Part of China’s mission field
Worship services are being broken up by baton-wielding police officers, participants arrested, Bibles confiscated and Christian church buildings demolished. But still, an estimated 3,000 people every day come to a knowledge of Jesus Christ in China.
The report comes from Voice of the Martyrs, a U.S.-based Christian group that works specifically to help those members of the persecuted Christian church worldwide.
The most recent arrests happened just a few days ago, when a house church meeting in Henan province was broken up and 11 people arrested, the organization said.
“Police from Yongfeng township police station in Xiuwu county, Henan province, raided a Christian meeting in a home in Chencun village. Eleven Christians were arrested, two were released the next day and nine remain in jail,” the report said.
“Police broke in and proclaimed the gathering a cultic and illegal activity,” the report said.
Legal and financial help is being provided to those people during their detention.
However, VOM said that a more than 50-year campaign to eradicate Christianity from China has left that nation with the equivalent of a new mega-church being added each day.
“Chairman Mao Zedong declared the Peoples Republic of China in 1949 and quickly sought to purge society of anything religious, causing China’s people to endure great hardship ever since,” a VOM analysis of the nation said. “Mao’s Great Leap Forward in the late ’50s and the Cultural Revolution in the ’60s and ’70s left millions of his countrymen dead or victimized.
“Today, with its policies of forced abortion and sterilization, China’s human rights record is one of the worst in the world. Authorities reportedly sell the organs of executed prisoners to meet the demand for transplants. Its system of ‘re-education through labor’ detains hundreds of thousands each year in work camps without even a court hearing. China’s ‘strike-hard’ policy, presented as a crackdown on criminals, is hardest on Christians, putting more believers in prison or under detention than in any other country. The confiscation of church property and Bibles continues – even Bibles officially printed by the government,” the report said.
“Yet the church grows: an estimated 3,000 Chinese come to Christ each day. China’s house church movement, which comprises approximately 90 percent of China’s Christians, endures unimaginable persecution, yet stands on its commitment to preach the gospel no matter the cost.”
Two of the people in the latest raid by police were released a day later, but nine remained in jail, according to VOM and China Aid Association, which also reported on the arrests.
Among those still being held in detention for worshiping in the home were Ju Xiang, 48; Liu Xiaoduo, 42; Wang Shegin, 40; Fu Juyi, 36; Hong Xia, 37; Xue Xianghuo, 49; and Xue Xiaona, 34, officials said.
VOM said the persecution is having little effect on the desire to know more about Christ. “In the past year, we received more requests for Bibles and Christian books from Chinese believers because they wanted to share the gospel with others,” a VOM source within the restrictive nation said. “The Communist government of China does not see Christ as the most important person in an individual’s life. Christians count it a privilege to believe in and suffer for Jesus Christ.”
The contact said Christians simply adjust to the persecution at hand – including arrests, demolished buildings and confiscated materials.
VOM currently is supplying Bibles and copies of other Christian books, including “Tortured for Christ” by VOM founder Richard Wurmbrand, to Christians in China.
“American Christians have also mailed more than 107,310 New Testaments to China through Bibles Unbound (www.BiblesUnbound.com),” VOM said. “Pray God will protect believers in China and give them strength and courage to continue their faith in him.”
VOM is a non-profit, interdenominational ministry working worldwide to help Christians who are persecuted for their faith, and to educate the world about that persecution. Its headquarters are in Bartlesville, Okla., and it has 30 affiliated international offices.
It was launched by the late Richard and Sabina Wurmbrand, who started smuggling Russian Gospels into Russia in 1947, just months before Richard was abducted and imprisoned in Romania where he was tortured for his refusal to recant Christianity.
He eventually was released in 1964 and the next year he testified about the persecution of Christians before the U.S. Senate’s Internal Security Subcommittee, stripping to the waist to show the deep torture wound scars on his body.
The group that later was renamed The Voice of the Martyrs was organized in 1967, when his book, “Tortured for Christ,” was released.