“In this war, in Xinjiang, in Shanghai, in Beijing, in Chengdu, the rulers have chosen an enemy that can never be imprisoned—the soul of man. Therefore, they are doomed to lose this war.”
These were the words spoken last year by Pastor Wang Yi, who headed the Early Rain Church in China and was arrested along with his wife in December. Pastor Wang and his wife, right, were deemed to be “thought criminals” by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). As leaders of a large church that was not sanctioned by the CCP, Pastor Wang and his wife needed to be made examples of before the Chinese people started questioning their totalitarian overlords in the CCP. But, just as the Romans of antiquity, the CCP is playing a game of catch-up against the forces of God. And as you’ll see in this essay, as Pastor Wang alluded to in the above quote, the CCP is destined to lose this spiritual war for China’s future.
If there is one thing that the CCP cannot abide it is their populace of more than one billion people having an allegiance to anything other than the state. Chinese Communists refer to this as “deviationism.” Historically, accusations of “deviationism” can bring about state sanctioned harassment, imprisonment, torture, and death. And it is Christianity more than anything else that threatens to destabilize the CCP’s precarious grip on power. As of last year, it is believedthat there are more than 100 million Christians living in China and if the Chinese Christian population continues growing, then, they could number well over 250 million by 2030. The official membership of the CCP numbers at 90 million.
The Problem Set Facing the CCP
Until the outbreak of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in Wuhan, China, Beijing was beset by a series of escalating crises. With COVID-19 now eviscerating the world, China’s President-for-Life Xi Jinping is angling both himself and the CCP to claim victory both over the virus and the CCP’s enemies, foreign and domestic.
First, the country was transitioning from a manufacturing economy with a high rate of individual saving into a knowledge-based, post-industrial economy with a high rate of consumption. In order to fully implement this transition, China had to alter its economic profile away from being an export-driven economy to an import-driven one. Beijing also had to encourage its citizens to spend more money. Until recently, Chinese citizens, notably the older generations, were extremely thrifty. In order to boost domestic consumption, though, Beijing needed to get people to change their financial calculations away from savings to spending. This also explains why, at the macro level, China has embraced massive spending programs on things like infrastructure and why Beijing has been so willing to take on profoundly high levels of national debt. (Of course, debt from infrastructure investment is not always a bad thing, as it could generate future revenue that could offset any debt incurred).
Second, as President-for-Life Xi Jinping accumulated more power for himself at the expense of both the CCP and his country, Xi had to crackdown on any group of person who would even moderately challenge the dogma of Xi Jinping thought. This is why, for example, for the last six years Xi has embarked upon a nationwide “anti-corruption” campaign which conveniently targeted both the corrupt elements of the Chinese government but also those most likely to challenge Xi Jinping politically. As that occurred, Xi increased his subjugation of the western Chinese province of Xinjiang. Obsessed with ideological deviationism and regional “splittism,” Xi oversaw a systematic campaign of repression directed against the mostly Muslim Uighur population of Xinjiang. Today, concentration camps exist where gang rape of young girls is common; slave labor is encouraged; and the mass imprisonment of people based merely on their religion exists in Xinjiang. Medical experimentation is also endemic. Meanwhile, the Xi Jinping government has encouraged local male CCP leaders in Xinjiang to move into Uighur homes where the men have been sent to prison and sleep with the women of that household in a form of grotesque ethnic cleansing. This obsession with preventing “splittism” from the CCP is behind Beijing’s obsession with cracking down on Hong Kong and continually threatening the nearby island of Taiwan (which China has long viewed as merely a “breakaway province”).
Third, there is a demographic crisis currently afflicting China. On the one hand, China faces the prospect of “getting old before it gets rich.” Its geriatric population is larger than its youthful demographics. At the same time, China is paying the consequences for their “One-Child Policy” (which was enacted by Mao Zedong in the 1970s and discontinued only in 2015 by Xi). Under the One-Child Policy, the CCP limited the number of children a couple could have. After having a single child, the CCP made it extremely onerous for a couple to have another child. The reasoning was to control the Chinese population. The need for population control was directly tethered to the need for political control. As China’s long and voluminous history has proven, lack of basic natural resources—notably enough food—is often the source of much political instability. And after decades of the One-Child Policy, coupled with China’s cultural preference for boys over girls, has not only led to a genocide of unborn female babies en masse but has now created a generation of Chinese men who are competing for a tiny share of Chinese women to marry. Plus, the Chinese fertility rate from 2019 was 1.6 percent, placing it below the required 2.1 percent children per 1,000 women needed to maintain what demographers refer to as the “societal replacement level.”
