As part of its ongoing efforts to control Christianity in the country, China has adopted a new policy that involves taking over the duties of the Church. According to reports, state-backed Catholic organizations in the country have agreed to allow the government to ordain bishops.
As reported by the UCA News, the agreement was made on Feb. 25 during a meeting between government officials and the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association. During the event, it was agreed that the association will ordain the new bishops based on the approval of the government.
Aside from the association, representatives from the State Administration for Religious Affairs and the Communist Party United Front Work Development, which controls religious activities in the country, also attended the meeting.
China's continuing efforts in controlling Christian activities in the country has already been criticized by the Vatican. This began in 2010 after the government held a Catholic congress and facilitated mass with illicit bishops, or those who were not ordained by the Church.
The International Christian Concern or ICC also pointed out the importance of keeping the government out of religious activities as it could use its power to manipulate the members of the Church, which is what's already happening in China.
"A primary reason for this is to maintain that the government has no influence on the inner workings and teachings of the Church," the organization said in a statement according to the Christian Post.
"China is attempting to control Christianity in two ways: demolishing the Christian image and arresting leaders, and manipulating them through a government-run church," it added.
Despite the crackdown on religion, the ICC still believes there is hope for the country due to the increasing number of Christians.
The new policy is the latest campaign targeting Christians in the country. Recently, the government enforced the removal of crosses inside churches and those who resisted were arrested by the authorities.
This includes Pastor Gu Yuese of the Chongi Church in Hangzhou. Although Gu's arrest was made because he refused to remove crosses in the church, authorities said he has been charged with corruption and embezzlement.
In addition, Pastor Bao Guohua and his wife Xing Wenxiang have been sentenced to spend 14 years in jail after Chinese authorities charged them with social disorder and corruption. But, according to the supporters of the couple, the indictment on the two exemplifies the government's actions against Christian activities in the country.