Zhejiang, there has been some misunderstanding. The demolitions took place because those sites were built against relevant regulations. It has nothing to do with religious beliefs.”

Curious, then, that it is only the churches and other Christian institutions which are being targeted. More curious still is that the cross of Christ is being singled out among all religious symbols. Of course, churches may be built without crosses: it is not an object of worship. But it is the symbol of salvation, and Christians ought to be free to display it within and upon their places of worship, without fear of harassment, monitoring or summary detention.

The cross of Christ liberates and redeems: its energy is a revelation of justifying righteousness. If you hide the proclamation of Christ’s death, you eradicate the need for His suffering and so relativise the resurrection. There ceases to be any eschatological dimension because there is no end in sight: history is censored; the truth concealed. Forgiveness may still be found, but you have seek it with more than all your heart and dig very deeply in the underground fellowship of the living.

According to China Aid, the persecution of Christians in China is soaring. Their 2014 report – The Year of Persecution and Endurance – makes truly alarming reading. As Christians there multiply (as they are doing), and as the Church there grows (as it is flourishing), they are increasingly perceived by the Communist Party of China to be a subversive and dangerous cult. Christianity corrupts, and corruption must be eradicated.

There can be no individual freedom of conscience for the seditious; nor the freedom to express belief for the subversive. Such people are extremists and must be monitored, lest they disseminate their ideological doctrine and propagate their poisonous creed. The state cannot be constrained in the defence of its legitimacy and the assertion of its authority. Only ‘approved religion’ can be sanctioned: the rest is cultic, intolerant and, in the final analysis, ‘extremist’.

  • Sybaseguru

    And tomorrows blog will replace “China” by “UK” and “Communist” by “Labour & Conservative”.

    • Dominic Stockford

      No, that was yesterday…

      • That’s definitely the direction of travel but don’t diminish the level of persecution our brothers & sisters in China (and across huge swathes of the world) are already suffering by turning the attention back on ourselves and our relatively minor troubles.

        • CliveM

          Well said.

          • dannybhoy


  • alternative_perspective

    Global trends…

    Strange how economic contraction, national descent and popular mental well being seem to decline as Christ is persecuted.

    Perhaps the people just aren’t free enough. Like the uncritical europhile, demanding more Europe in response to EU failings, liberal seculairsts are wont to demand more liberality, more secularism in response to failings by the same.

    Perhaps we will be perfectly free when the people are no longer free to worship Christ?

    Oh the beauty of self referentially defeating secular beliefs. How Orwell truly was a prophet of his age.

  • Johnny Rottenborough

    Very odd, given that, just a few years ago, a member of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences said:

    ‘One of the things we were asked to look into was what accounted for the success, in fact, the pre-eminence of the West all over the world. We studied everything we could from the historical, political, economic, and cultural perspective. At first, we thought it was because you had more powerful guns than we had. Then we thought it was because you had the best political system. Next we focused on your economic system. But in the past twenty years, we have realised that the heart of your culture is your religion: Christianity. That is why the West is so powerful. The Christian moral foundation of social and cultural life was what made possible the emergence of capitalism and then the successful transition to democratic politics. We don’t have any doubt about this.’

    The linked article continues: ‘Wenzhou, the Chinese city which is rated as the most entrepreneurial in the country, is also home to 1,400 churches.’ Wenzhou is in Zhejiang, the province mentioned by the Chinese spokesman.

    Christianity seems to be under attack the world over.

    • David

      Moreover I believe that Edmund Burke is very popular in academic circles, as they search for ways of stabilising their stressed society, it having experienced, suffered excessive change too quickly.
      They seem undecided don’t they? No doubt there are competing groups, with power swinging back and forth – think about the instability in England during and after the Reformation.

  • David

    China is a vast country and central and local governments do not always say and do the same thing. Confusion and corruption is commonplace.
    But the good news is that Christianity, in various forms, has experienced explosive growth in the country.
    The bad news are these regional outbreaks of persecution. Generally The State wants to sanction and control, to license, all places of religion.

