Thursday, February 13, 2014

China Aid Association 2013 Persecution Report indicates rising trend in persecution cases

China Aid Association

(Midland, Texas—Feb. 13, 2014) China Aid Association released its 2013 Persecution report today, which states that government persecution against Christians in China had risen 38.82 percent since 2012 based on six categories.

Of the six categories, which include the total number of persecution cases, the number of people persecuted, the number of people detained, the number of people sentenced, the number of abuse cases and the number of people abused, all but one increased between 2 and 50.9 percent. The only category which saw a decrease in percentage was the number of abuse case, which fell 42.9 percent since 2012.

In 2013, ChinaAid documented 143 cases of persecution; 7,424 people were persecuted, representing a 50.9 percent increase since 2012.

ChinaAid revealed in the report that, via access to a government document entitled “Focus of Work of State Administration for Religious Affairs in 2014,” the Chinese government aims to “summarize the practice and experience of regulating the privately set-up Christian meeting places in some regions and explore effective methods of regulating. Also, to attach importance to the job of uniting and liaising with minority religious groups and resolve conflicts and disputes.”

ChinaAid, however, remained hopeful. “House churches in China had a difficult year in 2013, but we won’t lose heart. Oppositely, only in such circumstances can churches be constantly purified, free of blemishes, mature and strong, and prepared for even greater mission. When political regimes and figures, one by one, sink into the long river of history, Jesus Christ’s Church stands tall and firm, and like it was 2,000 years ago; even the power of Hell cannot triumph over it,” Bob Fu, founder and president of ChinaAid, said.

To view and download the full report, including diagrams, visit:
https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B_YUgSyiG6aISmpmVzREQk5XaXM/edit?usp=sharing



2013 Annual Report
Chinese Government Persecution of 
Christians & Churches in Mainland China
January–December 2013


Contents

Preface: 1 Peter 2:9 & Photos of Major Cases

I. Summary and Analysis of Government Persecution of Christians and Churches in Mainland China in 2013

II. Chart: Cases of Government Persecution of Christians and Churches in Mainland China in 2013

III. Diagrams Illustrating Government Persecution of Christians and Churches in Mainland China in 2013

IV. Conclusion: Church Shines Bright in Political Smog and is Purified by the Refining Fire of Persecution


PREFACE

“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.” —1 Peter 2:9


Beijing Shouwang Church has continued to hold its Sunday worship service outdoors since 2011; members of the Church’s young adult fellowship form the shape of a cross.



Xinjiang Uygur Christian house church leader Alimujiang Yimiti has been imprisoned for six years while his wife and two children are waiting for him to come home.

I. SUMMARY AND ANALYSIS OF GOVERNMENT PERSECUTION OF CHRISTIANS AND CHURCHES IN MAINLAND CHINA IN 2013

The Year of “Political Smog” and of the “Purification of Church”

In 2013, government persecution of Christians and churches in China worsened significantly. In comparing the total number of persecution cases, the number of people persecuted, the number detained, the number sentenced, the number of abuse cases and the number of people abused with the same figures for 2012, the total of all six categories showed a jump of 38.82% over the previous year. Compared with the statistics in ChinaAid’s past annual reports, this trend of worsening persecution has persisted for the past eight years, with an average geometric annual increase of 27.78%.

1. Comprehensive Analysis of the Main Characteristics of and Reason Behind 2013 Persecution: To Destroy Christianity’s Accumulated Social-cultural Assets in China

Persecution in 2013 was a continuation and incorporation of the practice in 2008 and 2009 of “targeting house church leaders and churches in urban areas,” of the strategy in 2010 of “mafia tactics,” of the focus in 2011 on “attacking Christians and house churches with societal impact and containing the influence of Christianity on social cultural and the thinking of populace,” and of the approach in 2012 of “rendering house churches non-functional.” On top of this, persecution in 2013 was more reflective of the characteristics of persecution in 2011 and went further in manifesting itself in “destroying Christianity’s accumulated social-cultural capital” on the macro-level. This new characteristic may become a long-term guiding principle for the government’s persecution and containment of churches.

