The Chinese Communist Party’s effort to rewrite the Holy Bible and ‘sinicize’ Christianity severely undermines the religious freedom of China’s estimated 100 million Christians and poses a threat to global stability.
China is home to an estimated 100 million Christians, a faith community that has survived persecution and attempts at extermination under various regimes, only to face a new threat. Under President Xi Jinping, the current government is attempting to ‘sinicize’ Christianity – a process aimed at making the religion more compatible with the doctrines of the Party. In other words, they are trying to change the core beliefs of the faith to better fit a political agenda.
This ‘sinicization’ has involved audacious acts like rewriting portions of the Bible. For instance, in the revised Gospel of John, the CCP has altered a story of forgiveness and mercy into a tale of punishment. This blatant manipulation serves the CCP’s goal of subordinating religion to the party’s principles, effectively putting the Party’s wishes over God’s word. The implications of this are profound and chilling.
Religious freedom, a right promised by the Chinese constitution, is trampled upon under the CCP’s rule. This stark contrast to internationally recognized human rights norms, coupled with China’s influence, poses a significant risk of other nations dismissing these norms, creating a potentially unstable global situation.
Christians who refuse to conform will face dire repercussions. Detentions, surveillance, and restrictions on church services are becoming more common. Unsanctioned gatherings face raids, and leaders of these groups often face lengthy prison sentences.
Despite these circumstances, Christianity persists in China. Faith, as history has shown us, often thrives under persecution. Stories of underground churches, brave clergy, and steadfast believers are numerous, reminiscent of the resilience of the early Church martyrs. It bears witness to our triumph in Christ, asserting that the Church will ultimately prevail against persecution.
However, the CCP’s campaign against Christianity should be a blaring alarm to Christians everywhere. If China’s actions go unchecked, it will set a dangerous precedent with global implications. Countries like North Korea and Iran or regions such as the Middle East (where extremism has killed and displaced hundreds of thousands of Christians) will feel emboldened to intensify their oppressive tactics, exacerbating the threat to the global Christian community. At a time when Christian Persecution is at its highest point in 30 years, this serves as an inflection point that requires an urgent response.
Furthermore, given that freedom of religion is a fundamental human right enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other international treaties, if China’s ‘sinicization’ approach is replicated elsewhere, it threatens to undermine this global consensus, challenging the international community’s ability to protect this right effectively.
Infringement on religious freedom can trigger social unrest and conflict as communities react against religious oppression. This can create a domino effect, potentially destabilizing regions and further complicating international relations. Countries engaged in conflict due to religious oppression may also breed radicalism and extremism, creating security risks that extend beyond their borders.
The international community, therefore, has a vested interest in standing against the CCP’s actions. It is a matter of defending a universally agreed upon human right, maintaining global stability, and preventing a possible domino effect of religious oppression. ‘Speaking up for those who cannot speak for themselves,’ as urged by Proverbs 31:8, is more than a moral directive – it’s a practical necessity for preserving a tolerant, peaceful world order.