Sunday, February 3, 2013

ChinaAid releases 2012 annual report on "Chinese Government Persecution of Christians & Churches in Mainland China"

China Aid Association

(Midland, Tex.--Feb. 4, 2013) Government persecution of Christians and churches in mainland China deteriorated for the seventh straight year, ChinaAid said Monday in its annual report, with the defining characteristic of 2012's persecution being the government's stated intention of eradicating house churches.

Based on information collected by ChinaAid in 2012 on 132 persecution cases involving 4,919 people, the number of people sentenced jumped 125% over the previous year and the incidences of persecution rose 41.9% from 2011.

ChinaAid cited a secret document issued in September 2011 as the reason for the focus in 2012 on eradicating house churches.  Four different measures were used: Forcibly banning and sealing up churches, pressuring churches to join the official “Three-Self” church system, detaining church leaders and sending them to labor camps on the pretext of “suspicion of organizing and using a cult to undermine law enforcement,” and strictly restricting the spread of the Christian faith among students.

The report, however, concludes with an upbeat tone, noting that the political scandal late last year that saw the ouster of rising political star Bo Xilai and the leadership handover at the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party that ushered out the Hu Jintao-Wen Jiabao government ended their era of ultra-leftist ideology.

"ChinaAid is cautiously optimistic," the report said, pointing out that despite the escalating persecution and the political upheaval of 2012 "the church ... is still standing firm, flourishing like the cedars of Lebanon and fruit trees planted by the streams, bearing much fruit at the appointed time."

 

The full text of the report is below.  To see and download the full report including diagrams, go here: https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B_YUgSyiG6aIWUpXdWwtWVJWb00/edit?usp=sharing

 

 

2012 Annual Report

Chinese Government Persecution of

Christians & Churches in Mainland China

January – December 2012


Contents

Preface: 1 Peter 2:21 & Photos of 2012’s Major News Events

I. Summary and Analysis of Government Persecution of Christians and Churches in Mainland China in 2012

II. Chart: Cases of Government Persecution of Christians and Churches in Mainland China in 2012

III. Diagrams Illustrating Government Persecution of Christians and Churches in Mainland China in 2012

Conclusion: Christian churches witness the fall of the Communist Party’s ultra-leftist political forces


Preface

“To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.”

1 Peter 2:2

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Minister Zhong Shuguang praying in his home in Khotan, Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, where authorities have cut off the electricity.

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ChinaAid founder and president Bob Fu played a crucial role in the dramatic escape and move to the United States of Chinese blind rights defense lawyer Chen Guangcheng. Photo shows Bob Fu speaking with Chen, who was in a hospital in Beijing, on a cell phone at a Congressional hearing presided over by senior congressmen Frank Wolf and Chris Smith that was instrumental in successfully bringing Chen and his family to the United States.

I. Summary and Analysis of Government Persecution of Christians and Churches in Mainland China in 2012

The Year of China’s Breakdown and of the Church’s Sufferance

In 2012, Christians and churches in China experienced a serious comprehensive escalation of government persecution . In comparing the total number of persecution cases, the number of people persecuted, the number taken into custody, the number sentenced, the number of abuse cases and the number of people abused with the same figures for 2011, the total of all six categories rose 13.1% over the previous year. Compared with the statistics in ChinaAid’s past annual reports, this trend of worsening persecution has persisted for the past seven years, with an average annual increase of 24.5% in the total of all six categories of persecution statistics tracked by ChinaAid.

1. Comprehensive Analysis of the Main Characteristics of and Reason Behind 2012 Persecution: To Eradicate House Churches

Persecution in 2012 was not only a continuation of the practice in 2008 and 2009 of “targeting house church leaders and churches in urban areas,” of the strategy in 2010 of “attacking Christian human rights lawyers groups and using abuse, torture and mafia tactics,” and of the focus in 2011 on increasing the intensity of attacks against Christians and house churches with societal impact, but also the new approach of rendering house churches non-functional.

There was a reason for this strategic change. In September 2011, at the State Administration for Religious Affairs’ first training class for “Patriots in the Christian Community,” a secret document issued jointly by SARA and the ministries of Public Security and Civil Affairs was released that addressed the issue of completely eradicating house churches. (http://www.chinaaid.org/2012/04/chinaaid-special-report-chinese.html) Its three main points were:

Phase 1: from Jan. to June 2012, conduct thorough, intensive and secret investigations of house churches throughout the country and create files on them.
Phase 2: in two to three years, concentrate on cleaning up the “house churches” that have been investigated and have had files created.
Phase 3: in 10 years’ time, completely wipe out “house churches.”