Fourth, as noted above, China has long struggled with having access to the natural resources needed to sustain a population as large and diverse as that of China’s. My colleague, Jeffrey C. Borneman, has coined a simple equation for determining how powerful a country is. He calls it “MDEF,” or “Metals, Defense, Energy, and Food.” Borneman has also added “W” to the equation (making it MDEF/W) for “water.” These are vital natural resources that will determine how survivable a nation is and how dominant it can be. If a country has reliable control over most (or, preferably, all) of the factors of MDEF/W, then that state will remain competitive in the world system.
Traditionally, China has struggled with control of these basic resources. This is why Beijing has obsessively sought to dominate the Rare Earth Mineral market. It also explains why China’s military, though it is becoming more competitive on paper, is still weak when compared against tested militaries like the United States military. China also must import the bulk of its energy from abroad (which is why Beijing has directed copious levels of investment into alternative energy, not just solar and wind, but also in things like nuclear fusion research).
China’s access to reliable food supplies is weak at best.
And when it comes to water, China has been engaged in a systematic attempt to dominate the water rights of the entire region. China has terrorized its own people, forcibly relocating entire towns in order to build monstrosities, like the Three Gorges Dam, in order to better control the nation’s finite water supply. More dangerously, the need to dominate limited water resources explains why China is engaged in yet another spat with India along the border it shares with the world’s fourth-largest democracy.
As you can see, there is much working against China. Now add in the rise of Christianity and you’ve got a big challenge to Xi Jinping’s autocratic rule. Unlike the other threats to Xi’s rule, Christianity in China cannot be so easily contained or repressed. Not only does Christianity have a long history of not only enduring state sanctioned repression, but the church tends to thrive under repression. What’s more, unlike the situation in Hong Kong, Christianity in China is more diffuse; it is spread throughout the country. And while there are roughly 11 million Muslim Uighurs living in China, like Hong Kong, these people are in a contiguous geographic location that makes it easier for China’s domestic security services to crack down on. Yes, 11 million people is a large number. But that is nothing compared to the more than 100 million Christians spread throughout China.
A Tale of Two Churches
Xi and his cadre recognize the threat that Christianity poses to their regime. Yet, Beijing also understands that it cannot tamp down on the Christian community the way that it has so belligerently stomped on the rights of other minority groups that are not as numerous or spread out over so many regions. Instead, Xi has taken a divide-and-conquer strategy. On the one hand, the CCP has offered to allow for limited numbers of Catholic churches to operate in China, so long as they do not display the cross in public and allow for socialist teachings to run parallel with the teachings of the Bible. Further, churches are banned from having large assemblies and they are forbidden from educating young people—even from holding Sunday School classes.
The roughly 10 million Catholics in China today have been under siege since the 1950s. In 1951, the Mao Zedong regime and the Vatican officially split ties. Mao labeled the Catholic Church in China an “enemy without guns” and engaged in a systematic targeting of the church and its members. Shortly after Mao died, however, his successor, Deng Xiaoping, began modulating official CCP doctrine to allow for the existence of churches—but with strict limits. Since that time, though, China’s President-for-Life Xi Jinping has returned to a zealous persecution of Christianity in China.
Unbelievably, the Vatican allowed itself to be compromised by effectively making a deal with the Communist devil. Despite this morbid arrangement, though, Beijing still finds ways to undermine and weaken the message of Christ. Under the 2018 agreement between the Holy See and Beijing—the first of its kind in a century—gave the CCP the ability to select Bishops for China while granting the Vatican final say in which of the candidates were actually given the nod to become Bishop of their diocese in China. Of course, the very fact that Beijing has selected these individuals for the Vatican to approve as bishops means that these bishops are likely sympathetic toward the CCP’s worldview (making them a threat to the church). The very act of the Vatican allowing for the CCP to have a say in the selection of bishops of its churches is obscene. It also runs contrary to Catholic doctrine (which is one of the reasons that the Sino-Vatican split occurred in the first place in 1951). According to Catholic doctrine, the Pope is the Vicar of Christ. Therefore, the Pope’s sovereignty over churches which purport to be Catholic cannot be infringed upon by any mere human authority, such as the CCP. What’s more, allowing for civil authorities, such as those in Beijing, to have any say in Vatican policy is a violation of the Second Vatican Council, which explicitly stated that no outside power can have influence over the church the way that the Vatican has now allowed for the CCP to influence the Catholic church in China.
