The Chinese government is increasing its crackdown on Christians by actually rewarding citizens that report Christians to the government.
Guangzhou has become the first city to offer up to $1,500 USD to any Chinese citizen that reports “illegal religious activities,” like underground churches or Bible studies, which was recently announced by their ethnic and religious affairs department.
According to the South China Morning Post, the city’s crackdown has come down hardest on unregistered Protestant churches. The government has also demolished Catholic churches, Buddhist temples and Muslim mosques that were not government-approved.
Not only can informants earn between 5,000 and 10,000 Chinese yuan for reporting a religious leader who is not Chinese, but they can also receive 3,000 to 5,000 yuan for reporting a foreign religious group, and 100 to 3,000 yuan for reporting local religious gatherings.
Ying Fuk-Tsang, who is the director of the Divinity School of Chung Chi College at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, said the crackdown is more common than people think and allows for strict social control.
“This will compress the survival space of house churches,” he told the Morning Post. “Not only will they have to deal with the official crackdown but now also the threat from their neighbors.”