A new reward system is being used in China as a way to crack down on Christians who engage in "illegal religious activities."
Earlier this month, the Meilisi Daur District in Heilongjiang Province's Qiqihar city released "The Reward System For Reporting Illegal Religious Activities Offenses," saying informants could be eligible to receive 1,000 yuan ($150), China Christian Daily reported.
The measure aims to "strengthen the control of illegal religious activities in the district, prevent any COVID-19 cluster resulting from religious gatherings, mobilize the public to engage in preventing, suppressing illegal religious activities, and ensure a harmonious and stable religious landscape," the announcement said.
Those reporting an incident can submit their tip by phone, through email, or by writing a letter.
Reportable offenses include unqualified religious personnel, unauthorized trans-regional activities, preaching and distributing printed religious works, audio-visual products outside places of worship, unauthorized donations, and private house gatherings.
Similar reward systems were offered by the Boshan District in Zibo and Weihai City, Shandong.
"While they do not specify which religion they are targeting, it is self-evident that house churches are being suppressed," remarked persecution watchdog International Christian Concern (ICC).
This is just the latest step taken by the Chinese Communist Party in an effort to assure that all its citizens comply with the edicts and beliefs of the state.
Pastors in China's Three-Self Churches were ordered to adjust their sermons to include parts of a speech made by President Xi Jinping on July 1.
Xi has ordered that all religions must "Sinicize" and remain loyal to the officially atheistic party. China's Christians say it is the worst persecution against them since Chairman Mao Zedong.
The Chinese government also continues to take steps toward removing religious materials from the hands of Christians as the Communist regime strives to eliminate the faith community.
As CBN News reported in May, the government has taken Christian WeChat accounts offline.
Users received the following message when they attempt to gain access:
"(We) received a report that (this account) violates the 'Internet User Public Account Information Services Management Provisions' and its account has been blocked and suspended."
Additionally, Bible Apps have been eliminated from China's App Store and hard copy versions are no longer able to be purchased online.
Hundreds of crosses were removed from church buildings in just one province over a period of four months.
China is ranked 17th on Open Doors' 2021 World Watch List of countries where Christians suffer the most persecution.