    After the incredible turmoil and dislocation of population patterns, associated with their ruthless drive for economic growth, some in power grasped that Communism was not satisfying many peoples need for spiritual food, but only their material well-being. They recognised that they had created a vacuum, a spiritual deficit. Some hoped that their indigenous faiths, based on Confucius and Shinto, amongst others, would regrow, after having been previously suppressed. But instead of the indigenous faiths expanding up sprung Christianity, which they seemed to have mixed feelings about. Links with outside authorities, like the Pope, were particularly suspect to these centralist, nationalists. One factor in favour of Christianity’s growth is that all things western are seen as exciting, and represent improvement. I also understand that they are ruthlessly moving against Islam in their western areas.

    Because of the size of China and the patchiness of information coming out of it, this snippet of information is just that, a slice of the vast obscured reality of contemporary China. That’s my limited take on it anyway.

    • dannybhoy

      But the good news is that Christianity, in various forms, has experienced explosive growth in the country. The bad news are these regional outbreaks of persecution. Generally The State wants to sanction and control, to license, all places of religion.
      I have also heard that Christianity in China is flourishing, and given the Communist Chinese government’s need to control it is understandable that they will worry about freedom of expression. We might say that if China allowed unlimited social freedom the country would disintegrate into various ‘Statelets’ each competing for diminishing resources.
      I think we have to accept that some countries will never be democratic in the way we understand democracy.
      Did any of you watched that programme ‘Are Our Kids Tough Enough?’

      Five Chinese teachers did four weeks of teaching in Bohunt School in Hampshire.
      It was a disaster, and my wife and I whilst understanding the children’s bafflement at the Chinese approach to teaching were nevertheless appalled by the attitudes and behaviour of the children.
      You can watch it here..

      What is really revealing though is the teachers’ beliefs about their country, their patriotism and their work ethic. It shows that the need to fit in, to show gratitude to their families and the State by working hard and achieving is very much the motivation driving China onwards. Perhaps they saw little to recommend a free, ‘pink and fluffy’ liberal Christian society??

      • Jon Sorensen

        When China wants to sanction and control, to license, all places of religion it is perceived bad. When western countries have state control religions it is considered good.

        It seems when Christianity gets majority they want to legislate religion. Whey they are minority they don’t want it. Luke 6:42

        • CliveM

          “Want to legislate religion”?

          Certainly I know some ME countries do, but they aren’t Christian. You’ll need to be more explicit.

          • Jon Sorensen

            Governments decide which religions gets official religion status [tax exception etc] status

            While in Christians countries have state religions, blue laws, privileged positions in upper house, blasphemy laws, head of state is head of religion, tax breaks for religious institutions and clergy, … it is an endless list

          • CliveM

            Sorry that not legislating religion. There is no state religion that people have to believe. Lots of institutions, including Atheist ones get tax exemption. You say Clergy are exempt, where ? In the UK Clergy pay tax.

          • Jon Sorensen doesn’t have a clue. His pet hobby horse is that “the Church” has a privileged position in society by which it imposes it’s will on the people. It is therefore ruining his secular utopia where all people are free to live as they please. It’s classic “check your privilege” sort of BS of the regressive progressive, victim-mentality liberals.

          • DanJ0

            C’mon, there’s been an explosion of victim-mentality amongst Christians in the UK to rival that of many Muslims, as we have become a post-Christian society and the special status and privilege of Christianity is reduced.

          • Jon Sorensen

            In many western countries, including where I live, new religions have to register to get special tax status from government. Yes – the government decides if your religion is acceptable AND the head of the government is the head of a Christian Church. There is state religions in western world like it or not and that brings benefit to their followers.

            Your red herring “Lots of institutions, including Atheist ones get tax exemption” implies that atheist organisation get tax exemption. In most countries only charity organisations get tax exemption. Can you give an example where Atheist institutions get tax exemption?

            In my country Church run businesses like book stores also get income tax, property tax and council levy exemptions. Also here Clergy members get special tax breaks not available for others. In the US this is also common and it is
            in courts at the moment in some states. Also here Clergy children’s school costs get reimbursed unlike everyone else’s.

