Special Report-Nuns arrested by Chinese Communist Party as Beijing turns up heat on Church in Hong Kong
Extracts from The Guardian article: Read the full report here. “In May, two Chinese nuns who work at the mission were arrested by mainland authorities during a visit home to Hebei province, according to three Catholic clerics with knowledge of the matter. The nuns, in their 40s, were detained for three weeks before being released into house arrest without being charged. They are forbidden to leave the mainland, according to one of the clerics. Meanwhile, Western diplomats say, Chinese security agents have stepped up surveillance of the mission in recent months.”
Fearless, Cardinal Zen calls for courage.
“We are at the bottom of the pit – there is no freedom of expression anymore,” the former Bishop of Hong Kong, Cardinal Joseph Zen, told Reuters in a written reply to questions. “All these things are normal in mainland China. We are becoming like any other city in China.”
With the exception of 88-year-old Cardinal Zen, all Church leaders, local priests and parishioners interviewed for this article declined to be named. “For any word you say,” Zen told Reuters, the authorities “can say you’re offending the National Security Law.”
12/15/2020 (Voice of the Persecuted) Dear Prayer Warriors, after a month and a half, “by the grace of the Lord and with lots of prayers”, Bob Fu, a Chinese American pastor, was finally able to return back to his home in Texas!
“And God is able to make all grace abound unto you; that ye, having always all sufficiency in everything, may abound unto every good work” 2 Corinthians 9:8″
Pastor Bob Fu:
Pastor Fu has received death threats, his family have been forced to leave their home for a period of time and they have been under armed protection.
… “As a former house church pastor, a prisoner for Christ and an advocate for religious freedom for more than two in the international arena, it is really very surreal, and kind of crazy to think that you have to be exiled from your own home in West Texas, in the supposedly land of the free, because of all these slanderous accusations and threats that law-enforcement deemed substantive.”
“By the grace of the Lord and with lots of prayers and support, however, we were able to return home this weekend for the first time in 1-1/2 months.”
(Midland, TX— Dec, 09, 2020)
During a Skype interview with Andrew Boyd of Release International on December 06, Pastor Bob Fu of ChinaAid recounted his 1-1/2 month forced exile from his home due to threats linked to Guo Wengei, a Chinese billionaire residing in New York, and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). Watch full interview below.
Prayers Request from Bob Fu
Pray for us… that we can have a full alignment with the biblical truth that this is not something too strange or surprising we have to go through.
It’s a spiritual battle. Unless we stop the work that God has called us to do, as the mob has demanded.
Pray for us to be prepared and ready to face tribulations.
As our mission comes from the Lord, our faith can only be strengthened by God’s grace… by God’s word… by God’s Holy Spirit.
Pray for our staff as well. They too were experiencing a stressful time. Protesters did show up at our office. Please also pray for ChinaAid’s board members, that they will make wise decisions as to how we may best handle security concerns, and that the direction of ministry work will not adversely be impacted.
We have three children. One son, 23-years-old, our oldest daughter, 21-years-old attends college, and our 15-years-old daughter in high school.
Please pray that the Lord will restore them; strengthen them; increase their faith in the middle of these terrorizing months so they learn that this experience will not terrify us.
What has happened is the price can be proudly paid for their faith and for freedom.
Pray that God uses this to nurture and strengthen their hearts.
the CCP want confrontations and violence “They want to silence me and China Aid’s voice for freedom.” But, as Pastor Fu stated and continues to believe, “By the grace of the Lord and with lots of prayers,” their desires will not succeed.
Dear Brothers and sisters we also need to pray for ourselves!
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith Jehovah.” Isaiah 55:8
In these times, we are being coaxed to believe deceptions. Pray that the Lord will show us the truth in all matters. Pray that the Lord will lead us to understand things as they really are, not the way we perceive them to be.
We will also continue to pray for:
- Leah Sharibu and Alice that they will be set free from Boko Haram captivity
On Jul 08, 2020 · Leah Sharibu was kidnapped along with 109 other students on February 19, 2018 when Boko Haram attacked a boarding school in the city of Dapchi, Maiduguri Diocese, in north-eastern Nigeria. A month later, some of the girls died in captivity and all the others were released, except Leah.
- Pastor Wang Yi to be released from prison, for his family, the children, and the church in China
On December 28 the police raided the Early Rain Church and arrested Pastor Wang Yi, his wife Jiang Rong, and ten elders of the well-known 750-member church for holding “illegal” services. Some 100 believers were detained, questioned, and later released. Pastor Wang’s wife was also released. Pastor Wang remained in detention.
