(September 18) A confidential order from the Chinese government to regional officials was recently discovered by Voice of the Martyrs Korea and its China ministry partner China Aid. This order details the ways that officials could “resist the Korean Christian infiltration” and “consolidate the foundation [of Christianity] by ruling [the Chinese Church]” in their region.
Voice of the Martyrs Korea representative Hyun Sook Foley explains this sort of sentiment is normal for the Chinese government but has escalated to a new level since new laws restricting religious activity went into effect in February.
“Since last year there has been an aggressive campaign to root out Korean Christians ministering in China,”
representative Foley says.
“And this trend has accelerated this year, with special emphasis this summer on eliminating Korean Christian missionary influence in China.”
VOM Korea and its China partner China Aid continue to receive reports from churches being shut down, Christians being arrested (and assaulted), and church leaders being arrested on false charges. These types of governmental restrictions are encouraged in the confidential orders discovered by VOM Korea and China Aid. According to Board Chair Foley, both the Chinese churches and Korean missionaries are being restricted by the Chinese government out of fear.
“The document attempts to link Chinese Christians and Korean missionaries with espionage and anti-government activity,”
Representative Foley explains.
“The Chinese government is putting tighter restraints on both groups in an attempt to alleviate any possible danger by controlling them.”
Because of the increasing pressure, many Korean Christians may be tempted to cut ties with the Chinese church. But Representative Foley says that maintaining connections with the Chinese church must remain a top priority for Korean Christians.
“The church is one body, so it is important for us to stay connected with the Chinese church, even if that entails a joint suffering on behalf of both churches,”
Representative Foley says.
To learn more about the persecution facing the Chinese Church, read Voice of the Martyrs Korea’s China Country profile. You can also visit the Voice of the Martyrs Korea website at www.vomkorea.com to read the profiles of the more than 70 other countries around the world where Christians are persecuted.