Archive for the China Category

China Cracking Down on House Churches Leading Up to Games

Posted in China with tags , , , , , , on June 9, 2008 by Mike

The Christian Post is reporting that China is intensifying its crack down on “illegal” house churches.

[A] report, entitled “China: Persecution of Protestant Christians in the Approach to the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games,” by U.K.-based Christian Solidarity Worldwide and U.S.-based China Aid Association, provides information on different tactics used by the government to restrict the religious freedom of Christians.

“While Chinese house churches have long suffered persecution, this is believed to be the first time that the authorities have systematically cracked down on the ‘third wave churches,’” the report noted. “These are churches amongst the more educated and wealthy sections of society with greater awareness of their rights, which generally meet in urban areas and have been tolerated, even though operating under certain restrictions.”

Tactics used to crack down on unregistered Christians include: targeting well-established unregistered churches; sending landlords directives ordering them to not rent space to those engaging in religious activities; charging Christians in the Xinjiang region of separatism; expelling foreign Christians; targeting repression at the Chinese House Church Alliance; and carrying out the largest mass sentencing of house church leaders in 25 years.

The report also highlights the “disturbing news” that some house church Christians were arrested and fined for trying to help victims of the massive earthquake in Sichuan Province.

More on Graham’s Remarks

Posted in China with tags , , , , , on May 20, 2008 by Mike

More on the controversy surrounding Franklin Graham’s comments discouraging “illegal” evangelism in China during the Olympics. From CNS News:

John Whitehead, president of The Rutherford Institute, a conservative civil liberties organization, had strong words for Graham, saying his comments “compromise the Christian faith.”

“The activities of Christ were considered illegal, but that didn’t stop Him,” he said. “Jesus could have avoided the cross, but God’s Word was too important to compromise. The activities of Paul were considered illegal, but he refused to be put off. He suffered beatings and spent much time in jail because he saw the Gospel of Christ as too important to be silenced. And the Apostle Peter was very clear that we should obey God, rather than men.”

Whitehead said that any law restricting the Gospel is void and of no effect. He expressed concern that statements like Graham’s may “actually give the Chinese government the impetus to continue its persecution of Chinese Christians.”

“Until evangelical Christians decide that the faith should be proclaimed loudly and boldly with compassion, no matter where they may be, the moral morass of the world will only get worse,” he said.

Franklin Graham Opposes Evangelism During Olympics

Posted in China with tags , , , , on May 16, 2008 by Mike

According to the Christian Post, Franklin Graham is facing criticism because of recent comments he made while visiting China.

The eldest son of renowned evangelist Billy Graham said he opposed missionary work during the Games because it is prohibited under Chinese law, and he does not encourage anything illegal.

In response, a respected religious freedom activist defended Chinese house church Christians as “law-abiding, patriotic citizens” who are not doing anything wrong except following their faith which teaches them to share the Good News of Jesus Christ.

“[Christians] cannot and will not [concede] to a ‘faith moratorium’ in order to please an atheistic government during the Olympic Games, even if that means enduring imprisonment and torture,” said Bob Fu, president of China Aid Association, in a statement on Wednesday.

China Cracking Down Ahead of Olympics

Posted in China with tags , , , on March 16, 2008 by Mike

BP Sports is reporting that China seems to be in the midst of a crackdown on Christians before the Olympics.

“We seem to be seeing a crackdown ahead of the Olympics. Whether that’s to send a message to the church to lay low or whether it is to make sure that anybody who might cause international embarrassment is taken care of ahead of time, I don’t know,” Todd Nettleton, a spokesman for Voice of the Martyrs, told Baptist Press. “But we do see an increase in the level of arrests, the level of house church services being raided, that sort of activity.

“We also have seen a number of foreigners who are Christians who, when the time came to renew their visa they have been denied a new visa and told that they had to leave the country,” Nettleton added. “So it’s happening both amongst the house churches of native Chinese people as well as foreign Christians who are living and working in China. They’re finding that they’re no longer welcome.”

Exiled Chinese Pastor Has Guarded Hopes

Posted in China with tags , , , , , on March 7, 2008 by Mike

The Rev. Bob Fu of the Chinese Aid Association says in the Ecumenical News International that while the relative freedom that Chinese Christians might experience the year of the Beijing Olympics could be short-lived, he has high hopes for the future.

Concerning religious harrassment in China in 2008, Fu noted, “It may decrease a little, in terms of cases of persecution, given the Olympic diplomacy and image-making gestures.” These efforts had trigged in him a desire that the statements about religious freedom of the Chinese leadership would be translated into genuine policy instead of being temporary diplomatic manoeuvres.

“I am very hopeful and optimistic for the future of the Christian faith in China. And I think eventually in the next two decades or so, China will become a world Christian hub for the 21st century,” Fu told ENI.

Chinese Police Confiscate, Burn House Church Bibles

Posted in China with tags , , , , , on January 31, 2008 by Mike

BosNewsLife is reporting that several Chinese Christians were beaten by Chinese police last week when they tried to recover Bibles that had been confiscated from a house church in December 2007.

“After ignoring the members’ request, officials proceeded to violently remove them from the office. One female church member, 54-year-old Liang Guihua, was thrown into a wall and rendered unconscious for more than 10 minutes,” the group claimed. “After the assault the members went to a local hospital for evaluation.”

The organization said that authorities “have now resorted to the burning of Bibles…to hinder the growth of the House Church [movement] in China.” China’s government has denied human rights abuses, saying Christians are free to worship with the official Protestant and Catholic churches. However rights groups say most of China’s estimated 130 million Christians prefer to worship outside government control in homes of believers.

Read the entire article here.

Chinese Christians Hold Huge Gathering

Posted in China with tags , , , , on January 24, 2008 by Mike

New America Media is reporting that over 5,000 Chinese Christians met in Hong Kong for a Gospel of China conference.

“It’s the first time we held this conference out of the United States,” said Jingling Qu, executive editor of the [Christian Life] Quarterly. “The audience number doubled that of our former conferences.”

Christians from the mainland spread all over Hong Kong for board and lodging. Due to a shortage of hotel rooms, they filled churches – lying in sleeping bags at night and took shuttle buses to the three-day meeting at Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Center, where the ceremonial transfer of the sovereignty of Hong Kong between the British and Chinese governments was held in 1997.

According to Christian Times, a Chinese-language weekly based in Hong Kong, a film documenting the hard lives of migrant workers, AIDS patients who got the disease by blood-transmission and homeless people was played at the conference. It triggered tears and prayers – especially among people living a similar life. More than half of the audience was from less developed or rural areas of China, where semi-underground home churches thrive. Most of them had never left Mainland China before.