As of February 1st, a new series of regulations on religion were released by the Chinese government. Consisting of six chapters and 41 articles, the restrictions require all religious leaders and organizations to demonstrate complete devotion to the Chinese Communist Party. For years, the Chinese government has controlled and monitored religious organizations. Under President Xi Jinping, this has become much more overt. The Party has been set as the official head of all religious organizations. Religious symbols are being removed, replaced by flags and pictures of President Xi.
The rules also severely limit communications between churches and overseas organizations. Christian organizations around the world have been working to provide medical supplies to help China's battle with the recent breakout of the novel coronavirus. The supplies were confiscated and the Christian who received the shipment was invited to "have tea" -- a euphemism for interrogation and intimidation.
Despite the threats, Chinese Christians in Wuhan have been seeking ways to bring a message of peace and hope in the midst of the medical crisis. Some have been giving out facemasks on the streets while sharing their faith with passersby. Others have broadcast encouraging messages through video and audio recordings. More information on the restrictions facing Christians in China can be found at our country report.
Please pray for the ongoing efforts to spread the Gospel of peace and hope during this time of heightened religious oppression in China. May Christians continue to find new and creative ways to carry out the Lord's Great Commission. Pray that members of the government will realize the futility of their efforts to oppose the work of God. Additionally, pray for wisdom on behalf of church communities that are having to deal with these tightened restrictions.