China is not ranked on top of the 50 worst nations for persecuting Christians compiled by Open Doors USA, as that dubious distinction belongs to North Korea, followed close behind by Afghanistan.
But China is building a pervasive system of digital surveillance-based oppression that is presently aimed at the estimated 125 million Christians there, but which could easily be duplicated in other nations and used to silence anybody who disagrees with the regime in power.
That’s according to Open Doors CEO David Curry, who told a recent news conference unveiling the 2020 list of top 50 anti-Christian nations that China is constructing a “blue print” for a “system of persecution for the future” to be sold on the world market.
China did move up in the 2020 ranking, to 23rd, after being in the 27th slot in the previous year’s compilation, but the Asian giant, which remains controlled by a regime dominated by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), is clearly headed higher.
“Its implications are not just for Christians within China but for every country and for religious freedom generally,” Curry said, according to The Christian Post.
“Let me put it together. It is like a puzzle. The pieces are there but it is not until you put it together that you see it clearly. When you see it clearly, it is frightening,” Curry said.
China’s exploding Christian population is not alone in the regime’s cross-hairs. An estimated 1 million Uighurs, who are Muslims, have been forced into “re-education” camps reminiscent of the facilities that killed millions of Chinese under Chairman Mao Tse Tung.
The regime’s suppression has also been forcibly aimed at those who practice Falun Gong, a modern form of Chinese Buddhism, with persistent and horrifying reports of forced organ harvesting.
China’s newly developed “social credit” system is at the heart of the growing persecution blueprint, according to Curry. As long as you do and say what the regime tells you, your score permits you to go about your daily business.
But there is no room for individual freedom in such a system.
“Imagine a system where citizens are given 2,000 points and every time you do something the government disagrees with, you are marked down for it,” Curry said.
“Eventually, your travel is restricted, your children won’t get into the best schools. You lose points for taking your children to Sunday School. That is what the experience is like for many Christians in China,” he said, according to the Christian Post.
Curry saw the Chinese system up close during a recent visit there.
“I saw with my own eyes the surveillance on the street but also in the churches, watching their congregation,” he said. “Facial scans when you come in and then tracking you and generating reports [with] assumptions built into their artificial intelligence system that is tracking Christian behavior.”
Regular church-goers will be labeled as “radicals” under the system, he said. But that could just as easily be regular attenders of Sierra Club activities, or a local Tea Party chapter, or a … the list of potential offenders is endless.
Christian or not, the civil liberties and other issues raised by China’s evolving system of persecution are sure to be felt in Congress in the years ahead.