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China Promises Financial Rewards for Reporting Christians

March 4, 2019 by Lindy Lowry in ,

Chinese authorities are now taking steps in rural areas of China to intensify the ongoing crackdown on Christian gatherings often known as house churches. The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is reportedly resorting to offering monetary rewards to anyone who spies on a neighbor or even family member and reports a group of believers to authorities.

Money Rewards for Anyone Tipping Off Authorities in rural China

In documents obtained by Bitter Winter magazine, monetary incentives are spelled out based on the specific report and its impact. For example, a document issued by a subdistrict in Nanyang city in China’s Henan province states that anyone who discovers and reports a group will receive a reward of 200 to 1,000 RMB (about $30 to $150).

Reporting someone for making or spreading images earns a reward of $75 to to $300. And if the report has significant impact, the reward is $750 to $1,500. Turning in a believer from The Church of Almighty God (the largest Chinese new religious movement) brings $15 to $300.

Reporting Boxes, Hotlines and Websites

A reporting box recently installed at the entrance to the village committee of Chenzhuang village reads: “Box for reporting private (meeting) venues and missionary activities.”
Photo: Bitter Winter

To make it easy to tip off authorities and report believers, China has set up reporting boxes in villages, phone lines and websites. A village officer revealed that when a caller reports a gathering, the caller’s location will be recorded right away and the meeting venue’s address can be quickly determined,

The number to the free tip hotline is printed on iron reporting boxes that read “Box for reporting private (meeting) venues and missionary activities.”

A reporting box was recently installed at the entrance to the village committee of Chenzhuang village in the Mangzhongqiao township (several villages constitute a township) in China’s Henan province (where the country’s underground church movement started).

One local villager noted that the the township government has issued a reporting box to each village. “Authorities are waging a crackdown against religious belief,” the villager said, and “people in the village are prohibited from believing in God.”

Some regions have also developed platforms for reporting on neighbors online or by writing letters.

The impact of these new practices has already been felt. Bitter magazine reported that one local believer said that by setting up reporting boxes, authorities have restricted religious events, gatherings, and evangelism, and “have placed believers in danger of being arrested at any time.”

Recently, a secret Three-Self church meeting in Dapan village in Henan was discovered and shut down, surprising believers who were meeting in a basement in a residential building. The venue’s furnishings were cleared out.

‘Difficult to Continue Gathering’ in China

Informing on each other became a prevalent practice during China’s Cultural Revolution under Mao. The CCP set up reporting boxes and rewarded people who reported or exposed others. With the implementation of these tools today, China has returned to mobilizing the masses to fight each other—a practice used during an era when outright persecution forced believers to go underground to meet and worship together.

One local retired CCP member disagrees with incentives, saying that he fears they make it easy for people to develop hatred for each other.

The former official’s fears align with what local villagers are sharing about the current situation: “Everyone is participating in monitoring and reporting others,” the villager said, increasing the risk of arrest and imprisonment for more believers.

“It’s impossible for us to defend against effectively. I’m afraid that it will be difficult to continue holding gatherings.”

PRAYING WITH the Church IN CHINA

Recently, one of Open Doors’ indigenous ministry partners who works to equip church leaders in China offered this insight: “Don’t be too quick to jump to conclusions about what China needs. Pray for wisdom for the leaders. Pray with us.” She shared specific prayer needs for church leaders and churches in China:

  • Fortitude. Pray with Chinese Christians and church leaders for the fortitude to withstand increasing pressure and violent acts of persecution.
  • Empowerment. Pray that God would empower His church in China to reach the next generation.
  • Wisdom. Pray that leaders in China’s churches would have the wisdom to know how to handle the pressure they are coming under.
  • Workers for the harvest. Pray that the Lord of the harvest will send workers to plant and nurture seeds that will ultimately bring forth an abundance of Kingdom fruit.
  • Protection. Pray that God will protect the rights and abilities of His people in China to worship Him.
  • Supernatural intervention in the hearts of leaders. Pray that Xi Jinping and other Party officials will hear the voice of the Holy Spirit and put their trust in Jesus.
  • Courage for believers. Pray that given the choice between religious displays and poverty rations, believers will have wisdom and courage.

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