Online preaching banned in China, even during the COVID 19 pandemic, despite this many Christians have continued to share their faith.
Around the globe, the internet has become the principal way for Christians to keep in touch and also conduct prayer services during the coronavirus lock-down, but such an action remains illegal in China.
This is according to Release International, a non-profit organization which serves the persecuted church around the world.
Release International reported on 7 April 2020 that Chinese officials in Shandong Province banned online preaching despite the coronavirus pandemic, and that a state-aided campaign aimed at demolishing churches and tearing down crosses is ongoing nationwide.
“Officials have called for the ‘complete eradication’ of fellowships that avoid coming under state control, the organisation said.
Adding, “Government officials have been inspecting homes to remove religious symbols, and China has also stepped up its campaign against churches that meet in private rather than submit to state control.”
The watchdog Bitter Winter reported April 5 that very few organizations, and “only those that hold state-issued licenses,” can stream religious services online in China.
“We can’t get together because of the pandemic,” an underground house church pastor in the province of Jiangxi told Bitter Winter.
Release International said a pastor was detained for sharing a post on social media about the virus, and a Christian, Sun Feng, was seized by state security officers after asking friends to pray and fast during the outbreak.
The pastor tried to stream a sermon Feb. 9 through an app, but was stopped, according to Christianheadlines.com.
“Our first and only online gathering was blocked by the government soon after it started,” the preacher was quoted as saying.
A 2018 Chinese law bans Church streaming services.
“No organizations or individuals will be allowed to live-stream or broadcast religious activities, including praying, burning incense, ordinations, scripture chanting, holding Mass, worshipping or receiving baptism online in the form of text, photo, audio or video,” the law says.
Churches in China must register with the government and join either the Three-Self Patriotic Movement or the Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association. But because these state-approved churches face severe restrictions, millions of Christians worship in illegal underground churches.
Earlier, Uganda Christian News reported that Christians in China are risking their lives to share the gospel as they distribute medical supplies in various provinces including Wuhan, where the coronavirus pandemic originated.