The Chinese government has long been known to be hostile to Christianity and other religions. Now, the dictatorship is going after Christian Chinese fishermen.
Beijing’s particular disdain for Christianity has not subsided, even after the U.S. government has repeatedly opened up trade opportunities with the communist country using the reasoning that American interests will influence the brutal, authoritarian Sino government and blunt its anti-Western, anti-God agenda.
Assumed Western impact on the communist regime has not played out the way trade advocates predicted.
Consider how Chinese strongman Xi Jinping and previous leaders have treated religiously observant citizens whose beliefs threaten the ideology of the regime — from Uyghur Muslims to the Christian faithful.
The government’s treatment of Christians has been going on for years. A few recent examples:
- In the summer of 2019, Xi and his local religion monitors shut downfaith venues based on the idea that the “number of believes cannot be allowed to continue growing.”
- Reports surfaced in April that Chinese officials are detainingChristians in windowless “transformation” facilities and using “brainwashing” to try to get them to renounce their faith.
- In late 2018, the government cracked down on unregistered religious organizations and committed raids on numerous churches.
- Three years ago, China banned online sales of the Bible while continuing to allow outlets like Amazon to sell Muslim, Taoist, and Buddhist texts.
- Last summer, the government ordered Christians to replace crosses and images of Jesus Christ with portraits of communist leaders.
- In May, the Communist Party instituted a nationwide crackdown on Christianity and shut down Christian-based apps.
Now there’s a new attack on Chinese Christians underway, China Aid, an organization that exposes Christian persecution in China, reported over the weekend: Authorities are removing crosses and erasing Christian messaging from fishermen’s boats.
According to China Aid, officials forcibly removed crosses and erased “Emmanuel” slogans from fishing boats late last week. Authorities reportedly told the targeted fishermen that the government would reject their fishing permits and prevent them from buying gasoline and driving their boats if they did not acquiesce.
The attack on the fishermen’s personal property was reportedly a violation of their constitutional freedoms, the outlet said.
One fisherman told China Aid:
The government is completely unreasonable. Fishing boats are our personal property. We have the right to put crosses on our boats. Religious freedom is written in the Constitution. However, it is just empty talk. The government never enforces the Constitution.
When the victims asked the Communist Party officials to show legal documents allowing the forced removal of the religious symbols, they could provide none, the outlet reported. But it did not stop them.
A Christian fisherman pointed out that the government was being selective in its religious outrage, asking, “Why do they only removed crosses, but not signs and slogans from other religions? Why do crosses bother them?”