The Chinese Communist Party recently enacted a nationwide crackdown on Christianity in the past week, according to multiple media reports. China also reportedly shut down Christian-based apps in what appears to be the persecution of Christians in the authoritarian nation.
International Christian Concern, a United States-based non-partisan Christian organization that attempts to "bandage the wounds of persecuted Christians and to build the Church in the toughest parts of the world," reported that there was a major crackdown on Christianity in China that started on Saturday. The report stated, "Bible Apps have been removed from App Store in China, while Bibles in hard copy are not available for sale online," and "those who want to download Bible Apps have to use VPN to circumvent the Firewall."
The religious persecution watchdog said, "Bible Apps and Christian WeChat public accounts have been removed."
The report referenced a post on Twitter by Father Francis Liu from the Chinese Christian Fellowship of Righteousness, which stated that "some decent Christian WeChat accounts are no longer available online."
"A few snapshots of Christian accounts' landing page such as 'Gospel League' and 'Life Quarterly' no longer show any content," the ICC report added. "Instead, a message reads "[We] received report that [this account] violates the 'Internet User Public Account Information Services Management Provisions' and its account has been blocked and suspended."
Pastor Bob Fu, founder and president of China Aid that provides legal aid to Christians in China, wrote on Twitter, "On Wednesday official WeChat public accounts aimed at providing resources on Bible &guides on edifying the church to Chinese Christians were suddenly suspended. #CCP suspends Old Gospel &The GospelCoalition. Both have a large number of readers within China's pastoral network."
Three-self churches, Chinese government-sanctioned religious organizations, are "increasingly selling books that promote President Xi Jinping's thoughts or the Chinese Communist Party's (CCP) ideology," according to the ICC report, adding, "Even their WeChat accounts are turning into propaganda channels for CCP."
The Christian Post reported that the communist authorities implemented restrictions on religion on May 1, "Catholic bishops must be approved and ordained by the state-sanctioned Chinese Catholic Bishops' Conference." The new regulations purportedly run in contrary to a deal that China and the Vatican made in 2018 regarding the appointment of Catholic bishops in the communist country, according to the Union of Catholic Asian News.
Religious freedoms in China are severely restricted. The Chinese Communist Party has been chastised for its treatment of Uighur Muslims. There could be as many as 3 million Uighur Muslims detained in secret re-education camps in the Xinjiang region, according to one security expert. "If not a genocide, something close to it going on in Xinjiang," former United States National Security Adviser Robert O'Brien said of the ethnic minority Muslims in China.