            And no. Atheist institutions or non-accepted religions don’t get any of those.

          • CliveM

            The National Secular Society in the UK.

          • Jon Sorensen

            “The National Secular Society works towards a society in which all citizens, regardless of religious belief, or lack of religious belief, can live together fairly and cohesively.”
            The National Secular Society seems to be for everyone and is not only for atheist.

            Can you also show where does it say that atheist organisation get tax exemptions?

            Please try again.

          • CliveM

            Don’t be naive.

            However just for information the Atheist and Humanist Society, charity number 1143103.

          • Jon Sorensen

            Please tell more about me being naive. I was regular at humanist meetup in my home town and there were couple Christian attending regularly. Looks like you have no idea.

            So Atheist and Humanist Society got their tax exemption status NOT by being atheist, BUT by being a charity. The difference is that Christian organisation does not need to be charity to get tax benefits. Please try again.

          • CliveM

            I don’t need to. Check as to why it got its Charity status and what its aims are. You complain atheist organisation don’t get tax exemptions, I have told you how they do. If that’s not rough or you don’t understand, hard luck.

            Naive? Sorry I thought you’d understand. I’ll leave you to work on it.check into that National Secular Societies aims and who runs it.

          • Jon Sorensen

            Here is the test:

            Christian charity = tax exemption
            Christian non-charity = tax exemption
            Atheist charity = tax exemption
            Atheist non-charity = no tax exemption

            Spot the odd one?

        • Anton

          I agree. The move from the Old Testament to the New is the move from law to grace, and is is a disgrace that some Christians wish to go backwards.

          • Jon Sorensen

            Yet Jesus said that not one jot or one tittle shall in any wise pass from the law…

          • Anton

            He was speaking to Jews about their law so they do not apply to gentile churches. And even for Jewish believes in Him there is some subtlety in meaning, which – as I’m not one – I don’t propose to go into.

          • Jon Sorensen

            Different law for Jews and Gentiles? Was Jesus relativist?

          • Anton

            The church is (or should be, as portrayed in the New Testament) a volunteer organisation, not a nation, and as such has no legal code.

          • Jon Sorensen

            You nicely avoided my question.

            And what do
            you mean by “no legal code”, surely “the church” have very strict rules
            to follow, which again their members want to impose to whole society.

          • Anton

            By “legal code” I mean law in the sense of a national legal code. Certainly the church has rules, but the point is that anybody who does not wish to keep them is (or should be, according to the new Testament) free to walk out. Whereas the law of the land involves penalties for violation.

          • Jon Sorensen

            So why are you not trying to get rid of blue laws it that is the right thing to do?

            I can’t just “walk out”. Christians blasphemy laws will follow me. If someone is openly atheist in southern states in the US there will be a severe social punishment, you can be sure of it. I’ve seen a lot of friendships disappearing when people find out your religious beliefs are not Christian.

            BTW, you are still avoiding my question

          • Anton

            In a democracy Christians have as much right to influence the law as anybody else, via the usual democratic mechanisms. Neither they nor you have the right of veto of every law. It is the church as a collective body getting into politics that I am against. For the record I regard free speech as a higher good than blasphemy laws. As for “social punishment”, it makes sense only to comment on individual cases.

            Please rephrase your question in a standalone way and I’ll do my best to answer it.

          • CliveM

            You conflate law with social convention. There is no blasphemy law in the US. There are also social circles in the UK that exclude the religious. That’s life, get over it.

          • Jon Sorensen

            The US has laws that atheist are not eligible to hold office, forcible or not.

            “There are also social circles in the UK that exclude the religious”, but in the US south the whole society exclude atheist. A big difference.

          • CliveM

            The whole of the South excludes atheists!

            No it doesn’t. A completely ridiculous, unsubstantiated statement.

            There is no public office barred to atheists in the US. It has a constitution that stops it.

            Yes Churches are allowed to hire Christians, how many atheist organisations hire Christians?