In 2013, the first year of Xin Jinping’s administration, China’s political situation was blurry and bewildering, like diffuse, thick smog. First of all, the promotion of the Mao-style leftist ideological propaganda (similar to “Chongqing Model”) made Marxism-Leninism reappear in the report of the Third Plenum of 18th CCP Congress. Second, further reform, with economic reform as priority, was emphasized to “realize the Chinese dream of great national rejuvenation.” Lastly, adopting Mao’s approach at the Lu Mountain of “applying severe punishment to top officials so as the deter the lower-ranking officials” and cheered by the slogan “cracking down on both tigers and flies,” the trial of the century of Bo Xilai, Gu Kailai and Wang Lijun, was enacted as a successful show to make the impression that this “cleansing Party” campaign will be carried out to the end and the “supremacy” of royal power shall never be challenged. In this big context, the sudden declaration of the abolition of the “reeducation through labor” system seemed to give people a glimpse of blue sky behind the smog. Overall, Xi Jinping was attempting to establish a political system imitating the “Putin Model,” but it is not a “monarch’s dictatorship” or oligarchy in the traditional sense. It is similar to authoritarianism but has different characteristics than the model seen Russia. In China, it can be seen as Xi Jinping’s “dictatorship in politics as the overlord” and the red nobility’s “monopoly of economy.”

Compared with 2012, persecution of both house churches (non-official Christian churches) and officially registered “Three-Self” churches escalated in 2013. The “just right defense model” practiced by churches and Christians according to law became the bottom line of the “zero tolerance” of government suppression. As forcible demolition, caused by real estate economy, which was the key to maintaining domestic demand and averting the collapse of a bubble economy, had extended to every inch of land, the government took off the veil of “protecting legal religious venues” this year and ruthlessly seized by force from and suppressed “Three-Self” churches that dared to stand up for the interests of the unprivileged people. The extent and method of the violent persecution of “Three-Self” churches that happened during the “Nanle Case” in November 2013, in Puyang, Henan, the province which is traditionally subject to pervasive religious persecution, showed consistency with the Chinese Communist Party’s usual style. A house church in Zizhou, Shaanxi, was smashed, raided and robbed by government agencies for defending their rights with the law in 2013; believers and church leaders are still in custody today and facing prison terms. Because of defending their right to access church venues, Beijing Shouwang Church suffered persecution since 2009. Since April 2011, Shouwang Church was forced to hold worship services outdoors and continues to do so to this day. Jin Tianming, Senior Pastor of the church, and four other church leaders (Pastor Zhang Xiaofeng, Elder Liu Guan, Elder Sun Yi and Elder You Guanhui) have been under house arrest and stalked since then; their liberty has been restricted and their normal life routines disrupted. Believers of Shouwang Church, especially those persisting in attending worship service at the church-designated outdoor venue, have been subject to repeated detention, physical abuse, insults, intimidation, stalking and harassment.

The escalating severity of persecution every year, and its continuous worsening in 2013 was not singular and accidental, but a part of the Chinese government’s overall escalated suppression of political dissenters, rights defense activists and ordinary people. For example, in August 2013, Xu Zhiyong, a prominent and moderate figure of the non-violent New Citizens’ Movement, was officially arrested. Due to the priority of ideology in politics, persecution of Christianity escalated to a new level in policy in 2013, i.e. the strategy of destroying Christianity’s accumulated social-cultural capital in China, which is manifested in the following areas:

A. Continue to crack down on the representative of large urban churches, i.e. Beijing Shouwang Church. The purpose is to contain the independence and expansion of groups subscribing to Christian faith as their ideology. Beijing Shouwang Church, which has been unceasingly persecuted for three years, has a high percent of Christian social elites, and since it is located in an area with concentrated universities, it is very impactful on intellectuals and the thought and culture of the Chinese society as a whole. Given time, the presence of Shouwang Church will be able to break the government’s monopoly of ideological propaganda, although it is not the direct or indirect intent of the church. In 2009, after the leader of Shanxi Linfen Church, a mega-church, was released from prison, the government continued to monitor and control the church community closely. For example, Li Shuangping, who was dedicated to restoring the church’s activities, was subjected to a mafia-style abduction and battering by the local government. Like Wang Mingdao did in the 1950s, Shouwang Church and many other persecuted churches have always told the government, “We stand up for our faith.” Nonetheless, it is exactly this Christian faith, which is incompatible with the foreign faith of Marxism-Leninism and the traditional faiths of China, that has been seen as a severe ideological threat by the government.

B. Warfare on the cultural battlefield: persistent crack-down on Christian publication ministry and college campus ministry. In last two decades, Christian publications have made a great impact on the cultural market of China, and since 2008, the Christian publication ministry has become a target of the government’s attack. Enyu Bookstore in Taiyuan, Shanxi, which deals with Christian publications, was investigated and sealed off. On June 17, 2013, Ren Lacheng, who managed the bookstore was condemned to five years in prison, and Li Wenxi was sentenced to two years’ imprisonment. Su Zhongxing, pastor of a house church in Shangshui county, Zhoukou city, Henan province, was criminally detained by police in late April for distributing religious books, and the result of the case remains unclear. On May 29, police broke into the Autumn Rain House Church in Chengdu and took 2,000 copies of a publication titled “No abortion on Children’s Day.” Since the “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) was jointly issued by six ministries and commissions of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China on May 15, 2011, prevention of and crack-down on Christian evangelism on campuses continued. In September, at Yan’an, the famed “Holy Land of Revolution” of the Chinese Communist Party, a Christian fellowship meeting on the campus of a vocational school was broken up by police.

C. Reduce the level persecution targeting Christian rights defense lawyers. Like the cancelation of the “reeducation through labor” system, this is an encouraging phenomenon. Rule of law is a key component of the Western social ideology, which has Roman-Anglo-Saxon civilization at its core, influenced by the Christian political ethics, and hence is a main theoretical instrument in the movement of churches’ defense of citizens’ rights that emerged on the platform of Christian lawyers between 2005 and 2010. The popularization of the awareness of rule of law and of citizenship and citizens’ rights by Christian faith in social political culture provided a powerful faith asset, and it is rooted in a spiritual model. By the end of 2010, the group of Christian rights defense lawyers, of which Dr. Fan Yafeng was a key figure, was forced to stop its work due to the government’s severe persecution, but suppression targeting Christian rights defense lawyers continued to 2012. In 2013, there was an obvious reduction on the persecution of Christian lawyers, which, in fact, diluted the Christian influence on the rule of law and its social-cultural impact.

Bases on the information above, it is also clear that the new characteristic of government persecution of Christianity in 2013, “destroying Christianity’s accumulated social-cultural capital,” came out of both an ideological concern and the practical reason that this administration, being pragmatic, has realized that the objective of “eradicating house churches” set by the Hu-Wen administration is an unrealistic goal. For instance, in addition to Shaowang Church, which has held worship service outdoors for three years long, up to 2,000 people attended a joint meeting of house church leaders from many provinces, which was held in August 2013 at Dongying city, Shandong province. These occurrences demonstrate the rapid expansion and tenacity of house church groups. And this is probably why in a document titled, “Focus of work of State Administration for Religious Affairs in 2014,” the goal is pointed out as “summarize the practice and experience of regulating the privately set-up Christian meeting places in some regions and explore effective methods of regulating. Also, to attach importance to the job of uniting and liaising with minority religious groups and resolve conflicts and disputes.”

