Every five years, all of China grinds to a halt as the Chinese Communist Congress takes place. The weeklong meeting determines the Party leadership and its policy direction. The Congress last month resulted in the appointment of President Xi Jinping to a historic third five-year term as Party general secretary.
In the decades preceding Xi’s leadership, China had experimented on collective leadership. However, since Xi’s appointment in 2012, he has consolidated all power to himself and rivals have been pushed out. In 2018, he abolished the presidential two-term limit. Western editorials have nicknamed him, “Emperor Xi”; and Xi Jinping is now said to be the most powerful Chinese leader since Mao Zedong.
Under the current leadership, China has pursued an aggressive nationalism powered by the world’s second biggest economy and military expansion with global aspirations. Moreover, his reelection spelled continued tensions between China and the West in the foreseeable future.
While the rest of the world has shifted to learning to live with the pandemic, Xi remains determined to beat it via the zero-COVID policy. This has proven disastrous and unpopular at home. Since March this year alone, China has had partial or full lockdowns in 152 cities affecting 280 million citizens. Beijing is the only major city that has not suffered a lockdown. These incessant and sudden lockdowns that go on for weeks and months have led to food shortages, crippled the healthcare system, and plummeted property prices. Economic growth has shrunk to 3%, the lowest in over thirty years.
More worrisome, anger is brewing among the people. In September, residents were forbidden to leave their homes in Chengdu during lockdown even in the midst of an earthquake. Many expected the Congress to retract the zero-COVID policy.
This dire situation is never easy for Christian churches. Our Every Nation pastors report that this rule has also seen the worst persecution of the Chinese Church in the last twenty years—church buildings demolished, crosses torn down, properties confiscated, and pastors jailed. This despite the Chinese constitution’s guarantee of “freedom of religious belief.” Nevertheless, Christianity continues to grow exponentially. A recent study by Notre Dame estimates the number of Christians at over 100 million despite the circumstances.
Therein lies the hope of China. In the land of Communist rulership, the kingdom of God grows like a mustard seed.
- Let us stand in the gap for the nation of China and its leaders. Let us pray that a spirit of peace and reconciliation will replace the hostile and war footing of its current leadership.
- Ask God for a desire among the Communist Party leadership to help establish a world of peace, unity, and harmony. Pray that God would reveal Himself supernaturally to its leaders.
- Ask God to continue to release a spirit of revival on the land. May the current climate of persecution result in a greater hunger for God and the truth of His word.
- Intercede for courage for Christian pastors as they lead their churches through these difficult times. Pray for protection over churches and its members. Intercede for the continued explosive growth of the Church in China and the preaching of the gospel.
Every Nation is a global family of churches and campus ministries, of which Victory is a founding member.
We are called to make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:19). This is the reason we value world missions as a church and persistently pray for the nations every month.
To learn more about this situation, you can check the news and resources in the links below.
- BBC article about the unfolding plans of Xi Jinping’s political party
- BBC explainer on China’s Communist Party Congress
- Inquirer article on how Xi Jinping’s win solidifies his grip at party congress
- New York Times explainer on China’s Zero-Covid approach
- Inquirer opinion piece on China’s modernization and its possible effects on relations with the Philippines