China blocked many registered churches’ WeChat accounts after a recent crackdown on online Christian content.
Those banned accounts on WeChat, China’s main social media platform, are owned by many TSPM approved churches in Beijing, Shanghai, Chongqing, Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Guangdong, Heilongjiang, Jilin, and Yunnan.
The official account of Beijing Haidian Church, one of the official flagship churches in the country, was removed around Monday. Probably on the same day, Shanghai Pure Heart Church, formerly known as "The First Presbyterian Church of Shanghai", suffered the same fate.
Other official church accounts that were likely blocked on Monday include Beijing Zhushikou Church, Chongqing Holy Grace Church, Huai'an Church of Jiangsu Province, Nanjing Holy Word Church of Jiangsu Province, and Zhuhai Meihua Church of Guangdong Province; they all lost their WeChat accounts.
It is said that an old batch of church accounts were shut down during the last weekend of May and even earlier in late April.
The clampdown on Christianity within cyberspace was launched in late April. On April 29, several popular Christian WeChat accounts with “Bible” or “gospel” related titles were closed down.
Some Christian public accounts on WeChat, mostly pertaining to Christian books and publishing, were banned on Monday.
Hangzhou Chongyi Church of Zhejiang Province issued a notice on Tuesday saying that daily messaging updates on its WeChat portal will cease until July, and during the suspension period, the updates will move to its official website. The megachurch recommends followers subscribe to its new service account to “prevent any disconnection”, urging members to pray for its messaging ministry. However, people can still make an appointment for Sunday service on the social media platform in accordance with COVID-19 preventive measures.
Apart from church accounts, “Today’s Nanjing Union Life”, the WeChat page of Nanjing Union Theological Seminary, the only national Protestant seminary in China, has not been available since Monday.
Any search using keywords including “Christ (jidu in Chinese)”, “gospel”, and “fellowship” fails to get any Christianity-related public accounts. Those keywords seem to be blocked on WeChat.