          • Jon Sorensen

            “Yes Churches are allowed to hire Christians, how many atheist organisations hire Christians?”
            All of them. Churches can discriminate, atheists can not.

            Well not the whole of the South, there are some atheists there that help teen atheists kicked out by their parents and atheists run out of town. For example Damon Fowler’s case was interesting.

          • CliveM

            There are a lot of Christians in addition who won’t exclude atheists from their social circle.

          • Royinsouthwest

            The apostles agreed that Gentiles did not need to follow Jewish dietary laws or, in the case of the men, to be circumcised.

          • Jon Sorensen

            Different law for Jews and Gentiles? Were apostles relativist?

          • David

            Good point – the distinction between “shame” based cultures to “faith” and “virtue” based ones.

        • dannybhoy

          I think you are referring to the centuries when the Church was the dominant and domineering force in Europe. Because Europe was regarded as Christian, that was the status quo right up until the age of enlightenment.
          Things have changed and the changes are accelerating. We now live in a post Christian, secular Europe.
          But it doesn’t really matter.
          The Church has its role to play in this world whatever her enemies throw at her.

          • Jon Sorensen

            It is still the reality, but you are right that Christians have now less
            influence. But look what happened in Greece when Zeus followers wanted
            equal religious status as Christians. Look what kind of problems
            Scientologists have getting to be recognised as a religion with same
            status as Christians. Privileged people don’t see the problems others

          • dannybhoy

            (For those who like me thought perhaps Jon was referring to Dr Seuss of ‘Green eggs and ham’ fame… )

            But look what happened in Greece when Zeus followers wanted equal religious status as Christians. Look what kind of problems Scientologists have getting to be recognised as a religion with same status as Christians.

            That’s because no one knows how ‘Zeusists’ actually worshipped their deity, and also that rational thought subsequently disproved Greek theology, and Christianity offered a world view and ethical morality that made more sense of the natural world and man’s place in it.

            Scientology is a bunch of garbage anyway, and was invented/dreamed up/cooked up by Ron L Hubbard, who wrote sci-fi novels.
            What you seem to be describing is your support for people’s right to be irrational, not religious.

          • Jon Sorensen

            This is the problem minority and new religions face. Christians claim that “no one knows how ‘Zeusists’ actually worshipped” as if that would matter. Christians claim that “Scientology is a bunch of garbage” as if they are the judge of someone elses religious beliefs. Christians in the Government think like that when they consider granting tax exemptions. That’s why Christians are privileged.

          • dannybhoy

            Christians claim that “Scientology is a bunch of garbage” as if they are the judge of someone else’s religious beliefs.

            In case you haven’t noticed people judge each other all the time, and always have. That’s how the world progressed from barbarism to civilisation.
            We try to reconcile what we believe with what we can investigate and verify through our senses, and we build a hypothesis on the nature of being from what we discover.

            If you wish to champion the cause of loonyism be my guest.

          • Jon Sorensen

            So what if “people judge each other all the time”. It is irrelevant to this discussion.

            Government should not be the judge whose religion is right/myth/garbage/deserving special treatment/deserving our tax dollars.

            If government judges, see what happens in China

          • CliveM

            They don’t judge a religion, they judge whether it’s authentic ie sincerely belief and not simply a fraudulent scam to enable some people to get sincerely rich. Or uses force and threat to control its members.

            Hence the problem with Scientology.

          • Jon Sorensen

            “they judge whether it’s authentic”
            How do they judge which Christian denomination is authentic?

            Oh? They don’t judge Christians! So those Christians only judge non-Christians? Ok

            “Or uses force and threat to control its members”
            Are you talking about inquisition?

          • CliveM

            I don’t know if you are being deliberately dense, but it is quite clear what I am saying.

            It’s not Christians or Christian bodies that determine the tax status but secular governmental bodies.

          • Jon Sorensen

            So why secular governmental bodies have given Christian a special status (law, upper house ect). Could it be that secular governmental is full of Christians?

          • CliveM


          • CliveM

            It’s not its loonyism that’s the problem it’s the methods by which it recruits and controls it’s members and uses and raises funds.

