New reports expose China’s Communist Party agenda for all other religions

Latest attacks target Buddhists, whose spiritual books are confiscated as ‘pornography’

Already engaged in the most severe crackdown on Christianity in more than a decade, the Chinese Communist Party is confiscating Buddhist publications and destroying ancient statues.

Authorities across the country are targeting books by a prominent Buddhist monk, Venerable Master Chin Kung, whose teachings have been banned by the party, reports Bitter Winter magazine, which focuses on human rights in the country.

Authorities with the Religious Affairs Bureau raided a Buddhist meeting hall in Linzhou, confiscated books and buried them.

“A local Buddhist told Bitter Winter that most of the books were by Venerable Master Chin Kung, a 92-year-old monk of Pure Land, a school of Mahayana Buddhism founded by him, revered around the world for propagating intercultural and interfaith harmony. The officials claimed the books were confiscated because the master’s teachings are banned since the CCP labeled them as ‘illegal,’ even ‘heretical,’ ‘indoctrinating believers and affecting China’s mainstream ideology,” the report said.

A month later, a government agency designated a Buddhist hall as an “illegal construction” because it “has not been approved by the government and unlawfully occupied arable land.”

The power was cut, the caretaker driven off and windows and doors were boarded up, the report said.

“According to a villager, the hall was built on a barren hill, and the land had never been used to grow crops. Furthermore, the person in charge had been paying rent for the land to the village committee for ten years before the Buddhist hall was built,” the report said.

The villager said the government “does not allow people to practice their faith, regardless that the Constitution expressly provides for the freedom of religion.”

“If you try reasoning with authorities, they will punish you. We can’t do anything about it,” he told Bitter Winter.

Also, a Buddhist temple in Tai’an was ordered to burn nearly 100 books.

“A local official revealed that the government was inspecting religious venues, and if these books were not burned and discovered by the higher-ups, local leaders would get into serious troubles,” the report said.

Only weeks earlier, the publication reported government officials were out to destroy every Buddhist statue.

One target was the ancient Baiyun Temple on Mount Wutai, one of the four sacred Buddhist mountains in China. It was built during the prosperous Tang Dynasty from A.D. 650 to 755.

“Nearly 180 Buddhist icons in this temple have been demolished in three rounds since May 2019. The official reason given by officials was that they were ‘too tall.’ But a local Buddhist told Bitter Winter that most of these statues were shorter than three meters, some not even a meter in height.”

The monetary damage has been estimated at $1.4 million.

A government official told Bitter Winter that the authorities had spent about 2 million RMB (about $290,000) on the demolition. He added that officials treat the eradication of religious statues as a political issue, and anyone who dares to interfere with it could be arrested.

“The CCP is using taxpayers’ money to crack down on religion – 800,000 RMB [about $110,000] to demolish this particular statue – instead of attending to its duties,” a regular at the Huayan Temple told Bitter Winter.


Original here

Hundreds of Pakistani Christians Sold as Brides to China

Pakistani Christian attend Easter mass at the Christ Church in Karachi on April 1, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / RIZWAN TABASSUM (Photo credit should read RIZWAN TABASSUM/AFP/Getty Images)

Dec 7, 2019

LAHORE, Pakistan (AP) – Page after page, the names stack up: 629 girls and women from across Pakistan who were sold as brides to Chinese men and taken to China. The list, obtained by The Associated Press, was compiled by Pakistani investigators determined to break up trafficking networks exploiting the country´s poor and vulnerable.

The list gives the most concrete figure yet for the number of women caught up in the trafficking schemes since 2018.

But since the time it was put together in June, investigators´ aggressive drive against the networks has largely ground to a halt. Officials with knowledge of the investigations say that is because of pressure from government officials fearful of hurting Pakistan´s lucrative ties to Beijing.

The biggest case against traffickers has fallen apart. In October, a court in Faisalabad acquitted 31 Chinese nationals charged in connection with trafficking. Several of the women who had initially been interviewed by police refused to testify because they were either threatened or bribed into silence, according to a court official and a police investigator familiar with the case. The two spoke on condition of anonymity because they feared retribution for speaking out.

