China has gifted its citizens with a new round of crushing censorship, placing further restrictions on Christian content on the social media megacorp WeChat. As directed by the Communist Party of China, WeChat has blocked Christian search terms and has purged thousands of overtly Christian accounts, according to an organization that provides hope and aid for the persecuted Church.
WeChat is the world’s largest social media site – a one-stop-shop that handles sharing video, text messages, photo sharing, and video games, along with being linked to one’s bank account and used to pay for food, groceries, bills, and even rent and mortgage.
It differs from a similar site like Facebook, not just on account of the monetary integration, but because users are openly and actively tracked, surveilled, and their posts analyzed by the government as part of mass surveillance network in China.
The Barnabas Fund reports that “key words such as ‘Christ,’ ‘Bible,’ and ‘Gospel’ appear to have been blocked, with searches for these terms bringing up no results on WeChat,” and that “attempts to access these pages prompt a notification that the accounts have been ‘removed from use’ due to ‘complaints’ that they violate China’s Internet User Public Account Information Services Management Provisions.”
This follows the country instituting the Measures for the Administration of Religious Personnel, which came into effect May 1, 2021, and contains a database of all Christian leaders authorized to preach in the country. Anyone not registered will be denied the ability to engage in ministry. The Barnabas Fund reports that:
In order to be registered church leaders must, according to Article 3, be those who ‘love the motherland, support the leadership of the Communist Party of China, support the socialist system, abide by the constitution, laws, regulations and rules, [and] practice the core values of socialism.’
Pray for the persecuted church in China.
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