          • dannybhoy

            I wasn’t referring specifically to Scientology Clive, rather this new flight from accepted rationality into ‘faith is whatever you want it to be’. That is what is worrying about Jon’s posts. He seems to be saying that we should be free to believe whatever we want to believe. Like Violet Elizabeth Bott wanting her own way and scweamin’ and scweamin ‘ until she got it…

          • CliveM

            Thanks DB!

            I agree with your general point. I was simply pointing out to our friend that the state isn’t deciding which faiths are right, simply if they are fraudulent.

          • dannybhoy

            Your mission Clive, – should you choose to accept it – is to see if you can find a solution to Jon’s righteous crusade for religious equality.

            Good luck with that my friend…

          • CliveM

            Frankly I wouldn’t want his interpretation of religious equality to succeed! So I’m not helping him out.

          • Jon Sorensen

            dannybhoy, interesting note from you link:

            “The Christians hated pagans so much that from the fourth century to the
            ninth century they destroyed their temples and libraries, killed their
            priests, closed their philosophical schools and, in one case, set up a
            death camp. It was genocide but priests don’t want to talk about that

          • Pubcrawler

            That is the opinion of one of these neo-pagans. Only a gullible moron would take it at face value.

          • dannybhoy


          • Jon Sorensen

            Pubcrawler said “That is an assertion by one of these neo-pagans”

            That’s right. You can’t trust non-Christians. Surely the Edict of Thessalonica in 380 AD gave everyone freedom of religion. Surely in 393 Theodosius I issued a comprehensive law to protect non-Christian religious customs and continued Olympic games. Christians then allowed Haruspex, protected Jupiter/Zeus/Demeter/Dionysus temples in Greece and allowed pagan priest continue to run temples. And the inquisition was an ecumenical summer camp.

          • Pubcrawler

            Wrong temple in the photo at the head of that article. Symptomatic of the lack of fact-checking in the rest of it.

            Good old Grauniad…

      • David

        I agree with most of that.
        One of the follies of the west is the naive belief that everyone should, and will become democratic, in “our” sense of the word. It is a product of western, Christian societies. It only works where there is a reasonable consensus about how we should live. The founders of the US understood that, but the political leaders of the west don’t.
        The Chinese teachers experiment proved again, that our contemporary educational methods, reflecting left-liberal attitudes, don’t work, especially in a globalised market place.

        • dannybhoy

          When I were a kid our teachers – most of whom had served in the armed forces pre and during ww2, had a good understanding of other countries. Probably because whether through trade or missionary links, they actually lived in and amongst the people.
          And yes I know, there was abuse and excess and a sense of superiority. But there was also genuine respect and affection for the people themselves. My own dear departed cousin was brought up by a Chinese ‘nanny’ ’til he was five.
          Anyway, the point being that we British seem to have thrown out all that colloquial knowledge and common sense with the colonial/imperial bathwater.
          I was brought up to respect other people’s cultures and religions even if I don’t agree with them. The children in that BBC2 Bohunt experiment illustrated how far we have fallen in terms of academic attainment and basic courtesy.

          • David

            Totally agree again.
            Two of my Grammar School teachers had ME wartime experience including working in H.Kong etc. Our senior Geography Professor at University was an expert on the ME generally, and deserts specifically, as well as being an ex-Major of the Long Range Desert Group. As well as that there were people knocking about in my early life who knew India and other exotic places. So there was a realistic feel for those places. Nowadays only the few who do overseas consultancy or import/export are aware, and often they are silenced by our PC laws.

    • Malcolm Smith

      Recently I read The Rise of Christianity in which Rodney Stark claimed that the growth of Christianity in the Roman Empire was consistent with a growth of 40% every ten years. I therefore apply the same exercise to modern China, using the most conservative and realistic figures I could find. The results were staggering. Whichever why you look at it, since the death of Mao, Christianity has been doubling in China every 5½. Make no mistake, right under our noses, in the largest country in the world, there is being played out one of the greatest mass religious movements in history.

      • David

        Well done for doing the “math”- very interesting.

