When believers gather in China, they often do so at great risk. Qiang and his wife know this all too well. But despite fleeing their home after their church was raided, they continue to serve Jesus wherever they go.
Qiang and his wife are fearful but they're determined to serve Jesus wherever they go
A Christian couple in China is on the run after the church they were involved in was raided and they were issued with a fine.
Qiang* and his wife were involved in discipling believers from an ethnic majority group called the Han Chinese at a church in central China – until it was raided earlier this year. Running a house church is illegal in China, where the state-approved, heavily monitored Three Self Patriotic Church is the only legal Christian church. Several leaders, including the couple and the church’s main leader, were arrested. Most of them were detained for five days and fined 20,000 yuan (£2,100), but the leader has been held indefinitely after being unable to pay his fine of 300,000 yuan (£32,200).
The couple have not paid their fine and have since escaped to another province. They remain wanted by the authorities, who continue to visit their home and have put a notice demanding the fine on their door. They’ve even made threats to family members to try and get them to disclose the couple’s whereabouts. Even if they managed to pay the fine, Qiang and his wife fear the case against them will remain open, leading to more punishment. They’re reticent to return home.
“Looking back, to be honest, we’re feeling nervous, fearful and worried, as it’s our first time to encounter this,” says Qiang. “Are we being blacklisted – will our travels be restricted? We have no answer to it now. But we are grateful that, after this incident, our brothers and sisters never cease praying for one another and lift each other up with words of encouragement.”
"We’re feeling nervous, fearful and worried" Qiang
“Even though they experienced this, they have not mentioned a word to me about giving up on Christ,” says Li*, an Open Doors local partner. The couple have previously attended a discipleship programme run by partners in the country. “Now they are in a new province and participate in the ethnic minority work even more passionately.” However, neither of them has yet found suitable work, meaning their income is unstable.
Following the raid, the church has since been unable to gather, with some members withdrawing from the Christian community entirely. This is not unusual in the country, with so many Christians experiencing persecution for the first time as Chinese authorities, with their tightening of religious laws and increasing use of sophisticated surveillance, intensify their crackdown on church activities. The hostility understandably comes as a shock – and if we were in a similar situation we may respond similarly.
It’s why a key feature of the work Open Doors local partners do in the country is provide training that equips believers to stand strong amid persecution. Please pray for all those affected by this incident, and for others who are feeling the effects of persecution for the first time.
*Names changed for security reasons
Would you like to find out more about how the authorities in China and elsewhere are using sophisticated surveillance to clampdown on Christian activities? Join us for our latest webinar as look into this troubling issue in greater depth, and spend time praying for those increasingly affected by it.
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