- For Anita, an Iranian Christian, persecuted by the Islamic regime.
- For the release of Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani from Iran, and his family as their Persecution continues
Pastor Nadarkhani is serving the second year of his six-year sentence, recently reduced from ten years.
Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani converted to Christianity at the age of 19 and leads a 400-member house church in Rasht, Iran. Since 2006, Iranian authorities have consistently harassed and detained Pastor Nadarkhani and his family. In 2010, the authorities sentenced him to death for apostasy before acquitting him in 2012. Pastor Nadarkhani was tried again in 2017 on false charges of “acting against national security” and promoting “Zionist Christianity,” for which he was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment. By July 2018, plainclothes agents raided Pastor Nadarkhani’s home to execute the sentence, beating and apprehending him and using a taser gun on one of his sons. He is now incarcerated at the notorious Evin prison near Tehran.
- For the harvest
“2 And he said to them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.” Luke 10:2
Please join us, tonight, as we pray for the Persecuted Church and the global harvest of souls.
In the love of Christ,
Nadia & Merlaine, Persecution Watch Prayer Call Moderators
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What is Persecution Watch?
Persecution Watch is a U.S. national prayer conference call ministry that prays specifically for the global Persecuted Church. For over a decade, Blaine Scogin led this national network of believers who faithfully pray for the persecuted and the global harvest for the Kingdom of God.
The group meets via a free call-in service every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday night at 9pm Eastern (please check your time zone). Blaine also served as Prayer Director for Voice of the Persecuted and our missions became one. The prayer mission of Persecution Watch is an important part of our own.
With the passing of Blaine into glory on December 26, 2019, Voice of the Persecuted is committed to continue the prayer conference call for the persecuted along with our dedicated prayer warrior team.
On occasion, persecuted brothers and sisters have been invited on the call to share the trials they’re facing. The team serves to encourage them by washing their feet in Spirit led prayer.
Time is often reserved for those on the call to ask questions. We believe this helps to gain a better understanding of the situation that persecuted Christians endure in their specific nations. Q&A also helps us to focus our prayers based on their current needs.
Persecution Watch also hosts callers who want to pray united from other nations. If your heart is perplexed by the sufferings of our persecuted brothers and sisters, you no longer need to pray alone. We welcome all who desire to pray for the persecuted church and consider it a joy to pray together with you.
If you’re new to the call and can’t find your voice, listen in and pray silently or on mute. We are grateful and thank the Lord for bringing us all together to pray in agreement for our persecuted family in Christ. We can all be prayer warriors on this call!
NOTE: Persecution Watch has a new email address for the prayer team and those who would like to receive urgent prayer requests, weekly call prayer points and notification of special prayer events and special guest speakers.
Please fill out the form below to be included in our new distribution list to receive this important information. We are grateful for your prayers and to the Lord for guiding us as we continue the Persecution Watch prayer call mission.
Note to Voice of the Persecuted (VOP) readers: The Persecution Watch prayer team is also the prayer team of Voice of the Persecuted. SIGN UP today.
(Bitter Winter) by Zhou Xiaolu — On October 8, over 40 officials from the Public Security Bureau and the Caotang town government in Xi’an, the capital of the northwestern province of Shaanxi, destroyed a Three-Self church after expelling congregation members attempting to stop the demolition. One believer, in his 70s, was carried away because he had fainted seeing that the venue was about to be destroyed. The church was razed to the ground within two hours, with all its effects buried in ruins. Congregation members cry as their church is being demolished.
“The government demanded to demolish the church supposedly because of engineering works needed to fix the erosion of a nearby river,” a congregation member said. “But the distance between the church and the river is quite long. Officials never discussed with us the plans for the demolition; they simply arranged personnel to do it. Such actions are too brutal, totally unreasonable.”
On September 16, over 100 police officers and Maanshan city government officials in the eastern province of Anhui demolished a Three-Self church without informing its over 200 congregation members. Hired workers cut off the water and electricity supply to the church and forcibly carried away an elderly couple in charge of the church’s upkeep. The two believers were taken to a local hotel, where they were guarded by seven designated personnel.
“Officials told us that the church would be relocated but never mentioned anything about demolishing it,” a congregation member said helplessly. “Church account books and electric devices were all buried in the ruins.”
A Three-Self venue in Pingyu county administered by Zhumadian city in the central province of Henan was demolished in August after staying closed for two years ago. According to a county resident, the official reason for the demolition was that the land was needed to build water conservancy facilities. But no other buildings, except for the church, were demolished.
Congregation members put up a tent near the church ruins, waiting to settle the forced demolition issue with local officials.