        Yes I never finish marvelling at the almost total silence from the media about this, anxious as they are to destroy Christianity in the west. The Chinese see our Christian faith as the prime reason for the pre-eminence of the west, and western methods.

        The other amazing thing is how, as we nationally eschew conservatism, Chinese academics become very interested in Edmund Burke, as setting out a path of social stability and gradual change.

        We are discarding our strengths as they welcome them.

  • Mike Stallard

    Has anyone else read “the Heavenly Man” by Paul Hathaway?
    I am trying to read Mencius at the moment. The more I go into Chinese philosophy (also banned, by the way) the more staggered I am by its fumbling towards monotheist and, yes, Christian, beliefs.
    I think the Chinese crisis at the moment is rather like the start of the First World War which came at a time when the British government was facing a very serious Irish Crisis.

  • Inspector General

    We need some context here. Removing crosses off churches is nothing, absolutely nothing compared to what went on in and after 1966 during the ghastly Cultural Revolution, as they called it. A damn nasty business it was too if any reader here would like to research it. Be warned though, outbreaks of cannibalism happened as a result of what can only be described as the devilish frenzy whipped up. Your Inspector studied the thing in the mid 1970s when a schoolboy. He still recalls photographs of grey flannel clad victims standing with head bowed low as their accusers shrilled at them.

    Could it happen again? Not a chance. The Chinese of today are under no illusion about communism, uncle Mao, or Marx.

    • CliveM

      Yes, I remember watching a program on TV suggesting that China was an example of good Communism.

      Then it was Cuba,

      Then Nicaragua


      • dannybhoy

        The Peoples Republic of Swanton Morley….

        • Ivan M

          Then Ethiopia, then Cambodia…

    • Ivan M

      The Red Guard would make the children of kulaks, counter-revolutionaries and running dogs of capitalism beat up their own parents with sticks after ritual denunciations. After that the young take leave of whatever sanity they had.

  • IanCad

    Let’s hope that this is just a hiccup as the land of Sinim rediscovers Christianity.
    The persecuted churches of Arabia – they have trouble – can’t see China going down that road.

    • Ivan M

      The order apparently went out from their new supremo Xi. He would prefer that the Chinese continue to pay at least lip service to Mao if not Marx. The Party has a crisis of legitimacy there.

  • michaelkx

    his Grace said “There can be no individual freedom of conscience for the seditious; nor the freedom to express belief for the subversive. Such people are extremists and must be monitored, lest they disseminate their ideological doctrine and propagate their poisonous creed. The state cannot be constrained in the defence of its legitimacy and the assertion of its authority” how long be for something like that is said about this country??

  • len

    Communism has failed as a means of producing’ a fair and just society.’ Capitalism has failed to produce a fair and just society although it has tried many adjustments to bring about fairness and equality it is still failing.The problem lies not entirely in the systems of Government but the nature or rather the human nature of those within these systems.
    So even if we had’ the perfect system’ it would fail because of the human factor.

    God of course has known this all along and He has given us the perfect solution (the only solution) to the problems afflicting humanity which is the new birth the new nature only obtained through Jesus Christ.Only then can we have a fair and just society with Christ at the Head.

    The Cross of Jesus Christ is the doorway into redemption and as such threatens every dark spiritual force which would keep mankind in spiritual darkness and bondage to sin and death. The Cross of Jesus Christ is a constant reminder to the demonic forces of the defeat they suffered at Calvary and the subsequent release of all those who placed their faith in Jesus Christ.

    Such is the Power of the Cross of Jesus Christ.

  • len

    The Cross of Jesus Christ stands as a means of salvation for some and an offence to others.
    If Satan had realised the implications of the Cross he would have levelled every tree in the Holy Land so that the crucifixion of Jesus Christ would have been impossible.
    The Chinese governing bodies are in fear of the Cross because it is an escape from the oppressive forces of Communism and a doorway into liberty that Christ has purchased for all those who follow is the love of Christ which draws men to him away from the loveless ‘isms that men have created…..It is the Cross that sets the captives free…..