At the same time, the government has sought to curtail investigations, putting “immense pressure” on officials from the Federal Investigation Agency pursuing trafficking networks, said Saleem Iqbal, a Christian activist who has helped parents rescue several young girls from China and prevented others from being sent there.

“Some (FIA officials) were even transferred,” Iqbal said in an interview. “When we talk to Pakistani rulers, they don´t pay any attention. ”

Asked about the complaints, Pakistan´s interior and foreign ministries refused to comment.

Several senior officials familiar with the events said investigations into trafficking have slowed, the investigators are frustrated, and Pakistani media have been pushed to curb their reporting on trafficking. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they feared reprisals.

“No one is doing anything to help these girls,” one of the officials said. “The whole racket is continuing, and it is growing. Why? Because they know they can get away with it. The authorities won´t follow through, everyone is being pressured to not investigate. Trafficking is increasing now.”

He said he was speaking out “because I have to live with myself. Where is our humanity?”

China´s Foreign Ministry said it was unaware of the list.

“The two governments of China and Pakistan support the formation of happy families between their people on a voluntary basis in keeping with laws and regulations, while at the same time having zero tolerance for and resolutely fighting against any person engaging in illegal cross-border marriage behaviour,” the ministry said in a statement faxed Monday to AP´s Beijing bureau.

An AP investigation earlier this year revealed how Pakistan´s Christian minority has become a new target of brokers who pay impoverished parents to marry off their daughters, some of them teenagers, to Chinese husbands who return with them to their homeland. Many of the brides are then isolated and abused or forced into prostitution in China, often contacting home and pleading to be brought back. The AP spoke to police and court officials and more than a dozen brides – some of whom made it back to Pakistan, others who remained trapped in China – as well as remorseful parents, neighbours, relatives and human rights workers.

Christians are targeted because they are one of the poorest communities in Muslim-majority Pakistan. The trafficking rings are made up of Chinese and Pakistani middlemen and include Christian ministers, mostly from small evangelical churches, who get bribes to urge their flock to sell their daughters. Investigators have also turned up at least one Muslim cleric running a marriage bureau from his madrassa, or religious school.

Investigators put together the list of 629 women from Pakistan´s integrated border management system, which digitally records travel documents at the country´s airports. The information includes the brides´ national identity numbers, their Chinese husbands´ names and the dates of their marriages.

All but a handful of the marriages took place in 2018 and up to April 2019. One of the senior officials said it was believed all 629 were sold to grooms by their families.

It is not known how many more women and girls were trafficked since the list was put together. But the official said, “the lucrative trade continues.” He spoke to the AP in an interview conducted hundreds of kilometres from his place of work to protect his identity. “The Chinese and Pakistani brokers make between 4 million and 10 million rupees ($25,000 and $65,000) from the groom, but only about 200,000 rupees ($1,500), is given to the family,” he said.

The official, with years of experience studying human trafficking in Pakistan, said many of the women who spoke to investigators told of forced fertility treatments, physical and sexual abuse and, in some cases, forced prostitution. Although no evidence has emerged, at least one investigation report contains allegations of organs being harvested from some of the women sent to China.

In September, Pakistan´s investigation agency sent a report it labelled “fake Chinese marriages cases” to Prime Minister Imran Khan. The report, a copy of which was attained by the AP, provided details of cases registered against 52 Chinese nationals and 20 of their Pakistani associates in two cities in eastern Punjab province – Faisalabad, Lahore – as well as in the capital Islamabad. The Chinese suspects included the 31 later acquitted in court.

The report said police discovered two illegal marriage bureaus in Lahore, including one operated from an Islamic centre and madrassa — the first known report of poor Muslims also being targeted by brokers. The Muslim cleric involved fled police.

After the acquittals, there are other cases before the courts involving arrested Pakistani and at least another 21 Chinese suspects, according to the report sent to the prime minister in September. But the Chinese defendants in the cases were all granted bail and left the country, say activists and a court official.

