Millions of residents in Shanghai, China, woke up to find that their homes surrounded by large metal fences, put up in the middle of the night by government officials, to keep people from going outside.
Shanghai is in strict lockdown right now, turning the 25 million-strong city into the world’s largest prison.
“We thought that the lockdown was only going to be a couple of weeks,” said one BTJ partner living in Shanghai. “We were not told that it would go on for more than a month.”
Many of the people in Shanghai feel tricked. While the rest of the world, like Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom have abandoned all Covid-19 related restrictions, China is still maintaining a zero-Covid strategy.
In many ways, the Orwellian control that China is implementing is a direct attack on the church. The desire to shut down house churches, stop their influence, and halt their growth is undoubtably calculated into the lockdown strategy.
In 2020, official state churches were told to close their doors for “health reasons” and host their services online. This funneled most Christians in China to join online services and, as soon as that channel was established, the government was then able to maximize their resources toward cyber warfare units which targeted Christians online.
Christians in Shanghai are asking for prayer this week, as they continue to face the challenges of sharing the Gospel during extreme lockdown.