Phases 1 and 2 took place in 2012, as evidenced by the information on the cases that ChinaAid has gathered. Throughout China, many house churches and their leaders have had files created on them and were the subjects of targeted suppression. This kind of suppression was not simple punitive suppression, but rather suppression with a clear purpose: to stop churches from functioning. The concrete measures were: Forcibly banning and sealing up churches, pressuring churches to join the official “Three-Self” church system, detaining church leaders and sending them to labor camps on the pretext of “suspicion of organizing and using a cult to undermine law enforcement,” and strictly restricting the spread of the Christian faith among students.

Forcibly banning and sealing up. This so-called “social management” method used in 2012 to break up churches was no longer employed as in the past by the Public Security Bureau, Domestic Security Protection agents and religious affairs departments to suppress churches. Instead, neighborhood committees, village Party committees, housing management departments, municipal administrators in charge of urban cleanup, public health departments, industrial and commercial affairs departments and other functional agencies conducted coordinated crackdowns, using various excuses to harass, interfere with and ban church services. In most cases, they did not take anyone into custody, or detain or sentence, and even if a person was in custody, he was quickly released. The unrelenting persecution of Shouwang Church in the past nearly two years has been conducted in this manner. For example, landlords were pressured to terminate lease agreements with church members, church members who had purchased real estate were unable to take possession of them, church leaders were placed under house arrest and church members were evicted—all of which was done to make it impossible for the house church to operate normally so that it would eventually disband. According to the data collected by Shouwang Church, “by September 2012, because they persisted in attending outdoor worships services, members of Shouwang Church were detained 1,600 times by either Domestic Security Protection agents  in various districts [of Beijing]  or in more 90 different police stations across Beijing (for periods of several hours to 48 hours).   Sixty people were evicted from their homes and more than 10 people lost their jobs because they attended Shouwang Church’s outdoor worship services or simply because they were Shouwang Church members; others were sent back to their hometowns and some believers were confined to their homes on the weekends.” From March to July 2012, Khotan House Church in the region of Xinjiang was also targeted for multiple raids and arrests; electricity was also cut off and some of the facilities for the meetings were destroyed. Three house churches in Dongguan, Guangdong province, were sealed up in August, with water and electricity cut off and the front gate sealed shut. No one was arrested.

Pressuring to join the official “Three-Self” church system: This is another way of ordering house churches to cease operations. For example, in September, after a house church in the town of Jiangzhai in Linquan, Anhui province, held a summer camp, it was dispersed by the local government. Using a carrot-and-stick approach, government officials then tried to persuade the church leaders to join the Three-Self church system. The Dongguan churches that were sealed up in August also experienced this when the government told them to apply for a license, which is also a way of joining the Three-Self system. Another case was that of a house church in Hou village in Lichuan county, Jiangxi province that held a summer camp in August. Shortly thereafter, the person in charge of the church was summoned by police for questioning and the government tried to coerce his church into joining the Three-Self system. Also in August, a house church in the town of Fangji, Gushi county, Henan province, was raided, the person in charge was beaten, and the government also tried to force the church into joining the Three-Self system.

Cracking down on church leaders on the pretext of “suspicion of organizing and using a cult to undermine law enforcement”: This ploy was used frequently in 2012 mainly as a way to forestall public criticism by covering up the government’s illegal actions in cracking down on house churches. In February, two Christians in Yulin, Shaanxi province, were sent to a labor camp on this charge. In April, seven leaders of a house church in Pingdingshan, Henan province, were arrested and tried on this charge (they are still awaiting sentencing). In August, nine Christians from Ulanhot, in the region of Inner Mongolia, were placed under administrative detention for engaging in evangelism while providing free medical services, and two of them were sentenced to two years of re-education-through-labor on this charge. In December, brother Cao Nan of Shenzhen and several other church lay workers were preaching Christmas sermons in a park when he was twice placed under administrative detention. The second time, it was on the pretext of being a member of a “Qigong” cult.