Activists and human rights workers say Pakistan has sought to keep the trafficking of brides quiet so as not to jeopardize Pakistan´s increasingly close economic relationship with China.

China has been a steadfast ally of Pakistan for decades, particularly in its testy relationship with India. China has provided Islamabad with military assistance, including pre-tested nuclear devices and nuclear-capable missiles.

Today, Pakistan is receiving massive aid under China´s Belt and Road Initiative, a global endeavour aimed at reconstituting the Silk Road and linking China to all corners of Asia. Under the $75 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor project, Beijing has promised Islamabad a sprawling package of infrastructure development, from road construction and power plants to agriculture.

The demand for foreign brides in China is rooted in that country´s population, where there are roughly 34 million more men than women – a result of the one-child policy that ended in 2015 after 35 years, along with an overwhelming preference for boys that led to abortions of girl children and female infanticide.

A report released this month by Human Rights Watch, documenting trafficking in brides from Myanmar to China, said the practice is spreading. It said Pakistan, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Myanmar, Nepal, North Korea and Vietnam have “all have become source countries for a brutal business.”

“One of the things that is very striking about this issue is how fast the list is growing of countries that are known to be source countries in the bride trafficking business,” Heather Barr, the HRW report´s author, told AP.

Omar Warriach, Amnesty International´s campaigns director for South Asia, said Pakistan “must not let its close relationship with China become a reason to turn a blind eye to human rights abuses against its own citizens” – either in abuses of women sold as brides or separation of Pakistani women from husbands from China´s Muslim Uighur population sent to “re-education camps” to turn them away from Islam.

“It is horrifying that women are being treated this way without any concern being shown by the authorities in either country. And it´s shocking that it´s happening on this scale,” he said.

Associated Press writers Munir Ahmed and Shahid Aslam in Islamabad contributed to this report.

China: Preaching in the face of persecution

By Sam Campbell, Voices Contributor

He’d heard the Gospel all his life while growing up in a Christian home in China. His family even hosted services and church activities at their house.

But it wasn’t until he was an adult, while attending an evangelical meeting, that Yuanbo gave his life to Christ. Since Christians face tremendous pressure and persecution in China, we’ve changed his name to keep him safe.

And while Yuanbo didn’t mind the risk, he knew something was missing. A road map … a written guide to direct his new life.

Yuanbo was missing a Bible.

God’s Word is extremely rare in China, but he asked the Lord to provide him with his own copy. Then, one day, the Lord answered his prayers. Yuanbo treasured his new Bible above all his other possessions.

In his profession as a clock and watch repairman, he would often visit clients’ homes to make repairs. One day, a church meeting was taking place at a home where he was working. The guests knew Yuanbo owned a Bible, so they began pleading with him to share the Word of God with them.

But Yuanbo had never shared the Gospel before. He didn’t know how, and he didn’t feel qualified. Still, the guests kept insisting. So, Yuanbo put down his tools, took out his Bible, and began reading. He didn’t know how to convey the Gospel message, but he just kept reading.

And something clicked.

Yuanbo knew he didn’t fully understand the passage. He knew he probably fumbled through most of the verses. But it didn’t matter. He could see the yearning in their faces. The desire to know God’s Word. And that was the spark that set Yuanbo’s heart on fire for the Lord.

Yuanbo sold his repair shop about a year later. He walked away from a reliable job and consistent paycheck to pursue a career in ministry. He completed a theological training course and soon began evangelizing and planting churches.

Yuanbo was able to establish many house churches over the next few years … then came the persecution.

Doors were kicked down. Windows smashed. Christians harassed. Police raided churches and confiscated everything inside. They forbade members to meet. Several of the pastors were even arrested and sent to prison.

Knowing Yuanbo would be severely punished for being a leader, the church elders and congregation members quickly sought to protect him, his wife, and their three children. They were sent to live with relatives in another province.

Still, Yuanbo’s faith stood strong.

He worked even harder over the next eight years, partnering with other church planters and pastors to establish 12 new house churches. Yuanbo’s ministry continued to flourish. Soon each church had 20 to 50 members in attendance every week.

