Persecution of Christians in rural China intensifies.

By June 13, 2005

China (MNN)–In the cities, Christians worship with a great degree of freedom, but in the outlying parts, they are often threatened, beaten, imprisoned and tortured.

Open Doors’ Carl Moeller says persecution in the rural areas is quite bad. “It’s worse now than it has been in quite some time. In the western provinces in China, in the rural villages in China, where nearly 700-hundred million people still live as farmers, local authorities continue to exert incredible repression on Christian activity in those communities.”

Because of Open Doors’ extensive work with literature distribution and pastoral training, Moeller knows there’s a growing pressure on all underground churches to register.

For those who don’t, or won’t, the government cracks down. He points to the mass arrest two weeks ago on a group who were in training for kids’ ministry. “Imagine, you’re going to a Sunday School training, you’re learning how to teach kids Sunday School lessons, and the government arrests you for this. One of those co-workers is still under arrest at this time. The rest have been released, but all those materials they received there have been confiscated.”

China is ranked number 9 on Open Doors’ World Watch List of countries where Christians are most severely persecuted.

Since 1999, the U.S. State Department has designated China a “Country of Particular Concern” under the International Religious Freedom Act for particularly severe violations of religious freedom.

And yet, church growth is phenomenal in China. With exact figures are hard to come by, some experts still say that three to four million people are becoming Christians every year.

In the entire country there are only 18 seminaries. That means church leaders are woefully unequipped and vulnerable to the false teachings of cults that abound in China.

Their plight is one reason why last year Open Doors took 2.5 million training books, study Bibles and other pieces of literature into China and trained 6,500 Christians there.

Open Doors also launched The Lighthouse Project — China for 2005. The goal of the project is to provide 3.4 million Bibles, study Bibles, children’s Bible, commentaries, hymnals and other resources.

While Bibles are available in urban areas, there is still a huge need for God’s Word in rural areas where house churches are growing.

Leave a Reply