Chinese Communist officials have been burning Bibles and forcing Christians to sign papers renouncing their faith, as part of their ongoing crackdown on religion.
ChinaAid President Bob Fu, whose group monitors the persecution of believers in the world's most populous country, shared last week on Twitter a video captured by activists that depicts the burning of Bibles.
#China CCP starts burning the Bible and crosses in Henan. Last time burning Bibles campaign happened in late 1960s by dictator Chairman Mao’s wife Jiang Qing in Shanghai. She was arrested in 1976 but Christians grew to millions. Will Never be successful河南文革重现，烧圣经十字架 pic.twitter.com/T5esv16NXI— Bob Fu傅希秋 (@BobFu4China) September 5, 2018
"CCP starts burning the Bible and crosses in Henan. Last time burning Bibles campaign happened in late 1960s by dictator Chairman Mao's wife Jiang Qing in Shanghai. She was arrested in 1976 but Christians grew to millions. Will Never be successful," Fu wrote.
Fox News noted that besides the burning of Bibles and taking down of crosses, authorities lately have also been forcing Christians to sign papers where they reject their faith, or else risk being expelled from school or lose welfare benefits.
Fu explained that the government is attempting to "Sinicize" religion by infusing it with nationalistic principles and demanding loyalty to the atheist Communist Party.
"The international community should be alarmed and outraged for this blatant violation of freedom of religion and belief," Fu said.
The crackdown on believers and on churches has been going on for years. Reuters reported on the latest development on Sunday, where one of the largest unofficial Protestant churches in Beijing was banned, with officials confiscating "illegal promotional materials."
Zion church had apparently been hosting worship services, attracting hundreds of believers every weekend for years in the nation's capital. But it faced increasing pressure this year. In April, they refused orders to install television cameras in the building and faced threats of eviction.
Zion Pastor Jin Mingri explained that communist officials charged the church with hosting events without registering on Sunday, declaring the church "legally banned."
"I fear that there is no way for us to resolve this issue with the authorities," Mingri said.
Across Chinese provinces, church services have been raided, with congregation members arrested and beaten. Believers have also said that officials have forced them to replace paintings of Jesus Christ with communist imagery, while teachers have been accused of "brainwashing" students with Christianity.
Groups in the U.S., such as the American Center for Law and Justice, have started petitions speaking to the urgency of addressing the religious freedom crackdown in China.
"The Chinese government is trying to stop the spread of Christianity. This blatant persecution cannot be tolerated," the ACLJ says in its petition, which as of Monday morning has been signed by over 40,000 people.
"We're working at the United Nations, addressing the severe persecution of Chinese Christians. They urgently need your voice.
"We are working internationally to put pressure on China to stop persecuting Christians."