Christians in China fast and pray in anticipation of severe persecution

Christian house church leaders in China are praying and fasting in preparation for looming severe persecution and even prison consequences for them, according to an American Christian who has links with the country's underground churches.

(Reuters/Reinhard Krause)A Chinese Catholic prays at his home in a village in Shanxi province in this 2007 file photo.

The American Christian, who spoke anonymously to CBN News, said the Chinese believers have grown concerned over a new set of laws that will implement more restrictions on religious activities in the Communist country. Experts monitoring religious liberty in China are also worried that the upcoming laws are merely part of the government's efforts to exert more control over the citizens' religious life.

"Many people within China view Christianity and their rapid growth as a threat to national unity," Dr. David Curry of Open Doors USA told CBN.

In September, the Chinese government issued a two-page letter explaining the necessity of the amendments to its religious laws, saying religion could potentially threaten national security. The letter also warned religious institutions and publications against using the internet to incite protests, national divisions, and terrorist activities.

China watcher Brent Fulton said officials see Christianity as a tool that the West could use to undermine and infiltrate the country. He said the Chinese government thinks infiltration could happen through the church.

Fulton also conveyed his amazement at the rapid growth of Christianity in China despite the government's move to restrict religious activities. He said the establishment of urban house churches across the country is a manifestation of God's movement.

According to China Law Translate, the new version of China's religious law now has 74 articles compared with the earlier version which only has 48 articles. The revised version covers general legal provisions, sites for religious activities, religious personnel, religious property, legal liability, religious bodies, and other aspects.

Meanwhile, Chinese citizens were given until Friday last week, Oct. 7, to voice out their concerns over the new amendments to China's religious law.