But persecution soon found Yuanbo again.

On more than one occasion, Yuanbo was beaten and arrested for his work. He could not escape this time. But he wasn’t afraid. Despite his oppression, he didn’t fear.

Even in the midst of his darkest hours, Yuanbo clung to the words in Matthew 5:10:

“Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

Today, Yuanbo continues to preach and share the Gospel even though a fresh wave of persecution is now sweeping throughout China. Just this month, a church large enough for 3,000 people was demolished and the pastors detained for “gathering a crowd to disturb social order.”

Our organization, World Help, works with many Christians in China who have reported increasing raids on house churches, destruction of crosses and other religious symbols, and other various forms of persecution.

The truth is, most of us will never have to experience persecution like this. We don’t have to worry about police storming our churches during services. We don’t have to hide our faith. In fact, many of us have multiple copies of the Bible lying around our houses.

Will you take some time to pray for Yuanbo and other Chinese Christ-followers who are taking a stand for Christ even in the midst of suffering and human rights abuses?

Sam Campbell writes for World Help, a Christian humanitarian organization serving the physical and spiritual needs of people in impoverished communities around the world. To learn more about World Help’s work with persecuted Christians, click here.

China bans African students from worshiping in churches to prevent ‘foreign infiltration’

By Leah MarieAnn Klett, Christian Post Reporter

The Chinese government has banned African international students from worshiping in Christian churches under the pretext of “preventing foreign infiltration through religion,” a persecution watchdog group has revealed.A group of over 80 African students who are residing in a city in the northeastern province of Liaoning told Chinese persecution watchdog Bitter Winter that in September, the person in charge of the Three-Self church that they attended received a government order prohibiting foreigners from participating in gatherings at the church.“We just want to have a place to congregate,” one student told the outlet.

A Chinese believer at the church said that at an “anti-religious infiltration” symposium held by the local government in August, the officials questioned the person in charge of the church about foreign-related activities.

Shortly after the symposium, the international students were driven out of the church.

“In our hearts, we were unwilling to see them leave,” the Chinese believer said.

The government also pressured or threatened other Christian meeting venues. When the African students asked to be allowed to attend gatherings at another Three-Self church, they were turned down.

A similar incident occurred at a university in the central province of Hubei, where a church attended by over 40 African students received repeated threats from government officials who demanded the church’s director drive out the international students.

The students now are forced to worship in secret, disguising their gatherings like birthday parties, according to Bitter Winter.

One of the students said that he doesn’t understand how the government can claim that there is “freedom of belief” in China. “I don’t understand why China’s rulers won’t allow foreigners to hold religious gatherings,” the student said. “This has forced us to practice our faith in hiding.”

Bitter Winter also revealed that universities in the provinces of Heilongjiang, Jilin, Henan, and elsewhere are required to investigate the religious status of international students and teachers.

An administrator at a university in Jiujiang, a prefecture-level city in the southeastern province of Jiangxi, said that the government secretly monitors African students.

“If any people are discovered to be too close to them, both parties will be watched and investigated. But most African students are completely unaware that they’re being monitored,” the administrator explained.

“As soon as African students are discovered attending gatherings at house churches or spreading the Gospel to other students, they will be expelled from the school immediately,” the administrator said.

According to the administrator, the school has already expelled one African student for preaching the Gospel to Chinese classmates. The student was later deported to his home country.

Under Chinese law, foreigners are prohibited from setting up religious organizations or proselytizing in China, although the law wasn’t enforced until President Xi Jinping took office in 2012, according to the South China Morning Post. 

Recently, 13 South Korean families living in China as part of a mission group were deported after Communist officials decided their presence in the country was “illegal” due to their evangelistic work.

China is ranked 27th on Open Doors USA’s World Watch List of 50 countries where it’s most difficult to be a Christian.

In recent years, the Communist Party government has banned online sales of Bibles, leveled churches, and arrested hundreds of Christians for “inciting subversion of state power.”

In July, it was reported that since the Regulations on Religious Affairs legislation was implemented last year, schools around China have taught children that Christianity is an “evil cult.”

