Truth about persecution must be told during Beijing Olympics, say Christian groups

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China must not be allowed to “sportswash” its religious freedom violations, the head of Release International has said.

Paul Robinson said the Winter Olympics, which have just started in Beijing, are an opportunity to highlight the persecution taking place in China.

“Three billion people are ready to watch the Winter Olympics – three billion opportunities to shine a light on the truth about how China persecutes its religious minorities, including Christians,” he said. .

The Games come amid global concern over China’s treatment of the predominantly Muslim Uyghur minority, at least a million of whom have been forced into re-education camps.

Robinson asks Christians to pray “that the international spotlight on China will shine a light on the daily reality faced by those who suffer for their faith, and that new pressures will be applied to finally allow full religious freedom for all citizens. Chinese”.

The UK, US, Canada, Australia and Lithuania have all staged diplomatic boycotts of the Winter Olympics, meaning no ministers or government officials from those countries will attend. .

Broadcast partner Bob Fu said the Winter Olympics were a “gigantic propaganda spectacle” for China. He called for a boycott of the Games and urged those attending to “use every chance, opportunity and gesture to show solidarity with the victims”.

He said the treatment of Uyghurs amounted to genocide and crimes against humanity, and compared the detention centers to “modern concentration camps”.

In a message to corporate sponsors of the Games, he said: “You are sponsoring the Genocide Olympics. Blood is on your hands, on your corporate logo.”

Open Doors, which also supports the persecuted Church, said Christians in Beijing were preparing to keep a low profile during the Games to avoid run-ins with authorities.

“We know we shouldn’t be ‘active’ at this kind of event,” said a Beijing pastor.

“We know how we have to behave during this period. And that is to lay low.”

China views Christianity as a Western religion and therefore views it as a threat. In some parts of the country, churches have been demolished or their crosses removed. During the pandemic, it was reported that Zoom church services were interrupted.

Another Christian from Beijing told Open Doors: ‘At major events like this, ministers are warned to ‘behave’, ‘shut up’ and ‘remain invisible in the public domain’.

“If churches don’t comply, their church meetings run the risk of being shut down.”

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