Despite the imposition upon the authority of the Vicar of Christ, though, the Vatican went through its agreement with Beijing. Writing about the agreement in 2018, Paul P. Mariani, S.J., wrote in American Magazine that, “By the pope’s recognition of these seven bishops, the Chinese government seems to be gaining a lot. What is the church getting? At first glance, it seems not much. Even sympathetic church leaders call it an imperfect agreement.” That’s putting it mildly.
In fact, the CCP is co-opting the Catholic Church—and the Vatican is apparently allowing for this to occur. The Holy See has convinced itself that, by entreating with Beijing, they will actually be keeping the universal church together under the authority of the Pope. Before this deal, there were real fears among the Vatican’s leadership that the continued existence of Catholic churches in China that were being run by bishops who had never been sanctioned by the Holy See constituted a schism of the Catholic churches in China with the Vatican. Under Catholic doctrine, this situation was deemed untenable. This explains why the Vatican so readily dealt with China’s Communist authorities. Yet, obsessing with maintaining the unity—universalism—of the Catholic Church at the expense of the Christian commitment to serving only God is more of a threat to the Catholic Church than anything the CCP’s jackbooted thugs may do to Catholics in China today.
The Vatican’s leaders must remember Psalm 119:1-4, “Joyful are people of integrity, who follow the instructions of the LORD. Joyful are those who obey His laws and search for Him with all their hearts. They do not compromise with evil, and they walk only in His paths. You have charged us to keep Your commandments carefully.”
And the CCP is evil. Since its rise to power in 1949, the CCP has waged a constant war upon Christianity in China. It has demolished churches; arrested, tortured, and killed believers; and has striven to warp the teachings of Christ in order to secure its own legitimacy in the eyes of hundreds of millions of Chinese who are Christian. Beijing seeks to do this without compromising its own values so as to preserve its power on Earth. To protect its own earthly powers, then, the CCP must get the Catholic Church to compromise its own beliefs so as to weaken its connection with the heavenly kingdom. The 2018 deal between the Holy See and Beijing does precisely this.
In fact, the deal with the CCP closely mirrors the countless deals that the CCP has made with Western corporations. As history has shown, the Western firms that come to do business in the lucrative market of China believe that they are capitalist stewards of liberal democracy. Instead, they end up either being co-opted or priced out of the market entirely and become conduits for Chinese power projection. The Libertarian economist, Eamonn Fingleton, described the process where Western firms become thoroughly Sinicized as “reverse convergence.” This is not only applicable to Western corporations seeking to do business in China. Clearly, the same policy afoot regarding the CCP’s interactions with the Vatican.
The Vatican has allowed Catholicism itself to become potentially co-opted by the CCP. Just as with Western companies, the changes imposed upon the Catholic Church in China will likely be subtle at first. Over time, though, as a retinue of Western companies in both the manufacturing and technology fields can attest, it will be impossible to deny Beijing’s will, the more integrated into China’s mainstream it becomes. And even with the 2018 deal between the Vatican and Beijing, the CCP continues cracking down on both Catholic and Protestant churches throughout China.
Yet, the mere fact that the Vatican allowed itself to be compromised as badly as it has by the CCP is a frightening portent. Not only is Christianity the only way to weaken the brutal CCP’s power at home over the long-run, but it also potentially another way for the CCP to gain undue influence over hundreds of millions of people throughout the world—and the West. If the Vatican is so willing to compromise its authority for trinkets the CCP throws its way (all while the CCP gets the better end of that deal), what will become of Catholicism over time? Just look at all of the various name-brand Western companies who’ve essentially become unofficial spokespeople for Chinese interests here in the West. Imagine that with the air of religious authority.
The mind reels at this prospect.
Another pattern on display in the Sino-Vatican relationship is the CCP’s love of picking winners-and-losers in their society. Often, CCP representatives insist that they have a form of democracy in China. Since the 1980s, various forms of limited democratic elections have been held at the local level, in almost one million small villages. What the CCP spokespeople rarely admit to is that the candidates “elected” by the villagers are handpicked party apparatchiks, who routinely engage in various forms of vote buying and bullying of the locals in order to win the office they seek. And, since there are no opposition parties in China, whoever wins the local elections, the Communist Party also always wins. A similar pattern is afoot when the Vatican gives Beijing a say in who becomes a bishop in China.
