As we move on in the New Year with greater expectation of the Spirit’s move through Intercession, we are focusing on the most populous nation in the World with the largest number of Buddhist people- China!
“Let China Sleep, for when she wakes, she will shake the world”Napoleon Bonparte.
This statement made 200 years ago by Napoleon Bonaparte’s has become a reality in 2 different ways:
a. China rising up as a significant global power, economically and militarily;
b. The Church in China, which has been awakened by the Spirit of God to become one of the most significant Christian movements in the World.
For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ. (2 Cor 4:6)
Dr. Fenggang Yang, Professor of sociology and the Director of the Center on Religion and Chinese Society at Purdue University writes:
“The Christian growth in contemporary China is quite similar to the Christian growth in the fourth-century Roman Empire. Amid wars, natural calamities, and social turmoil, the number of Christians has grown in spite of persecution and suppression. By now it has become clear that:(berkleycenter.georgetown.edu)
i. there are more practicing Catholics in China than in Italy
ii. more practicing Protestants than all of Europe.
If this growth continues at the current rate, in less than two decades China will become the largest Christian country in the world.
This would have vital consequences for China and the global community.”
1. Opening of Borders of China this Week
China is on headlines again as they plan to open the nation to the world after 3 years of restrictions after the Covid pandemic and to unwind its recent controversial “zero-COVID” policies. Although health authorities have reported just a handful of deaths, Al Jazeera notes that “some health experts have predicted the country could experience up to two million deaths due to the population’s lack of natural immunity and patchy vaccine coverage among the elderly.’
Therefore, easing of travel restrictions has caused much caution and fear among other nations as a WeChat user wrote: “You want to see the world, but the world might not want to see you,”
2. The Chinese New Year: The biggest human migration on the planet.
2.1 billion passenger trips, by road, rail, water, and air!
According to Reuters, The WHO has warned that the holiday, which starts on Jan. 21 and usually brings the biggest human migration on the planet as people head home from cities to visit families in small towns and villages, could spark another infection wave in the absence of higher vaccination rates and other precautions.
However, there is the brighter side to China!
3. Christians in China – A great migration to the Kingdom!
The estimated 100 million Christians in China now outnumber the Members of the Communist Party!
The severe persecution and repression of all religion of the Cultural Revolution in the 1970’s forced all churches, mosques, and temples to close and re-education was imposed upon clergy, and monasteries were demolished and monks and nuns were arrested or killed.
However, the Church resurfaced and has been gaining ground in Chinese society, from 1980s estimate of about 6 million to estimates of 100 to 130 million today.
4. Ongoing Persecution:
Today there are numerous reports of pastors being arrested, churches demolished and crosses taken down from church buildings with little or no warning.
However, a subtler subversion of Christianity is also unfolding in China involving a twin strategy of suffocating and subverting.
- Suffocation comes via the tightening of restrictions for Christians fellowshipping together (even online chatrooms are banned), accessing Bible resources (Bible apps are now banned), and evangelizing (young people are banned from attending churches and all communications are monitored).
- Subverting happens through Digital persecution, involving surveillance, censorship and disinformation, directly linked to China’s Social Credit System whereby data (including DNA information) enables the authorities to monitor all aspects of life, judge citizens’ behavior and reward or punish them accordingly. And it has now become compulsory to install facial-recognition technology in state-sanctioned churches. (Premier Christianity)
“But God’s Word is not bound,” said one Chinese Christian, and they are still reaching out to their fellow citizens in every possible way.
Pray for the People and Cities of China.
Join in praying this week for China and its 7 Provinces and Cities this week with the 110 Cities.com Prayer initiative for the Buddhist World:
PRAY FOR THE CITIES OF CHINA
- 110 Cities.com
- Christianity Today.
- Berkley Center.georgetown.edu
- Premier Christianity.com
- Council on Foreign Relations.
- Al Jazeera.