You Probably Won’t Read This In The News…
As an account executive at A. Larry Ross Communications, I’m supposed to be an expert on the news media. So I’m rarely surprised when the media sensationalizes a trivial story or pays insufficient attention to an important one. I figure that’s just the way the news business works because of the general public’s appetite for celebrity news and quirky stories.
One developing story in recent months has been particularly troubling to me, though not many individuals – even in Christian circles – likely know about it unless they follow more internationally focused outlets such as The New York Times and the BBC.
Bob Fu, the president of ChinaAid and an advocate for religious freedom and human rights, reports that the Chinese government has destroyed about 300 churches or removed their crosses.
Much of the persecution has taken place in Zhejiang province, south of Shanghai, where government officials told one congregation that its “cross was too shiny, too tall and too big.” When the congregation refused to take it down, the government began to demolish the church.
Fu calls it the “worst persecution in China since the Cultural Revolution” in the 1960s and ’70s, when one Communist leader said, “Christianity in China has been confined to the history section of the museum. It is dead and buried.”
In reality, the Christian population in China is currently booming. Because so many Chinese belong to underground churches, there are no reliable figures, but a Pew study in 2011 estimated that about 5 percent of the population – 67 million at the time – was Christian. Some experts even say China could have the biggest Christian population in the world by 2030.
Fu, the author of “God’s Double Agent,” says that government documents reveal that Chinese president Xi Jinping is trying to “contain the over-heated growth of Christianity.”
Religious persecution in China and other countries with less-than-tolerant attitudes toward certain religions is nothing new, and every experienced newsman knows that, because humans tend to prioritize the concerns of the near before the far, the public typically cares more about local and national news than international news.
At a time when the media reports on every move the Kardashians make and highlights stories with headlines like “The 26 Best Brows on Instagram,” it shouldn’t be surprising that so little attention is paid to religious persecution in China.
But if you want to find out what’s going on there and show your support, visit www.chinaaid.org. You’ll learn that China is not only half a world away geographically, it’s also a different and much harsher world for followers of Christ.