What, you mean they weren’t cracking down already? Nope, apparently had reached a bit of a détente with the Christian community, at least compared to the complete intolerance of previous communist maniac dictators.
But no more; Christianity is becoming popular enough to make the communist government tug at their collars. And when I say, “tug at their collars,” I mean, “beat churchgoers senseless“:
Chinese police attacked the Christians gathered outside of Wenzhou Salvation Church last month, beating them with electric batons.
At least 14 and as many as 50 worshippers — some elderly — sustained wounds, including a fractured skull, broken bones and internal injuries.
Their crime? Rallying to guard their church cross, government-slated for demolition.
It was just the latest in the intensifying persecution in Zhejiang Province, one of China’s most Christian regions.
Until now, it seemed a place where the churches and the government had reached a fragile balance, allowing apolitical faith to flourish with relative flexibility.
But Wenzhou’s Christians say that balance is deteriorating. A Wenzhou Protestant e-mailed me:
“Tolerance to Christianity is obviously reducing, and the current situation is really serious.”
Zhejiang’s leaders have attacked even state-sanctioned churches, demonstrating “a little, mini-Cultural Revolution mentality that has not been seen for several decades,” says Bob Fu of ChinaAid, a Texas-based religious-freedom group.
“Obviously, the Communist Party is determined to remove any sign or social forces that are deemed as a political threat.”