Further, as the CCP essentially helps to pick winners-and-losers in China’s Catholic community today—with the blessing of the Vatican—these moves could potentially reignite the centuries-old conflict between the Catholic Church and Protestants. After all, while the Catholic Church has taken a far more conciliatory (and compromising) path with Beijing, the Protestants—notably those of the Evangelical persuasion—have borne the brunt of Beijing’s bellicosity. Plus, there is a division in China today between “Patriotic” churches that have been approved by the state and “underground” churches.
Not long after the agreement between the Holy See and Beijing was inked in 2018, the CCP began an injudicious crackdown on “underground” churches.
Perhaps it is because the Evangelical community does not have a hierarchical, centralized authority obsessed with maintaining unity between the main church and its sister churches around the world that the Evangelical community in China has been the hardest hit by the CCP. Underground Evangelical churches whose congregants and leaders risk terrible fates if their churches are discovered by China’s relentless authorities, now have one less ally, the Vatican, because of the absurd deal between the Holy See and Beijing. Like the early churches in the Roman Empire, these “underground” churches are subject harassment and imprisonment for assembling without prior authorization.
Xi Jinping’s government understands it cannot close down all of the churches, which is undoubtedly why Beijing has focused on dividing the church, not along the traditional Catholic-Protestant division, but between “Patriotic” and “Underground” churches. Just use the state-approved church, Beijing says. It’s a compromise, they appeal to the believers in their midst. Of course, what they don’t tell Chinese believers is that once they begin attending the state-approved churches, their faces and personal data are cataloged by China’s state security apparatus and they and their families are tracked for future harassment.
Back in 2017, CCP officials sojourned to Yugan county in Jiangxi Province (where Christians account for roughly ten percent of the population) with orders to disabuse the Christian community there of their faith. At that time, the Christians in Jiangxi Province were compelled to replace Christian imagery, such as pictures of Christ, Christian statues, Bible wall verses, or crosses with imagery of Xi Jinping and socialist slogans. Many Christians in these areas live in extreme poverty; they require government welfare assistance to get by. In order to encourage the Christians in China to abandon their faith, the CCP informed the denizens of Yugan county that they would not receive their welfare assistance checks until they replaced their Christian imagery with imagery of pro-Chinese and socialist propaganda. Many in these provinces adhered to the CCP orders so that they could feed themselves. The CCP representatives insist that the people in Yugan county only embraced Christianity because many of their family members got sick and died. The CCP argued that, in their physical desperation, the impoverished citizens of Yugan county turned to Christ to alleviate their suffering rather than their Communist leaders. The CCP claims that it is merely protecting their citizens by getting them to turn away from Christ and toward Communism.
But belief in China is far too widespread for these petty Communist tactics to be effective.
Last year, the CCP closed down a whopping 10,000 Christian churches in China. These churches refuse to kowtow to the CCP so that they may share The Word with all who seek it. To better stamp out the Christian element in their society, the Chinese regime has begun using advanced technologies, such as artificial intelligence, to engage in mass surveillance of these Christian churches in order to identify all of the Chinese citizens who are partaking in the illegal church services. Whereas Catholics in China number around 10 million, as you’ve seen above, there are considerably more Protestant Chinese citizens. While the Evangelical Christian community in China is under siege, the fact that it is so decentralized and spread throughout the country means that it will be nearly impossible for the CCP to stamp out. It is survivable and not open to being co-opted by the CCP as the Catholic Church clearly has been.
Understanding the Role of Christianity in China
In personal discussions with this author, some China Watchers have chided that Christianity in China is superficial. They claim that the Chinese Christians don’t really understand Christianity; that their belief in Christianity can be swayed by trinkets and physical threats (like some of those villagers in Yugan county). These arguments smack of cultural condescension and an ignorance of the innate, superhuman power of the Gospels.
One of the greatest examples of Christianity overcoming secular totalitarianism comes from the Catholic Church’s experience in Eastern Europe during the Cold War. When Pope John Paul II ascended as the Vicar of Christ, a Pole by birth, he made it his mission to break the demonic dominion that Soviet Communism had over his homeland and the neighboring countries. Pope John Paul II, and the deep belief in the Bible among the Eastern European populations who had been so brutally oppressed by Soviet Communism, assisted in the ultimate vanquishing of that evil occupation. Unlike today in China, though, the Catholic Church did not compromise with the Soviets in Eastern Europe. It resisted. It empowered underground churches there and it kept the faith with those Catholics who had been oppressed (while those being oppressed stood in solidarity with the Church).