Attention also needs to be given to the relative peace enjoyed by Chinese Catholic Church in 2013. Other than the battering of some Catholics by a land development company in Leshan, Sichuan province and the ordianing of two priests by Ma Yinglin, a bishop of a government-sanctioned Catholic Church, in Yunnan province, there were no big events. It is too early to draw the conclusion that the Xi administration made intentional efforts to avoid conflicts with the Vatican.

At last, although not a main concern of ChinaAid, it is worth pointing out that, due to the tense political situation throughout the nation in 2013, religions other than Christianity in minority ethnic regions like Xinjiang, Inner Mongolia and Tibet, also went through more intense restriction and suppression. It must be noted that ChinaAid expressed serious condemnation to any violence and terrorist activity conducted in the name of religion.

2. Statistical and schematic analysis of the overall persecution of Christians and churches in 2013

Overall government persecution of Christians and churches in China in 2013 showed a significant increase of 38.82% as compared to 2012. 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 provinces and municipalities across China, are diverse, and affected urban and rural house churches and Three-Self churches, as well as individual Christians, including clergy, lay believers, college students, political dissidents, sellers of Christian books and minority ethnic (Uygur and Tibetan) Christians. Taken together, they are sufficient to reflect the overall situation and severity of the persecution suffered by churches and Christians in 2013.

In 2013, ChinaAid collected information on 143 cases of persecution across the country, up 8.3% from 2012. The 7,424 people who were persecuted (more than 800 of whom were clergy) represented a 50.9% increase over the previous year. The 1,470 people who were detained (54 of whom were clergy) was an increase of 2.0% over the previous year. Twelve people were sentenced, a 33.3% jump over the previous year. There were 16 cases of abuse (verbal, mental and physical abuse and torture), a decrease of 42.9% over the previous year. Fifty people were abused, up 35.1% 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 38.82% worse than in 2012, 56.94% worse than in 2011, 123.62% worse than in 2010, 156.98% worse than in 2009, 205.98% worse than in 2008, 466.50% worse than in 2007 and 555.23% worse than in 2006. Please see the table below for details.

Comparison by year of persecution nationwide (2006 to 2013)

(1) Table

(To view and download the full report, including diagrams, visit: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B024UfutRtHodEI0Tm1aREVpRmM/edit?usp=sharing)

(2)Graph

(To view and download the full report, including diagrams, visit: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B024UfutRtHodEI0Tm1aREVpRmM/edit?usp=sharing)

Having reported on the overall situation of church persecution in mainland China and the main characteristics of the persecution and reasons, the rest of this report will examine the situation in 2013 in greater detail through case studies, statistical analysis and diagrams.

II. CHART: CASES OF GOVERNMENT PERSECUTION OF CHRISTIANS AND CHURCHES IN MAINLAND CHINA IN 2013

(To view and download the full report, including diagrams, visit: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B024UfutRtHodEI0Tm1aREVpRmM/edit?usp=sharing)

III. DIAGRAMS ILLUSTRATING GOVERNMENT PERSECUTION OF CHRISTIANS AND CHURCHES IN MAINLAND CHINA IN 2013

(To view and download the full report, including diagrams, visit: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B024UfutRtHodEI0Tm1aREVpRmM/edit?usp=sharing)

IV. CONCLUSION: CHURCH SHINES BRIGHT IN POLITICAL SMOG AND IS PURIFIED BY THE REFINING FIRE OF PERSECUTION

In 2013, politics were the priority of Chinese society, with several powers getting into the arena and political forces fighting one another for dominance, and thus ushering China into a “period of ideological warring states.” In raging political waves and the smog of ruthless communist ideology, the Church of Jesus Christ still shone bright like Noah’s ark in flood. In the burning fire of intense cultural hostility and persecution, God’s children either fell or walked on, and the Church has been constantly refined.

In 2013, the total number of people persecuted by the government in China showed a jump of 50.9% over the previous year, the number of people sentenced went up by 33.3% compared with the previous year, and the number of people abused increased by 35.1% over the previous year. The overall facts based on these statistics further proved that whether Christians are granted freedom in China will be a critical indicator of whether political freedom is a reality in China.

