Christian Daily: Christian churches in China grow despite regime's crackdown; Underground Christians calls for international support

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Christian Daily
By Lorraine Caballero
15 June, 2016 1:00 PM

■ Christian churches in China are growing despite the ongoing persecution from the government, but they are now calling on the international community to help them fight for their religious freedom.

On May 12, a Huoshi Church member spoke to China Aid in an exclusive interview and described the trials that they are currently experiencing in the communist country. The Christian, who spoke under conditions of anonymity, said their house church in the Guizhou province is currently facing trial for six cases.

Five of the six cases involve the pastors, church members, and a non-Christian who leaked a confidential document revealing the existence of a government-run command center tasked to persecute the Christian church.

Believers take part in a weekend mass at an underground
Catholic church in Tianjin, November 10, 2013. Picture taken
November 10, 2013. (Reuters/Kim Kyung-Hoon)
At first, he thought that the state-ordained persecution was only at the city level, but the document points to a higher government body that oversees the operation. He said there is a bigger plan involving several other cases.

Those involved in the said cases have reportedly been subjected to government surveillance. The state also conducts church raids and jails church members, forcing them to keep their gatherings small.

However, the church member expressed fear that those who are leading the small house churches are not fully equipped in managing the groups and increasing attendance.

The interviewee said the international community could help the persecuted Christian churches in China by pressuring Chinese officials into punishing those who violate human rights. He also asked them to help churches pay for their legal expenses in the six cases, and suggested that Chinese people in America could speak out to raise awareness of the issue.

"Of course, the international community can put some pressure on the Chinese government from all different angles as well," the church member said. "For instance, Congress or different states could write some joint statements. I don't know which state is the sister state of Guizhou province, but it must be some state."

The Chinese Communist Party is increasing the intensity of its crackdown on Christian churches. The state wants to replace Jesus Christ as the head of the church by making Christians submit to the party, Christian Today relays.

China Aid says the province of Zheijang is one of the places most affected by the crackdown, with more than 20 churches demolished, 1,300 crosses taken down, and more than 500 Christians arrested.

China Aid Media Team
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