Communist China has been engaged in a high-profile attack against the Christian faith over the past year, and its most public display of antagonism came earlier this month against a pastor in the Henan Province. The New York Times reported that Zhang Shaojie, pastor of the Nanle County Christian Church, was sentenced July 4 by a Communist Chinese court to 12 years in prison for the supposed crimes of fraud and “gathering crowds to disturb public order.” The 49-year-old pastor was also fined 100,000 renminbi, or about $16,000.
Zhang's attorney, Yang Xingquan, has steadfastly insisted that his client has done nothing wrong, but is being targeted by a Chinese government that wants to put the brakes on the dramatic growth of Christianity in the nation. As reported by The New American in April, China is on a growth track to become the world's most Christian nation in the next 15 years. According to Fenggang Yang, a professor of sociology at Purdue University and one of the leading experts on faith and religion in China, by 2030 the total number of both Protestant and Catholic Christians in officially atheist China could exceed 247 million, putting it ahead of Mexico, Brazil, and the United States as the most Christian nation in the world. “Mao thought he could eliminate religion,” Yang observed of the communist country's murderous founder. “He thought he had accomplished this. It's ironic — they [China's communist regime] didn't. They actually failed completely.”
But that has not prevented the present regime from walking in Mao's oppressive footsteps relative to the faith. According to The New American's Alex Newman, Chinese officials have destroyed several churches over the past several months, including some that have been officially sanctioned under the government's approved Protestant licensing group, the Three-Self Patriotic Movement.
One of the most shocking examples of China's ruthless campaign against faith came in late April against Sanjiang Church, a Three-Self Patriotic congregation, when communist authorities demanded the destruction of its beautiful church facility.
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