In July, the Yutai county government in Jining, a prefecture-level city in the eastern province of Shandong, demolished a Three-Self church venue attended by believers from several villages. Officials claimed that the church was too close to the village committee building and that “believing in Jesus meant going against the Communist Party.”
In February, the Xinglou town government in Pizhou, a county-level city in the eastern coastal province of Jiangsu, demolished a Seventh-day Adventist house church venue after months of attacks against it. The police arrested the church director and some congregation members in October last year “for holding illegal gatherings” and seized the building and all valuables inside.
“It felt more heartbreaking than having my home destroyed,” a church member recalled, still haunted by the traumatic experience of seeing the venue demolished.
Two more house church venues in Pizhou were demolished for refusing to join the official Three-Self Church.
Shanxi government desecrated the resting place of 20 missionaries, who worked and died in China nearly a century ago, and destroyed a house for visiting believers.
(Bitter Winter) by Zhang Feng — Protestant missionary Verner Wester and his six family members were buried nearly a century ago in the Swedish missionary cemetery in Xiezhou town, administered by the Yanhu district of Yuncheng, a prefecture-level city in the northern province of Shanxi. He was a member of the Swedish Mission in China (Svenska Missionen i Kina (SMK)), who lived in China from 1903 to 1930.
SMK missionaries established their first mission station in Yuncheng in 1888 and later expanded to other areas in Shanxi and adjoining provinces of Henan and Shaanxi. Through their charitable work building schools and hospitals, which residents could use for free, the missionaries played an important role in the areas’ development and led numerous locals to Christianity.
“Swedish missionaries bought a plot in Yuncheng’s Xiezhou town cemetery for themselves,” an elderly Christian from Yuncheng told Bitter Winter. “This meant that they devoted their hearts, souls, and entire lives to China.”
Earlier this year, the Church of Christ’s Family (基督家園教會), a local house church established in 2008, ordered to make gravestones for the 20 Swedish missionaries in the Xiezhou cemetery. The Church also established contacts and communicated with Verner Wester’s granddaughter Mick Lidbeck, who recounted her grandfather’s story in the book Min farfar i Kina (My Grandfather in China).
In a short time, the cemetery started attracting Christians who came to pay respects to the missionaries and pray. To accommodate them, the Church of Christ’s Family renovated an old four-room house near the cemetery and displayed a series of photographs depicting missionaries’ work in China. The move immediately drew the local government’s attention.
At six in the morning on September 12, the Yanhu district government dispatched over 100 special police and public security officers and personnel from various government institutions to block the street leading to the cemetery. Onlookers trying to take photos were threatened and told to leave immediately, as an aerial drone hovered above them, observing the scene.
About two hours later, three excavators were brought in to destroy the Swedish missionaries’ gravestones and the adjoining house as “illegal constructions.” To conceal the demolition, government-hired personnel planted vegetation atop the ruins overnight.
A government insider revealed that all villagers living near the cemetery were summoned to the local police station prior to the demolition, and their cellphones were confiscated to prevent information leaks. Heads of the Church of Christ’s Family and directors of several church venues were lured to neighborhood committees and put under control. Their cellphones were also confiscated. The Church of Christ’s Family was blacklisted and targeted for priority surveillance because of contacts with Verner Wester’s family in Sweden.
Ironically, or maybe intentionally, four months before the gravestones were destroyed, the Yanhu district government opened an exhibition of old photographs depicting Swedish missionaries’ activities in China for over ten decades. In an article dedicated to the show, Sweden is hailed as a world leader “in the fields of innovation, green development, and environmental protection.” “With the predestined relationship between Sweden and China, which was established by Yuncheng city and over 100 Swedish missionaries in China one hundred years ago,” the article states, “we will surely be able to complement each other’s strengths, integrate deeply, and promote the development of both countries.”
In reality, however, bulldozing the gravestones of those who built this “predestined relationship” speaks to the contrary. Which “strengths” is the CCP going to complement? Clearly, not democratic values, respect for human rights and religious liberties.
“The CCP portrays missionaries in a negative light, depicting them in films and novels as spies cooperating with imperialist countries to invade China,” a member of the Church of Christ’s Family commented. “Believers renovated the cemetery to show their positive influence, but the CCP can’t tolerate that the missionaries’ Christian spirit will spread across China. Missionaries’ gravestones can be demolished, but their spirit has been deeply rooted in our hearts and inspired generations of believers.”
(By Faith McDonnell for IRD) On Monday, September 28, a Chinese Communist Party (CCP) operative publicly threatened the life of the Rev. Dr. Bob Fu. All of us who believe in religious freedom and human rights need to speak out.