China orders 10 Commandments replaced with Xi’s quotes

Latest move to take Christianity out of society

September 21, 2019

There have a number of times around the United States in recent years that the 10 Commandments have been ordered to be taken down.

Like in the judicial building in the state of Alabama. And sometimes in schools.

Wouldn’t want those children reading something like “Thou shalt not steal.” Who knows, they might remember it and follow it.

Actually, under the law in most cases, the biblical injunctions are considered part of the history of the nation and can be posted as long as there are other historical documents or sayings posted with them.

Now, however, another government has ordered the 10 Commandments taken down.

According to a report from the worldwide Christian ministry to persecuted church members, Barnabas Aid, China’s authorities have said they have to come down.

And they’ll be replaced with quotations from President Xi.

The report said the move already is taking effect for churches in China’s central province of Henan.

“Every state-registered ‘three-self’ church and meeting venue in one county of Luoyang, a prefecture-level city, received an order to remove the ten biblical commandments from display as part of the authorities’ on-going campaign to ‘sinicise’ (make Chinese) Christianity,” the report said.

“Some churches that refused to obey have been shut down and other congregations have been told their members will be ‘blacklisted,’ meaning the travel, education and employment options of Christians will be restricted by the authorities,” the report continued.

The ministry, which is at work in more than 60 nations around the globe, mostly where Christianity is marginalized or persecuted, said a pastor from a state-registered church told the Bitter Winter publication the replacement is a copy of excerpts from Xi Jinping’s speeches.

The churches also have faced orders to replace their crosses with the Chinese flag and the installation of surveillance cameras to spy on members.

China’s efforts to exorcise “God” from society haven’t stopped with actions against churches, although in one extreme case “authorities ordered a registered church in Dongcun village, Henan province to erase the First Commandment, ‘You shall have no other gods before me,’ from the Ten Commandments on display in front of the pulpit, saying it was ‘national policy.'”

The country also has ordered the words “Bible, “God” and “Christ” removed from classic novels such as Robinson Crusoe.


Original here

Now ‘God’ gets yanked from children’s classics

‘Bible’ suffering same fate

(Image courtesy Pixabay)

“Robinson Crusoe,” “The Little Match Girl” and other classic children’s stories are being edited in China to exclude references to God and the Bible.

According to Barnabas Fund, a global Christian ministry that focuses on the persecuted church, it’s part of a move to eliminate references to the Christian faith nationwide.

“The popular stories are among four works by foreign writers to feature in a new Chinese school textbook for fifth grade pupils, aged around 11, that offers students an ‘understanding of other cultures,’ according to the Ministry of Education,” Barnabas Fund said.

Daniel Defoe’s 1718 classic “Robinson Crusoe” notes that the castaway searched “among the wreckage of his ship to rescue three Bibles.”

The Chinese version says Crusoe saved “a few books.”

Danish writer Hans Christian Anderson said in his 1845 short story “The Little Match Girl” that “when a star falls, a soul goes to be with God.”

Now that person “leaves this world.”

Anton Chekhov’s story “Vanka” receives similar treatment, with a section about a prayer in church eliminated and every mention of the word Christ erased.

Last year, the communist regime controlling China cracked down on the sales of Bibles in stores and online.

And single-word online searches for “Bible” have dropped to zero.

The moves followed the government’s “White Paper” on religion, which introduced new policies “to reinterpret Christianity according to secular socialist views.”

“The ‘five-year plan’ outlines measures to enforce the selective interpretation of Scripture in such a way as to affirm and promote ‘the core values of socialism’ within all Christian faith communities and forms of worship,” Barnabas said.

The nation’s laws allow religious organizations to produce publications such as the Bible but not for “public distribution.”

“The communist government recognizes only state-registered Protestant and Roman Catholic churches, officially admitting to the existence of around 22 million Christians, although there may be as many as 100 million Christians when figures for ‘underground’ churches are included,” Barnabas said.

The report said that by 2030, there could be more than 160 million Christians in China.

