As Christmas approaches, Christians in China are still suffering persecution and harassment. Such oppression has been their plight continuously since 1949, when the government of the Republic of China led by the Methodist Chiang Kai-shek fled the mainland for Taiwan and Communist Party Chairman Mao Zedong proclaimed the establishment of the People’s Republic of China.
Though present-day Chinese officials who are eager to maintain a lucrative trading relationship with the West have toned down the overtly brutal purges that resulted in the killing of tens of millions of Chinese under Mao, China remains firmly under the control of the Communist Party. And though the world rarely hears any more about violent Communist Chinese oppression such as was evident under President Yang Shangkun in 1989, when Chinese government troops killed from 250 to 7,000 people during the Tiananmen Square massacre, Christians in China still find it difficult to practice their religion openly.
This Christmas season, reports coming out of southwest China’s Guizhou province tell of a government crackdown that has led to the closing of Christian churches and the arrest of Christian pastors. One such report, in the December 23 Washington Post, provided details of a December 9 government raid on Huoshi Church in Guiyang, Guizhou province, co-pastored by Yang Hua. The Post cited as its source a report translated from the Chinese by China Aid, a Texas-based Christian group that identifies its mission as “exposing human rights abuses and promoting truth, justice and freedom by advocating for religious freedom and the rule of law in China.”
China Aid, in turn, quoted statements posted by Yang’s wife, Wang Hongwu, on Weibo, a popular Chinese social media service. Following the December 9 raid on his church, Pastor Yang was detained by authorities, and his wife received a notice on December 20, stating that Yang is suspected of “illegally holding state secrets” and has been criminally detained.
Wang provided the following details:
Today, I went to pick up Pastor Yang, but I failed. [I] saw four people pushing Yang Hua into a van without a license plate. Pastor Yang put on a black hood, and his mouth might have been sealed. I called out to him, but he didn’t respond. Those four people did not allow me to approach him. They pushed Pastor Yang into the car and sped away. I asked the detention center, and they only said that the department managing him took him away. They could not tell me which department [had taken him]. Then, I went home ... I can only hand everything to the Lord!
China Aid also noted that on December 10 and 15, Yang’s relatives had received notices from the Chinese “public security bureau,” each sentencing him to five days’ administrative detention. The first notice stated that he is suspected of the “crime of obstruction of justice,” and the second accused him of “assembling a crowd to disturb social order.” The report noted that Yang had just completed his second administrative detention sentence when the third charge of “illegally holding state secrets” was announced.
Voice of America (VOA) also reported on the Chinese government’s actions against Huoshi Church, and quoted statements from the church’s lead pastor, Su Tianfu. Since the forced closing of the church by the communist government, congregants are forced to gather in homes.
“Our congregation can only gather in small groups of a few people at home. The church is disallowed to organize any events,” Su told VOA.
“Many of our fellow workers are given no freedom because they're either under the watch of [agents] outside their doors or followed wherever they go,” Su added.
VOA noted that during the past two weeks, Su has frequently been summoned by local police for questioning, with some interrogations lasting up to 10 hours — during which he was suffering pains from kidney stones.
The VOA report noted:
As 2015 draws to a close, many rights groups, including U.S.-based China Aid, have concluded that it has been one of the worst years for religious persecution and human rights abuse in China, with a growing crackdown on Christians, lawyers and dissents.
In a world where the very real threat of Islamic terrorism remains a legitimate concern and is talked about on a daily basis, it is easy to forget about the spectre of the international communist conspiracy, which has seldom been mentioned since the “end” of communism in Russia. Yet, communism remains alive and continues to threaten both religious and political freedom wherever it is in control. Furthermore, Islamic terrorism, itself, is often just a tool of the communists behind the scenes. While this aspect of the terrorist threat is impossible to explain in a short article, as some food for thought, we recommend watching the video posted below, “Communist Training and Control Behind Islamic Terrorism,” recorded by Arthur R. Thompson, CEO of The John Birch Society, last March.
Christianity has always been a target for the atheistic communists, who will use every tool in their arsenal to destroy the religion that stands in their way to world domination. American Christians who wish to defend their faith at home and abroad must remain vigilant about all threats to Christianity, by whatever name.
Photo of Chinese Christians: AP Images