China has banned the word “Christ” on social media apps under a new policy that went into effect on March 1.
The policy also requires licensing and training to post Christian and religious content on the internet.
Other religious words were also banned apart from “Christ”. Globally, it is getting much more challenging to preach the word.
The Chinese Communist Party’s new law – prohibits individuals and organizations from posting religious information on the internet unless they have first obtained permission from a provincial government department.
The law is called “Measures for the Administration of Internet Religious Information Services”.
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Early Rain Covenant Church, a Chinese congregation, recently discovered the far-reaching impact of the new law. Using the messaging app WeChat, a church member tried posting the names of eight books for members of a reading group, asking them to vote on their favorite. Among the titles: The Defense of the Faith by Cornelius Van Til, Tradition and the Individual Talent by T. S. Eliot, and The Imitation of Christ by Thomas à Kempis. But the WeChat app rejected the post, saying the word “Christ” was not allowed.
It is high time Christians have their own social media platform. Meanwhile, this will not help them convert people who may be on other platforms.
The rejection was coined thus: “The word ‘Christ’ you are trying to publish violates regulations on Internet Information Services, including but not limited to the following categories: pornography, gambling, and drug abuse; excessive marketing; incitement”. The issue could only be resolved by editing the post, which the church member did.
The group administrator who posted the message had to replace part of the word ‘Christ’ to pass censorship.
The watchdog group also noted that under the new law, individuals and organizations must undergo government training and obtain an “Internet Religious Information Service License” in order to post any religious information on the internet. Yet, even then, the content must conform to the Chinese Communist Party’s beliefs on religion and government.
It was reported that: “Anyone who posts content with the purpose of ‘inciting the state power using religion,’ ‘objecting to the Chinese Communist Party’s leadership,’ ‘obstructing the socialism system,’ ‘damaging national reunification,’ or ‘harming the unity of various ethnic groups and social stability’ shall be punished”.
The good news is that despite this oppression and suppression of the gospel, Christianity is growing in China, especially with thousands of underground churches.
But observations revealed that Christians in other parts of the world are not advocating against Chinese oppression to help the Christians in China.