My colleagues have challenged this comparison. You see, they say, because Europe has always been Christian, it was easier and almost inevitable that the Christian faith would be the natural antidote to Soviet oppression. But Europe has not always been Christian. In fact, it was as pagan and unbelieving as China has been, as recently as the Romantic era of the 19th century (and, one could argue that Europe today is once more falling into its historic patterns of paganism). If one goes back far enough throughout the world, all regions and societies began as pagan. So, this is not a viable counterargument to my belief that Christianity in China is strong, it will get stronger still, and it will be the weapon which will finally kill the vicious CCP.
Further, there are countless examples of self-proclaimed Christians throughout history and the world whose faith was, in fact, superficial. Just look at the Apostle Paul’s admonition to the Galatian churches (in modern day Turkey) for preaching a Gospel that was inimical to God’s actual word. Today in the United States, there are numerous churches that do not preach the actual teachings of Christ (just ask Kenneth Copeland). And these are churches in countries that are far more culturally close to the Christian faith than Confucian China.
Does that mean that all Christians in China have only a superficial understanding of Christianity?
There will always be misbelievers among the Christian community. Although, not all Christians are led astray by false teaching. There is a reason that so many in China today are risking state-sponsored harassment, imprisonment, torture, and death to practice their faith underground rather than accept the official state religion of Communism. I would contend that the reason the Evangelical version of Christianity in China today is so much larger than the Catholic side is precisely because their teaching is much more biblically sound (and, therefore, appealing): these decentralized churches believe that Man is saved by grace through faith in Christ Jesus and by our own efforts or works (this is found in Ephesians 2:8-9). It also explains why these are the churches that are thriving and being hardest persecuted in China today.
Rather than being superficial, the 150 million or so Chinese Christians have a deep and abiding understanding of proper Christianity. Because of this, their faith is unshakeable. This Christianity represents an ever-sharpening dagger slowly being aimed at the heart of the CCP’s monopoly on power. Inevitably, this population, if given support from the rest of the world, will have the capacity to fundamentally change the regime in China toward a more equitable and peaceful one.
Far from being closed to Christianity—and despite the unending quest for isolation as China’s leaders have long pined for—Chinese culture is highly adaptive. This explains why Chinese civilization has endured for upwards of 4,000 years. What began as a collection of villages along the Yellow River basin rapidly evolved into modern day China. Over the course of those centuries of conquest, the Chinese did not just annex land and take the people; the culture adapted foreign ideas and concepts and weaved it into the larger Chinese narrative. In this way, then, China is a lot like the Borg of Star Trek: The Next Generation because they assimilate ideas, people, and technology and adapt them to service their collective. In that process, though, changes are a double-edged sword: yes, the larger Chinese culture is empowered, but core concepts and methods of the adapted culture fundamentally change the larger Chinese culture.
This explains why Marxism was so easily adopted by the Chinese: it resonated with the centralized Confucian culture that came before it. Today, as Eamonn Fingleton observed in 2008, the Chinese Communist Party is less Communist and more neo-Confucian which, as it turns out, is a distinction with little difference. Yet, Christianity has also been a growing foreign concept in China. The first Christian missionaries arrived in the seventh century A.D. and continued arriving since then. Over time, despite the best efforts of Chinese authorities, Christianity was adopted by many in China.
Take, for instance, the bloody Taiping Rebellion. This civil war was waged in response to economic privation felt among many Chinese and was led by the nominally Christian God Worshipping Society, specifically the delusional Hong Xiuquan, who fancied himself to be the “Taiping King” who had been sent by God to vanquish the demons who had destroyed China and were plaguing the world. It was fought from 1850-1864 against the ruling Qing Dynasty, and resulted in 20 million deaths (fun fact: it ran concurrently with the American Civil War). Just like Communism in China a century later, the Christianity espoused by the God Worshipping Society was heretical compared to the Western version. But even this superficial version of Christianity was powerful enough to plunge China into a 14-year civil war.
To say that Christianity is an unappealing concept in foreign China is ludicrous. Now, look at the potency and power of the Biblically-sound version of Christianity being practiced in China today. It is an unstoppable force that is only growing in size.
Probing with Ideological Bayonets
China is the greatest geopolitical threat that the United States has faced since the Soviet Union of old. Beijing’s leadership has made plain their ambition to displace the United States as the world’s preeminent power by 2049, the one-hundredth anniversary of the victory of the CCP in the Chinese Civil War. Whereas the Soviet Union’s threat to the United States was primarily military and ideological, Communist China’s threat today is far more pervasive.