Fu, the founder and president of China Aid, is a former prisoner of faith in China and outspoken activist. In May he became an Adjunct Senior Fellow for Religious Freedom in China here at IRD. And just this past weekend he spoke at The Return, a globally-viewed gathering for repentance and revival that took place on the National Mall in Washington, DC.
Moments before Dr. Fu went to the podium at The Return to pray on behalf of the Christians in China and the nations, he received shocking news. Chinese Communist thugs were surrounding his home in Texas, harassing his wife and children. He asked the tens of thousands in attendance at The Return to pray for his family. And he asked God to transform China into a “mission-sending” nation and to bring Communist leaders to repentance.
I sought out Fu after he finished speaking. I discovered that in addition to intimidating his wife and children, the thugs slandered him. They brandished signs declaring — ridiculously — that “Bob Fu is a Fake Pastor” and “Bob Fu is Responsible for COVID-19.” Fortunately, the police dispelled the Communist agents swiftly. And fellow church members brought comfort to his family.
But the threat was not over. Monday I received word about disturbing, threatening videos against Fu and others. These videos came from Chinese Communist Party agent, Guo Wengui, aka Miles Kwok. It was he who sent thugs to Fu’s home.
Guo is a Chinese billionaire businessman who fled from China to the United States in 2014. He was accused of bribery, fraud, and money laundering. Guo uses his large social media following on YouTube, Twitter, and his personal website to incite and encourage violence against leading critics of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). One of his tactics is to turn around and name these freedom fighters as CCP agents, thieves, and traffickers! These include human rights activists and prominent members of the Chinese diaspora.
In videos on September 27 and September 28 Guo threatens Fu again. Guo also threatens many other Chinese former dissidents and freedom fighters. He threatened some leaders of Tienanmen Square who now live in the United States. One he threatened was Pastor Zhang Boli, still on the CCP’s “Most Wanted” list.
In the video on September 28 Guo addresses Fu directly. He boasts that some “100 or 200 operatives” are coming to his house. This intimidation, violence, and slander geared towards confusion and misdirection are the kinds of tactics that the Chinese Communist regime employs against those who dare to speak out about the human rights violations it perpetrates.
Many in the West have emboldened the CCP in recent years. Large, powerful entities such as Disney, the NBA, Big Tech, major U.S. banks, and others have consistently acquiesced. So the CCP believes it can even control Chinese Americans. . . in America! This needs to end!
Please pray for Bob and his family. Pray also for all the other Chinese heroes slandered and threatened by Guo and the CCP. In addition to prayer, you may wish to:
- Join us in the statement below. To sign, please indicate so with your name, city, state in the comment section for this article.
- Urge the United States government deport this Chinese operative.
- Inform YouTube that Guo uses his channel to issue death threats and intimidation. We hear over and over how YouTube warns or shut downs conservative and Christian YouTube channels. Let’s see if social media will not have a double standard for once.
More warnings coming out of China. (Bitter Winter) The story in John 8 is presented to Chinese students as one where the Savior waits for the Pharisees to leave, then stones the adulterer himself.
Every Christian knows the story. It is told in the Gospel of John, 8:3–11. “The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery; and making her stand before all of them, they said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the very act of committing adultery. Now in the law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” Jesus at first ignored them, but then told the Pharisees, “Let anyone among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” Since they knew they were not without sin, “they went away, one by one, beginning with the elders; and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him.” Jesus said to her, “‘Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?’ She said, ‘No one, sir.’ And Jesus said, ‘Neither do I condemn you. Go your way, and from now on do not sin again.’”
It is a powerful story about mercy and forgiveness. Jesus does not condone the sin, but forgives the sinner with his divine authority. Mercy and forgiveness, however, are unknown to the CCP. Perhaps in anticipation of the future promised “sinicization” of the sacred scriptures of all religions, a textbook published by published by the University of Electronic Science and Technology Press for teaching “professional ethics and law” in secondary vocational schools tells a different version of the story, as revealed by UCA News.
Here is how the textbook presents the story of the woman taken in adultery: “The crowd wanted to stone the woman to death as per their law. But Jesus said, ‘Let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone.’ Hearing this, they slipped away one by one. When the crowd disappeared, Jesus stoned the sinner to death saying, ‘I too am a sinner. But if the law could only be executed by men without blemish, the law would be dead.’”
Christians in China are protesting against a textbook making Jesus a sinner and a killer. Actually, however, the incident is subtler than that. It is not, or not mostly, about painting a negative image of Jesus. It is about the CCP itself. Many CCP bureaucrats, judges, and police officers are notoriously corrupted. Yet, the story teaches that they should be obeyed. If “sinners” would be prevented from “executing the law,” including administering the capital punishment with or without due process, “the law would be dead.”