Original here


‘God’s Double Agent’ Talks About The Explosion Of Christianity During Increased Chinese Persecution

“In this war, in Xinjiang, in Shanghai, in Beijing, in Chengdu, the rulers have chosen an enemy that can never be imprisoned—the soul of man.”

‘God’s Double Agent’ Talks About The Explosion Of Christianity During Increased Chinese Persecution

July 18, 2019

Although China is under the rule of the atheist Chinese Community Party, it has seen a rapid growth of its Christian population, at an impressive rate of 10 percent annually for the past four decades. It is predicted that China will have more Christians than the United States by 2030.

However, under Chinese President Xi Jinping, the persecution of Christians and other religious believers has also intensified. That’s the sobering message Pastor Bob Fu, founder of China Aid, delivered at last weekend’s Western Conservative Summit, the largest conservative gathering in the west region. I had the opportunity to interview Fu at the summit.

Before he became a pastor, Fu told me, his life was already full of God’s miracles. During China’s Great Famine (1959-1962), a disaster caused by Chairman Mao Zedong’s ruinous agricultural and industrial policies, there was very little food in the village where Fu’s family lived. When Fu wasn’t born yet, his young mom took his two older siblings, carrying one on her back and holding the hands of the other one, and walked to a nearby city to beg for food.

Under the strict food rationing, people in the city were starving too. Yet there were always kind people willing to share a bowl of soup or a warm steam bun with this hunger-stricken young family. An estimated 20-30 million Chinese people perished due to starvation as a result of the famine, but Fu’s mom and his two older siblings miraculously survived.

Fu was born in Shandong province on the eastern coast of China. In 1989, he led a group of college students from Liaocheng University in Shandong to participate in the pro-democracy protests in Tiananmen Square. Three days before the Chinese government sent troops and tanks to the Square, Fu had to take his sick girlfriend Heidi (who later became his wife) back to Shandong. Had they stayed in Beijing, they might not have survived the June 4 massacre.

Back at school, Fu and his friends were investigated by local public security officials. Fortunately, none of them were thrown into jail. But they had to write confessions and self-criticism every day, not being able to resume their classes. Some of his friends broke down under this enormous pressure and started lying about their activities. Fu felt a great sense of betrayal. He was angry, depressed, resentful, and even suicidal.

When Fu Discovered Christianity

It was at this time that an American English teacher gave him a biography of Xi Shengmo, a 19th-century Chinese Christian. The book was a God-sent gift. This verse in the book, “If anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: the old has gone, the new is here!” (Corinthians 5:17) struck Fu especially.

He had hoped to help build a democratic China through the pro-democracy movement. But now he realized that he shouldn’t put his trust in mankind. He was also aware that he couldn’t build anything new when he was so angry and resentful. Before he sought any rebirth for China, he must seek his own rebirth in Christ and put his faith in God.

Fu became a Christian. He was no longer angry and resentful. Instead, he was full of peace and joy, even when he had to write another false, forced confession. But his new cheerfulness caused suspicion. Not long after, the Communist Party secretary of the school invited Fu for a “conversation.” Instead of his normal harsh criticism, the party secretary, not aware of Fu’s spiritual rebirth, was gentle this time and kept asking Fu whether he was alright.

Later, Fu found out that the party secretary thought Fu might have gone crazy after the constant interrogation and confession. Not wanting to have to deal with an insane college student, the party secretary decided to go easy on Fu.

God’s blessing kept opening new doors for Fu. He was able to attend one of China’s top universities for a master’s degree, thus avoiding the post-Tiananmen persecution. Upon graduation, he got a job teaching English at Central Party School in Beijing. With such a safe government job as a cover, Fu actively participated in the house-church movement.

By day, he taught ABCs to a group of atheists who had no idea of Fu’s pro-democracy activism and his religious beliefs. At night, he led sermons and preached the gospel in various house churches in Beijing, the heart of Communist China. This double agent type of life later gave him the title to his biography, “God’s Double Agent.”

