China’s parliament approved the removal of presidential term limits from its constitution on March 11, 2018. This unconventional move allows the current leader Xi Jinping to rule the Asian nation for life.
President Xi leads various campaigns to clamp down on Christianity in China. Since assuming office in 2013, he authorized the destruction of churches, removal of crosses and other religious items in public and private places, and even ordered the display of his image instead of Jesus Christ’s in Christian homes, reports Catholic News Agency.
The Chinese leader firmly believes that foreign influence uses religion to infiltrate the communist country. Xi said he will do everything in his power to protect the traditional Chinese way.
“The past five years since Xi Jinping became president have seen the most severe and widespread crackdown on human rights since the Tiananmen massacre of 1989,” said Benedict Rogers, East Asia team leader at religious freedom charity Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW).
Rodgers, in an interview with Premier, disclosed that President Xi’s limitless term has strengthened his power. He warns that Christians in China must brace themselves to “continuing, perhaps increasing, repression.”
Chinese Christians have been targeted by the government for their faith. They face possible arrests, job loss and investigation. Churches are likely to be closed down or completely destroyed, according to ITV, a UK television network.
Despite the threat against Christians, a pastor of a Presbyterian church in Chengdu city in Western China continues with his Sunday morning service. Pastor Wang knows the risks believers endure and he uses his sermons to denounce the government’s laws against religious freedom.
“I need to prepare my brothers and sisters for possible persecution,” the pastor said.
Reports say about 5 percent of China’s population, or 70 million people, claim to be Christians. This figure is expected to increase to 247 million by 2030.