A ten minute drive from Olympic village in Beijing, police welded Pastor Hua Huiqi inside his home. They do not want to let him out. What is going on?
The year 2007 was a year of harsh crackdowns against Christians, in preparation for the Olympic. Foreign missionaries were expelled. Christian leaders were jailed. House church members were threatened and told to give up their faith, Bibles were confiscated and Christian bookstores closed.
Pastor Hua Huiqi, 45, knows exactly how the government feels about his faith. For the last 10 years, Hua has been arrested several times a year by the Public Security Bureau (PSB), for ‘disturbing the social order.’ This past year, police have harassed his family as well. Hua and his 60-member house church have a ministry of assisting poor and vulnerable people in southwest Beijing. Authorities target Hua because he refuses to register his congregation as a state church, as his ministry would then be controlled by the government. He would be unable to do any Christian work outside the church building. He remains active in the ‘illegal’ house church. “It is better to follow God than the government,” says Hua.
In 2007, Pastor Hua spent six months in jail, charged with ‘obstruction of justice.’ He was arrested on January 26, at 8 AM, while walking near an Olympic hotel site. While he was imprisoned, police arrested his 77-year-old mother. She was charged with damaging government property, after her cane accidentally touched a machine in a government office. She was sentenced to two years in jail, where she remains today.
Hua’s 8 year old daughter was harassed and questioned so often by police, she was sent to live with friends. Hua’s wife and father live in daily fear, continually under police surveillance.
To read the rest of this story about persecution in China, along with many other case histories, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or write to VOM, Box 117, Port Credit, Mississauga, ON L5G 4L5, and ask for a copy of the March 2008 Newsletter.
Please pray for the persecuted Christians in China.