China (MNN) — While believers in China rejoice with the release of a house church leader, persecution continues elsewhere.
Monday, February 5, Liu Fenggang ended his three year sentence for sharing what the Chinese considered national intelligence to outside Christian organizations. He thanked brothers and sisters around the world who sent more than 1800 letters to him in prison.
Voice of the Martyr's Todd Nettleton said, "We believe that may be part of the reason he has been allowed to go free before his sentence is absolutely up, is because the Chinese government is aware that Christians around the world are aware of the situation, that they're watching what happens to Liu Fenggang."
Surrounding this event were plenty of incidents that prove it was just one victory within ongoing violence. "The suffering my wife and son had to endure is nothing compared to the martyred brothers and sisters in China," said Fenggang.
This year, China is ranked 12 on Open Door's World Watch List. This list is compiled after a 50 questions concerning religious freedom have been answered.
In late January, Hua Huiqi, house church leader from Beijing, was beaten and formally arrested for assisting persecuted Christians and oppressed peasants. Later, Huiqi's 76 year-old
mother was beaten and formally arrested.
February 7, just two days after Fenggang's release, officials from the Suyang Religious Bureau and the National Security Protection Squad stormed into a house church prayer meeting. They demanded that the 20 Christians write down their names and beat those who refused. Officials threatened to imprison and torture them if they did not sign an agreement saying they would cease holding services.
February 15, a report was released that Chinese police are on a manhunt in Xiwanzi targeting a
15,000-member underground church. There are currently 22 believers in prison and those who refuse to collaborate with authorities are either arrested or left without work. Protests, raids, interrogations and beatings have resulted from this continuing disorder.
"We are thankful for Brother Liu's example in faithfulness, and we pray for other Chinese Christians still in Communist prisons," said Nettleton.
Please pray for order and peace to come to this nation and for the protection of house churches who continue to meet. Also pray for their persecutors, that they may come to faith as they see the devotion of Chinese believers.