In the latest crackdown on Christianity, the Chinese government has passed a new policy that prohibits internet users within the country from including the word “Christ” in all social media posts.
This is according to ChinaAid, an international non-profit Christian human rights organization committed to promoting religious freedom and the rule of law in China.
The organization revealed that China’s communist regime passed the new policy – dubbed “Measures for the Administration of Internet Religious Information Services” on March 1, stating that anyone found publishing a post on the internet with the word ‘Christ,’ violates regulations on internet use, including but not limited to the following categories: pornography, gambling, drug abuse, excessive marketing, and incitement.
Our readers should note that this development comes close to a year since the same nation prohibited Christians in various provinces from using the internet to broadcast sermons in both audio and video format without state approval and also ordered American tech giant Apple to remove Bible apps from its App Store in the country. Officially, communist China presents itself as an atheist state.
Early Rain Covenant Church, a Chinese congregation, recently discovered the far-reaching impact of the new law.
Using the messaging app WeChat, a church member tried posting the names of eight books for members of a reading group, asking them to vote on their favorite. Among the titles: The Defense of the Faith by Cornelius Van Til, Tradition and the Individual Talent by T. S. Eliot, and The Imitation of Christ by Thomas à Kempis.
But the WeChat app rejected the post, saying the word “Christ” was not allowed.
“The word ‘Christ’ you are trying to publish violates regulations on Internet Information Services, including but not limited to the following categories: pornography, gambling, and drug abuse; excessive marketing; incitement.”
The issue could only be resolved by editing the post, which the church member did.
“Unfortunately, the group administrator had to replace part of the word ‘Christ’ to pass censorship,” China Aid said.
The watchdog group also noted that under the new law, individuals and organizations must undergo government training and obtain an “Internet Religious Information Service License” in order to post-religious information on the internet. Yet, even then, the content must conform to the Chinese Communist Party’s beliefs on religion and government.
“Anyone who posts content with the purpose of ‘inciting the state power using religion,’ ‘objecting to the Chinese Communist Party’s leadership,’ ‘obstructing the socialism system,’ ‘damaging national reunification,’ or ‘harming the unity of various ethnic groups and social stability’ shall be punished,” China Aid reported.
Online religious preachers must be registered with authorities, the new policy additionally affirms.