As told to Chinese students, the story teaches that the law and the Party are good and pure, and transcend the impure human beings who happen to represent them.
Even if the officers are corrupted, their decision should be accepted—because, honest or corrupted, they represent the Party, and the Party’s law should never be questioned.
This is standard CCP theory, but totally distorts the meaning of Jesus’ teaching in John 8. Mobilizing Jesus for the CCP propaganda is blasphemous and offensive to Christians. Yet, we can expect more such distortions as religious scriptures are gradually “sinicized.”
CHINA — “According to several shop assistants, the venues’ managers were demanded to arrange spaces according to the Mao-era style. The site’s administration even provided all statues and portraits of Mao Zedong. All employees must swear allegiance to the CCP in front of the Mao Zedong statue every Monday morning.” Read more
Religious persecution in China affects each aspect of believers’ life. Those unwilling to give up their faith may lose their jobs.
(Bitter Winter) by Zhang Wenshu —
Authorities in the eastern province of Shandong carry out mass investigations into the religious status of civil servants, employees of state-run institutions and enterprises, including schools and hospitals.
On July 28, thousands of workers in over 200 government-affiliated institutions in the Fushan district of Yantai city were convened for a meeting to investigate their religious status. Their spouses, children, and parents were also scrutinized.
In May, the Education Bureau of Jinan, the capital of Shandong, required some primary and secondary schools to determine if any of their teachers, students, or their family members were religious. Similar investigations have been carried out in schools of other cities as well.
A primary school teacher, a member of a Sola Fide house church, told Bitter Winter that the school principal summoned her to fill out a government-issued form about the religious status of teaching and administrative staff. “The principal told me that all religious gatherings are banned, even reading the Bible in small groups is not allowed,” the teacher said. The woman added that she was greatly upset by the government’s increasing persecution of religions. She is afraid that if her religious affiliation is revealed, she could be subjected to surveillance, or worse, be punished and even lose her job.
A hospital staff member revealed that at least two hospitals in the city investigated the religious status of employees and their family members in April. Personal information of people who attend state-run places of worship was also collected. Those who are discovered to have concealed their faith could be punished.
People of faith worry that their job security and wellbeing could be affected if their religious belief is disclosed. Many have been discriminated against because of their religion.
In June, a sanitation worker, nearly 70 years old, from the central province of Henan, was fired for reading the Bible during her break at work. She was let go the same day after the director of the Environmental Sanitation Bureau publicly criticized her. The director demanded that all potential employees present a certificate from the police in the area of their permanent residence registration, proving that they are not religious. “No religious person shall get recruited,” the director proclaimed.
The woman’s colleagues commented that she was a good worker, laboring hard without complaints. Because of her faith, she has never been named a “model worker.” “All leaders kept an eye on her and punished her just because she believes in God and often shared the gospel with us. No one dared to defend her,” one of her colleagues commented.
“I’m aging, and I don’t know how I will support myself,” the woman lamented.
A staff member at a hotel in the northwestern province of Shaanxi told Bitter Winter that he had worked in many hotels over the years. He had to provide a “no-faith certificate” issued by his permanent residence in all of them. The same happened when he applied for the position of a security guard in a kindergarten.
For members of banned religious groups, the situation is even worse. A public servant from Shandong’s Yantai city, whose belief was recently investigated, explained to Bitter Winter that if government workers or their family members are ascertained to be members of a xie jiao, they will be immediately fired.
A person working in the public security system in the province has lost his job because his father is a member of The Church of Almighty God. “I have friends working in police stations or criminal police and national security brigades, but none of them dared to help me,” the man revealed. “And no money could have helped to keep my post. My superiors said that when religious beliefs are involved, no connections will help.”
A man who moved to Xinjiang at the beginning of the year told Bitter Winter that the police questioned him about his father’s membership in the Shouters, a religious group declared a xie jiao and banned in 1983, four days after he started working in a state-run enterprise.
“My father has a police record because he has been arrested for his faith, and this information is in the system,” the man explained. “Every time they check my ID card, authorities learn about my father’s faith. The enterprise leader told me that if a person has a police record for religious beliefs, three generations of their descendants would not be able to join the army or work in a state-run entity.” The police also questioned the man to find out if he was religious as well. They ordered him to attend “study classes” for two hours every day. Because the employer has learned about his father’s faith, the man could no longer work in the state-run institution, and he left Xinjiang.