15 August, 2008

China and the Persecuted Church

We are really enjoying watching the Olympics and we are cheering on Team GB as much as we can. However, it would be wrong for us to let this time pass without doing a little to highlight how China's terrible human rights record affects the church.

The Christian religion is not banned in China completely. However, the only state allowed church is called the 3 self church and because the state allows it, the state controls everything about it, including what is taught in churches and who leads the church. Many Chinese christians, rightly in our opinion, refuse to be told by an atheistic communist government what to believe about God, and so they meet in people's houses and organise in house church networks. Because these networks are illegal, the government regularly cracks down on them with terrible force.

There have been many examples of pastors and church leaders in China who have been imprisoned, beaten or killed. If you would like an astonishing in-depth account of this, we would recommend you read 'The Heavenly Man' by Brother Yun. We heard Brother Yun preach in 2003 and he is the real deal.

However, one small story that affected me is the story of Mr Li Ming, Mr Jin Jirong, Mr Wang Yuan, Mr Li Mingbo. Christian Solidarity Worldwide writes about them, "These four Chinese pastors had visited their local police station to try to secure the release of 14 of their church members who had been arrested on their way home from church. They have subsequently been sentenced to two years’ “re-education through labour”."

The bravery of these men astonishes and challenges me.

I wouldn't recommend anyone to boycott the Olympics, and i couldn't do that myself, but the point of this post is to remind anyone reading that it is not just Tibet. China's government is persecuting its people and Christians are in the front line of this.

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