Strictly restricting the spread of Christian faith among students: Last year, ChinaAid obtained a May 15, 2011 directive, “Suggestions for doing a good job of resisting foreign use of religion to infiltrate institutes of higher education and preventing campus evangelism” (Document No. 18) (http://www.chinaaid.org/2012/12/secret-central-committee-document.html), jointly issued by six ministries and commissions of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China. The document’s content was mainly giving directions for preventing and cracking down on Christian evangelism on campuses, using the excuse of “resisting foreign infiltration.” Christianity has become the fastest growing indigenized religion in China and needs no “foreign infiltration,” and this kind of suppression can only accelerate the speed and quality of the spread of the Christian faith. Looked at from a different perspective, this shows that that the Gospel of Christ is already thriving among intellectuals. One of the characteristics of the 2012 persecution was that many summer camps for Christian students were raided and the crackdowns were severe.

Christian churches, especially house churches, and their various evangelistic efforts have already deeply and comprehensively impacted social culture and the people’s ideology. In 2011, the politically ultra-left Hu Jintao-Wen Jiabao government launched “Operation Deterrance” against prominent house churches and Christian leaders, but small house churches still flourished like dandelions in springtime. The new 2012 tactics to “eradicate house churches” try to root out house churches by stressing the long-term nature of the effort and a “gentle approach.” However, just as the Bible warns in saying, “It is hard for you to kick against the goads,” their approach is ignorant. House churches will not be eradicated. What will be eradicated are any ideology and forces that try to resist the truth of Christ.

2. Statistical and schematic analysis of the overall persecution of Christians and churches in 2012

Government persecution of Christians and churches and in China worsened continually in 2012 as compared with 2011. The total of six categories of persecution statistics tracked by ChinaAid (number of persecution cases, number of people persecuted, number detained, number sentenced, the number of abuse cases and the number of people abused) showed an increase of 13.1% over 2011. It should be noted that the information collected by ChinaAid about persecution cases in China is but the tip of the iceberg. Be that as it may, these cases come from most of the provinces and municipalities across China, are diverse, and affected urban and rural house churches, Three-Self churches, Catholic churches, as well as individual Christians, including clergy, human rights lawyers, political dissidents, students and one child policy victim. Taken together, they are sufficient to reflect the overall situation and severity of the persecution suffered by churches and Christians in 2012.

In 2012, ChinaAid collected information on 132 cases of persecution across the country, up 41.9% from 2011. The 4,919 people who were persecuted (442 of whom were clergy) represented a 13.8% increase over the previous year. The 1,441 people who were detained (236 of whom were clergy) was an increase of 11.8% over the previous year. Nine people were sentenced, a 125% jump over the previous year. There were 28 cases of abuse (beating and verbal abuse, torture, and physical and mental abuse), an increase of 16.7% over the previous year. Thirty-seven people were abused, down 51. 3% from the previous year.

Comparing the data in the above six categories – total number of persecution cases, total number of people persecuted, number of people arrested, number of people sentenced, total number of abuse cases, and total number of people abused – the overall situation of persecution can be statistically represented as being 13.1% worse than in 2011, 61.1% worse than in 2010, 85.1% worse than in 2009, 120.4% worse than in 2008, 308.1% worse than in 2007 and 372.7% worse than in 2006.  Please see the table below for details.

 

Comparison by year of persecution nationwide (2006 to 2012)
(1) Table

(To see and download the full report including diagrams, go here: https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B_YUgSyiG6aIWUpXdWwtWVJWb00/edit?usp=sharing)

 

(2) Graph

 

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Having reported on the overall situation of church persecution in mainland China and the five main characteristics of the persecution, the rest of this report will examine the situation in 2012 in greater detail through case studies, statistical analysis and diagrams.

 

II. Chart: Cases of Government Persecution of Christians and Churches in Mainland China in 2012

To see and download the full report including diagrams, go here: https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B_YUgSyiG6aIWUpXdWwtWVJWb00/edit?usp=sharing)

 

III. Diagrams Illustrating Government Persecution of Christians and Churches in Mainland China in 2012

To see and download the full report including diagrams, go here: https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B_YUgSyiG6aIWUpXdWwtWVJWb00/edit?usp=sharing)

 

Conclusion: Christian Churches Witness the Fall of the Communist Party’s Ultra-Leftist Political Forces

Last year, the Hu Jintao-Wen Jiabao central government continued to adhere to an ultra-leftist anti-Christ ideology, sparing no effort in persecuting Jesus Christ’s church in mainland China and plotting and scheming to completely eradicate house churches.