In the new year, a few Christians persecuted for their faith deserve our continual attention and adequate concern, including: Xinjiang Uygur Christian Alimujiang Yimiti, who has been in prison for six years and has not received a shortened prison term; “Randy” Chuan-Chuan Shan, who was a leader for a large publication network ministry of Beijing house churches, was forced to flee China with his wife and two young daughters in 2012 and has been in exile in Thailand for over a year as their applications for UNHCR asylum have not been approved by the United Nations; Guan Liu, an elder of Beijing Shouwang Church, who was forced to flee China with his wife and two young children in 2013, is now studying in the US and his future remains uncertain.

In addition to unceasing domestic persecution, the Chinese government also continued to conducted United Front work on Christianity overseas through uniting and dividing. According to the plans laid out in “The State Administration of Religious Affairs' Important Work in 2013,” China’s Three-Self Patriotic Movement Committee and the Taiwan Christian Community held the “Cross-Straits Christianity Forum” in Taiwan in late August; the China Christian Council, the Three-Self Patriotic Committee and the Billy Graham Evangelical Association jointly held “Chinese-American Christian Leaders Forum” in mid-November in Shanghai.

“The State Administration for Religious Affairs' Important Work in 2014,” issued on January 22, 2014, reveals that the Chinese government’s major activities pertaining to Christianity this year include promoting the “theological construction” championed by Ding Guangxun (liberalism), the late leader of the Three-Self Church Patriotic movement; the key task is to have a grand celebration of the 60th anniversary of the Three-Self Patriotic Movement Committee. We may predict that based on specific analysis on the document that Beijing’s government will make obvious changes to its “management approach” towards Beijing Shouwang Church in 2014 and China’s official Catholic Church’s self-selection and ordination of clergy may further escalate its conflicts with the Vatican.

In today’s global context, the ambiguous attitude of governments, parliaments and Christianity in the West has blended into China’s political smog. Furthermore, the peaceful transformation of the West by the Communist spirit, with “hostility to social elites and rich class and even distribution of wealth” at its core, has reached a climax and inevitably it is surrounding Christian faith with the intention to destroy it worldwide, making the ethics and morality of secular liberalism its platform and creating new weapons with law. In such circumstances, regarding persecutions happening in China, the West continues to be “politically correct” in rhetoric, but it is not taking decisive actions. Just as the Bible says, “That day Herod and Pilate became friends—before this they had been enemies.” (Luke 23:12)

In the past 60 years, Jesus Christ’s Church in China has always placed her hope in the Almighty God. ChinaAid founder and president Pastor Bob Fu said, “House churches in China had a difficult year in 2013, but we won’t lose heart. Oppositely, only in such circumstances can churches be constantly purified, free of blemishes, mature and strong, and prepared for even greater mission. When political regimes and figures, one by one, sink into the long river of history, Jesus Christ’s Church stands tall and firm, and like it was 2,000 years ago; even the power of Hell cannot triumph over it.”

We still have reasons to stay hopeful in the year of 2014, to continue to lend support and specific help to the persecuted; in prayers, we hope for a more purified and mature Church in China emerging out of persecution, which will be prepared to open up a new epoch for Chinese civilization when the flood recedes and dry ground can be seen.

“For He has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son He loves.”

Colossians 1: 13

(END)

Further distribution and posting welcome.
If quoting from this report, please provide proper attribution.



(To view and download the full report, including diagrams, visit: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B024UfutRtHodEI0Tm1aREVpRmM/edit?usp=sharing)


ChinaAid Contacts
Bob Fu, President
Tel: 1+ (888) 889-7757 | Cell: (267) 205-5210
Email: Bob@ChinaAid.org
Website: www.ChinaAid.org | www.MonitorChina.org

0 comments:

Post a Comment

Loading

Subscribe to ChinaAid News

Our Facebook Page CAA Twitter Favorite Bookmark