Online Crackdown against Christians in China

“Unregistered house churches that have relied on online gatherings and teaching to survive the COVID-19 pandemic and persecution will have that option taken away under draconian measures taking effect on March 1, sources said. Churches, seminaries and other ministries have been shaken by the government announcement on Dec. 20 that all religious information on the internet will be forbidden unless organizations obtain government permission–an option not open to unregistered house churches. Only the five government-approved religious organizations may apply for such permission: The Three-Self Patriotic Movement (TSPM, representing officially-approved Protestant churches), the Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association and the officially recognized organizations of Buddhism, Islam and Taosm. Starting March 1, all information relating to religion on all social media platforms and independent media must have authorization from the government, China Aid stated. If any religious content on the internet–all words, images and videos–are not approved by authorities, internet service providers in conjunction with religion departments and public security departments are to stop their internet service, according to the group. ‘If an individual or organization posts religious events without permission or the official license, they will be categorized as people with no social credit score,’ China Aid noted. Huang wrote that the measures were issued by a department of the State Council and contravene laws of higher bodies such as the National People’s Congress. The measures require an ‘Internet Religious Information Service License,’ that can be obtained only by organizations belonging to the five authorized religions, according to Bitter Winter. The officially recognized organizations are subject to surveillance and limitations, it noted.”

Morning Star News, Feb. 14, 2022