China’s churches, especially house churches and church leaders, suffered greater pressure and persecution last year; they also demonstrated great endurance and perseverance. In this police state where Domestic Security Protection agents run amuck, in a society suffering a serious loss of ethic and morals, and when spiritual pollution is worse than Beijing’s air pollution, only Christ’s church stands out like a lamp in the dark, preserving light, hope and peace like a light in the darkness. Encouragingly, the church’s approach of using the law to defend its rights has become popularized, and the awareness among Christians of using the law to protect their religious rights has risen to an all-time high, both of which can powerfully advance the development of citizenship rights and a civil society in China, as well as bring about improvements in the rule of law. As a Christian human rights organization , ChinaAid’s positive influence on the overall situation has grown day by day, bringing glory to the holy name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

By contrast, less than six months into the so-called ten-year plan to eradicate house churches, a power struggle within the Chinese Communist government ignited by internal factional conflicts in the Bo Xilai-Wang Lijun alliance ultimately resulted in a great shuffle in the power structure and the purging at the end of last year of the ultra-leftist political forces. Like grass in a wildfire, they withered up in the blink of an eye. The church however is still standing firm, flourishing like the cedars of Lebanon and fruit trees planted by the streams, bearing much fruit at the appointed time.

Still, what impact will such a shuffle in the Party’s and the government’s power structure have on religious freedom and the rule of law in China? Around the time of the 18th National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party, the incidences of persecution dropped significantly. There could be two possible explanations: The forced indoctrination of Marxist-Leninist ideology was played down because of the partial victory of violent protests by the people over the Hu-Wen regime’s tyrannical “stability maintenance” measures and because of the “Great China dream” of national resurgence advocated by the new central government of Xi Jinping; or the shockwaves from the conflicts resulting from the handover of power had not yet subsided and there was an urgent need for social stability, so suppression of Christian churches was temporarily eased.

The good news of the new government’s announcement to “end the reform-through-labor system,” the demonstrations and protests that erupted among ordinary people in response to the crude censorship of Southern Weekend’s 2013 New Year’s Greetings, and the ambiguous finale of that incident of “soft handling in public, and settling accounts later in private [i.e., within the newspaper]” (note that the final outcome of the famous artist Ms. Yi Nengjing’s being implicated and “forced to drink tea”—a euphemism for being called in by police for unofficial questioning and threats—to date is still unclear) leave people unable to make a quick assessment of the direction in which the Xi-Li government is headed or how far it can go on the road toward improvements. An overall analysis is that the Xi Jinping government is unlikely to step outside the framework of the principles of the Communist Party, but could take another step on the road to reform in the post-Deng Xiaoping-Jiang Zemin era. Therefore, two very important indicators are whether the new leadership will take the road of the rule of law and whether it will dismantle the Domestic Security Protection apparatus. With regard to this, ChinaAid is cautiously optimistic. Even though it is too early to tell, but we have reason to believe that in 2013, the facts will give us a clearer answer.

ChinaAid founder and president Pastor Bob Fu, said: “House churches in China put their trust neither on potentates nor power, much less in man’s wisdom and intellect. Rather, they trust in the omnipotence of the Holy Spirit and the truth of Jesus Christ. Nothing can separate us from the love of God, neither persecution or freedom, nor poverty or wealth.”

In the coming year, China’s churches will face new challenges, and they will continue to renew people’s hearts, influence society and glorify the holy name of the Lord Jesus Christ.

“May your unfailing love be with us, LORD, even as we put our hope in you.” (Psalm 33: 22)

(END)

Further distribution and posting welcome.

If quoting from this report, please provide proper attribution.

 

 

Download the full report here: https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B_YUgSyiG6aIWUpXdWwtWVJWb00/edit?usp=sharing

 



ChinaAid Contacts

Bob Fu, President | Mark Shan, News Analyst
Tel: 1+ (888) 889-7757 | Cell: (267) 205-5210
Email: Bob@ChinaAid.org | Mark@ChinaAid.org
LA Office: Eddie Romero | Tel: (323) 521-6777 | Email: ChinaAid.LA@gmail.com
Website: www.ChinaAid.org | www.MonitorChina.org

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