Yes, China seeks to threaten the United States militarily and its championing of nationalistic authoritarianism—the so-called “Beijing Consensus”—is a rival ideology to liberal capitalist democracy (the “Washington Consensus”). But China’s threat to the United States is economic; it is technological; it is cultural. Unlike the Soviet Union, today’s China is fully integrated into the world system. Beijing has options for complicating American foreign policy that Moscow during the Cold War could have only ever dreamed of. Thus, it behooves Washington to look for non-kinetic ways to undermine and rollback Chinese power at home, in order to weaken Chinese power abroad.
Far from being the monolithic power that Beijing claims, China today is rife with internal division. This threat explains why Xi Jinping has been obsessed with overcoming ideological deviationism and regional splittism. From Xinjiang Province to Hong Kong; from Taiwan to the vast and growing Christian population, Xi’s power is both total and yet vulnerable. All that it requires is a coordinated strategy on the part of Washington to confuse and stymie the CCP from within its own borders.
Of course, we will not know for certain which deviationist movement will be able to fundamentally weaken the CCP so that it can finally be thrown into the dustbin of history. Therefore, we should take our cues (ironically) from the father of the Soviet Union, Vladimir Lenin, who advised his followers to “probe with bayonets” and if they were to find “mush, you push. If you find steel, you withdraw.” The CCP is desperately attempting to construct walls of red steel around their country, so as to protect its unholy hold on power. Yet, the tighter Xi Jinping’s regime tightens its grip on a diverse country of more than one billion people, the greater the chance that grip can be broken.
The Christians of China are numerous and growing. Their ideals are based on teachings with foundations that transcend this corporeal world. The Christians of China are linked with fellow believers in the West, thanks to their shared faith. The Christians of China fundamentally understand that their fight is not with unbelieving Chinese rulers. Instead, those rulers belong to the walking dead; the real fight for the Christians of China, as with all Christians through all time, is against spiritual forces inimical to the teachings of Christ. The CCP is but the most recent in a long line of human rulers seeking to contain and destroy Christianity. None have succeeded.
I was once told to conceptualize China as Europe, if the Roman Empire had never collapsed. I think this is a rough, but fair comparison. After waging a tireless war upon Christianity, the Roman Empire eventually embraced Christianity. Critics like the nineteenth century historian, Edward Gibbon, argued that Christianity ultimately caused the collapse of the Roman Empire. While that is true from a certain point of view, the embrace of Christianity allowed for the Eastern Roman Empire—what became known as the Byzantine Empire—to survive and thrive long after its western counterpart collapsed. The acceptance of Christianity permanently changed the socio-political development of the old Roman Empire. As Mike Aquilina and James L. Papandrea argue in their 2019 book, How Christianity Saved Civilization . . . and Must Do So Again,the acceptance of Christianity in the Roman Empire turned that culture away from the debased debauchery and decadence that had defined it for so long and imparted humility and compassion into its framework—which long outlasted the Roman Empire in Europe.
Christianity will do the same in China as it continues growing.
To ensure that the Christians of China become the poison pill population that destroys the unholy, evil, and corrupt CCP regime, the Trump Administration must use its incredible power to highlight the struggle of Christians in China. President Trump must wage a ceaseless campaign against the Chinese Communist Party’s brutal repression of their Christian population; Washington must call for the allowance of Christian missionaries to have unfettered access to China, all while placing pressure on Beijing for its abysmal treatment of China’s Christians. There must be daily press conferences explaining the struggle and constant calls for the protection of China’s besieged Christians. This will, in turn, place a burden on the already-pressured CCP at precisely the moment that internal pressures are mounting against the CCP’s reign.
By aligning the US interest in containing China’s rise with that of the ideological deviationists and regional splittists in China, whether it be the Uighurs or Hong Kong or Taiwan or the Falun Gong or the Christians, the United States has real leverage in keeping Beijing at bay. It must exploit that leverage before it is too late. After all, China presents the world with the greatest threat to peace and democratic values. Yet, thanks to its Christian population, China could become the great hope to the world. It will require steadfast commitment from the outside world—notably the United States—to support China’s Christians. And it will require the Chinese Christian population to not lose faith, even as the CCP continues waging its spiritual war upon the Church. History has proven that totalitarian regimes rarely stand the test of time against a dedicated Christian sect, such as the Protestants in China.