World Watch Ranking: 19

What does persecution look like in China?

The most overt persecution in China often takes place in regions where Buddhism or Islam are the majority religions—anyone who converts to Christianity is seen as a traitor to their ethnicity and family. These believers may be threatened or even harmed, all to convince them to return to the family's religion.

However, persecution and discrimination are slowly spreading throughout most of China. The country’s goal is to make sure churches don't fall out of line with official viewpoints. In the case of official churches, this means they are encouraged to praise and pledge allegiance to the Communist Party and its ideology. It's always been true that house churches exist in a legal grey area, where they are unregistered and technically not allowed, but largely tolerated. New regulations continue to chip away at this status quo. Children under 18 continue to be forbidden from attending church. Most churches are monitored and can be shut down without warning.

Restrictions passed in 2018 as part of a wide-ranging law on religion have made it harder for Christians to use the Internet or social media to pursue their faith.

Who is most vulnerable to persecution?

Converts from a Muslim or Buddhist background from minority ethnic groups face the most severe restrictions of religious freedom in China, with families and communities driving the pressure. But across China, Christians and Christian churches face increasing restrictions and monitoring.

Meet "Qiang"

"We're feeling nervous, fearful and worried, as it’s our first time to encounter this. Are we being blacklisted—will our travels be restricted? We have no answer to it now. But we are grateful that, after this incident, our brothers and sisters never cease praying for one another and lifting each other up with words of encouragement."

Qiang (name changed), a Christian who was part of a house church that was raided and shut down for "hosting gatherings illegally".

What has changed this year?

Over the last five years, the situation in China has slowly and steadily deteriorated, and the 2024 World Watch List reporting period was no exception. While violence against believers remained rare, church closures and raids continue to happen, with pressure across all parts of life steadily rising. This year, the government passed regulations requiring churches to post signs that read, "Love the Communist Party; Love the country; Love the religion." While this law only impacts state-sanctioned churches and implementation seems uneven, house church leaders are increasingly worried about crackdowns. Parents are increasingly concerned about raising their children in the faith, as attending church is illegal for anyone under 18.

What does Open Doors do to help Christians in China?

Through local partners and churches, Open Doors supports believers in China with discipleship and persecution survival training, helping serve the younger generation of believers, and by providing contextualised Christian literature to believers who have converted from Islam or Buddhism.

How can you pray for China?

  • Pray for wisdom for Christians to know how they should continue to honour and worship God under changing circumstances.
  • Pray for believers who cannot attend church. Pray that God would strengthen their faith and give them courage.
  • Ask God to strengthen and encourage church leaders who are pressured and monitored.
a prayer for China

Father God, we ask that You would be with and bless Your people in China. As the pressure grows, we ask that You would give them a sense of rest and peace—that they would know You are with them. Please help young believers find a way to learn more about You, and for their parents to know how to wisely train their children and share the gospel. We lift up church leaders who are targeted, that they will have courage and wisdom as they care for their congregations. We pray also for believers who have converted from the faith of their family or ethnic group—please help them know they aren't alone. We ask these things in Jesus' name, Amen.

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Persecution Level

Very High

Persecution Type
  • Communist and post-Communist oppression

Population of Christians
96,700,000 (Open Doors estimate)

Main Religion

Communist Party-led state

President Xi Jinping