The Chinese Government Caught On

Eventually, the Chinese government discovered what Fu was up to. He and his wife were thrown into jail for a few months for “illegal evangelizing.” Both lost their jobs. Not long after, Fu’s wife Heidi became pregnant. The couple were concerned that Fu’s political activity and multiple arrests meant Fu couldn’t get the Chinese government’s permission to have this child nor citizenship for the child once born. With the assistance of friends and lots of personal audacity, Fu and his wife escaped to Hong Kong and later came to the United States as political refugees.

Fu founded China Aid in 2002, “an international non-profit Christian human rights organization committed to promoting religious freedom and the rule of law in China.” He believes that “by exposing the abuses, encouraging the abused, and spiritually and legally equipping the leaders to defend their faith and freedom, China Aid strives to promote religious freedom for all.”

I asked Pastor Fu how bad the persecution of Christians is in China. He told me that their situations has gotten much worse under China’s president for life, Xi Jinping. Fu showed pictures of churches in China being demolished. He talked about the Chinese government’s “Sinicization” of churches: in government-sanctioned churches in China, photos of Xi and Chairman Mao are hanging next to a cross. Before a church service, these congregations usually sing China’s national anthem and songs praising Xi. Churchgoers are told to be patriots and trust the Communist Party first. People who are younger than 18 are forbidden to attend church services.

What worries Fu the most is the persecution of Christians. He mentioned that Pastor John Cao, a permanent U.S. resident who has built a number of schools for ethnic minorities in some of China’s most impoverished regions, was arrested in China in 2017 and sentenced to seven years in prison.

Religious Persecution Tightens Its Grip

Right before Christmas last year, Chinese authorities arrested Pastor Wang Yi and more than 100 members of the Early Rain Covenant Church in Southwest China. Wang was charged with “subverting state power,” a charge that can carry up to a 15-year sentence in prison. In a letter sent from the jail, Wang wrote that the “persecution against the Lord’s church and against all Chinese people who believe in Jesus Christ is the most wicked and the most horrendous evil of Chinese society. This is not only a sin against Christians. It is also a sin against all non-Christians.”

China Aid has been at the forefront of exposing these persecutions and rescuing persecuted Christians and human rights activists in China. China Aid’s most high-profile case involved helping the blind lawyer Chen Guangcheng to escape from China to the United States. Fu translated Chen’s appeal to travel to the United States in a special congressional hearing. Fu told me that China Aid is actively helping a few Christians and their families to escape further persecution in China.

I asked him what Americans can or should do to help. He said, first, the U.S. government needs to talk more openly and forcefully about the Chinese government’s persecution of religious believers, including Christians and Muslims. Second, the U.S. government should incorporate support for religious freedom into its foreign policy. Third, he would like to see the U.S. government use the Global Magnitsky Act to sanction Chinese government officials who persecute religious believers.

My final question to him was why the number of Christians continues to grow despite the government’s relentless persecution. Fu credited it as one of God’s miracles. He also pointed out there is a faith vacuum in China: after the disastrous three decades under Chairman Mao, even the Communist Party doesn’t really believe in Communism anymore.

The wealthier Chinese people get, the more they seek to understand life and faith. The government’s persecution has unintended consequences. When family, friends, and neighbors witness how peaceful, joyful, and loving Christians are in spite of their persecution, these nonbelievers are inspired to become Christians too.

Early Rain Covenant Church is a good example. After a government raid and the arrest of Pastor Wang and some of its members, the church has not disappeared. Remaining members continue to meet in small groups in restaurants and parks.

Before his arrest, Wang said in a sermon, “In this war, in Xinjiang, in Shanghai, in Beijing, in Chengdu, the rulers have chosen an enemy that can never be imprisoned—the soul of man. Therefore they are doomed to lose this war.” Fu agrees. He told me Christians in China are winning because God is on their side.

Helen Raleigh is a senior contributor to The Federalist. An immigrant from China, she is the owner of Red Meadow Advisors, LLC, and an immigration policy fellow at the Centennial Institute in Colorado. She is the author of several books, including “Confucius Never Said” and “The Broken Welcome Mat.” Follow Helen on Twitter @HRaleighspeaks, or check out her website: