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Chinese Government Cracks Down on Leading Christian Prayer App, Bans It From Download

Photo by Jenny Smith/Unsplash
Photo by Jenny Smith/Unsplash

In China, the Bible is not safe. In fact, even Christian apps are on the chopping block.

The latest app to face the axe is Pray.com, a platform filled with faith-based content, daily Bible-reading plans, and spiritual development programs. The app, according to a press release issued this week, is being removed from the Apple App Store in mainland China.

Listen to them on the latest episode of “Quick Start”:

Its removal from the App Store in the communist country falls under the purview of China’s “Measures for the Administration of Internet Religious Information Services,” which went into effect in March 2022.

According to the Congressional-Executive Commission on China, an independent agency of the U.S. government monitoring human rights in China, the restrictions put in place in 2022 require a government-issued permit to post religious content and outright ban the online airing of religious ceremonies, events, and worship services.

The removal of the Pray.com app comes ahead of the National Day of Prayer on May 2.

“Since starting Pray.com, we’ve grown accustomed to positive relations with China,” said co-founder Michael Lynn. “President Xi [Jinping] has allowed for the printing of nearly 150 million Bibles per year, and [former] President [Donald] Trump ensured that Bibles were exempt from Chinese tariffs.”

Steve Gatena, founder and CEO of Pray.com, said in the press release that he and his team are “exploring alternative avenues to deliver our content and services to people in mainland China.”

“As we work on a solution,” he said, “I want to personally extend an invitation to President Xi Jinping to join us for this year’s National Day of Prayer event in Washington, D.C.”

CBN News has reached out to Pray.com and will update this story with any statements from the ministry.

The Chinese government is no stranger to censorship.

Under Xi’s regime, the Chinese Communist Party is even reportedly rewriting Scripture and calling Jesus a “sinner.”

According to The Voice of the Martyrs, a watchdog monitoring Christian persecution around the world, the CCP announced in 2019 it would begin the process of “updat[ing] the Bible to ‘keep pace with the times.'”

“The revisions will include adding ‘core socialist values’ and removing passages that do not reflect communist beliefs,” VOM said. “In a textbook for high school students released in September 2020, the authors included a passage from John 8, as revised in their new version.”

Last year, as CBN News reported, Chinese officials are testing out an app that would require citizens to pre-register before attending religious services.

“This spring, in Henan province, they rolled out an app to get approval to go to any kind of religious service,” said Todd Nettleton of VOM. “What that means is, you need to have the app on your phone.”

“You need to pre-register in order to go to a religious gathering, give the Chinese government all of your information, tell them who you are, where you live, your ID information, and so forth,” he added.

You can read more about that here.

***As the number of voices facing big-tech censorship continues to grow, please sign up for Faithwire’s daily newsletter and download the CBN News app, to stay up-to-date with the latest news from a distinctly Christian perspective.***

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