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Discussion Forum : General Topics : The Crisis in China (Part One) – The Worst Persecution in 40 Years

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 The Crisis in China (Part One) – The Worst Persecution in 40 Years

Dear Friends,

Earlier this year we sent out a newsletter entitled "A Special China Issue," which told of the massive and brutal persecution of Christians underway in China. Many people were shocked by what we shared, and some even doubted if it was true, as other sources weren't reporting the trouble. In the following months it became clear that God's people in China are not merely going through a regular season of hardship, but a major effort is underway to completely control the Church, backed by new technology that creates challenges to the Body of Christ that have never been encountered before. In this newsletter we will update you on the crisis in China, while attempting to answer some of the common questions people have asked.

We have also shared several links to web pages in this message, to help people learn more about the situation from other sources. Please take the time to read these articles. There are hundreds of articles that we could have shared, but we hope these select few will be sufficient to give you a sense of the horrific situation that has quickly emerged in China.

* In recent months the government has markedly increased the pressure on Christians throughout the country. We received an unconfirmed report from a long-term China missionary stating that 314 house church Christians have been killed in recent months, and hundreds more are missing. Most house church leaders have gone into hiding and have disconnected their phones and other devices because of the incredible surveillance capabilities of the state.

* Thousands of house churches (which are considered illegal in China) have been closed. Reflecting the actions of Mao's Red Guards in the 1960s, religious symbols such as crosses and Scripture posters have been torn down and replaced by flags of China or portraits of President Xi Jinping. The most high-profile church to be punished this way was the large Zion Church in Beijing: http://www.chinaaid.org/2018/09/large-beijing-house-church-banned-as.html

The head pastor of the Zion Church summed up the feeling of countless millions of Christians throughout China when he stated: "Yes we are scared, but we have Jesus!"

* Landlords who rent buildings to Christians are being heavily fined by the government, with new laws allowing fines of between 20,000 to 200,000 Yuan (almost US$30,000). This has created a climate of fear and suspicion, and thousands of fellowships have been forced out of the premises they were renting. On the streets, the police have the power to stop and search anyone they wish and to check their phones and other devices for content they deem a threat to society. These threats may include the presence of a Bible app or visits to Christian websites, or any communication considered unpatriotic.

* The most severe persecution is occurring in the vast Xinjiang region in northwest China. In recent years a promising church movement had emerged among the Uyghur, Kazakh and Kirghiz people groups, but most of the church leaders have been arrested and taken to concentration camps in the desert. Reputable news organizations estimate at least one million people are being detained and tortured in those camps right now. Many suburbs in cities like Urumqi, Hami and Kashgar are now depopulated and countless buildings have been boarded up. Although this initiative was designed to target Muslims in border areas, almost all Uygur and Kazakh church leaders have also been taken away. The government doesn't care whether someone is a Muslim or Christian. It's all the same to them. Please pray for them: http://www.chinaaid.org/2018/05/inmates-initiate-hunger-strike-amid.html

The streets of Xinjiang are full of tension, with incredible control being exerted by the Communist authorities and the people paralyzed by fear. It is the prayers of Christians in China that what is happening in Xinjiang will not spread and become commonplace throughout China. For a glimpse of what life is like for people in northwest China right now, please watch the short BBC video: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-45812419

* The most worrying aspect of the current crisis is the use of technology to identify and persecute Christians, including "predictive" artificial intelligence where computers process information and images from millions of cameras and then predict when they think a crime may take place, such as an illegal gathering of people for worship or Bible study. This is part of the Communist Party's long-term "social credit" system, which is already being rolled out and will be fully functioning by 2020. This system will rank each Chinese citizen according to their behavior and connections, and privileges such as education, jobs, travel and even the ability to buy food can be curtailed by the atheist government. Already some house church leaders have found they are unable to buy plane, bus or train tickets to travel anywhere because they are considered a threat. Please view the following webpage which gives a terrifying overview of China's social credit system: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-09-18/china-social-credit-a-model-citizen-in-a-digital-dictatorship/10200278

Summary: Space doesn't permit us to go into reasons behind this massive persecution, so we encourage you to read our full newsletter.

* If your own heart is burdened by the news of what is happening in China, we encourage you to dwell on the Word of God and reflect on His promises, like: "My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father's hand. I and the Father are one" (John 10:27-30).

Hallelujah! Our God reigns. The Lord Jesus Christ remains in complete control and no attack can come upon His children unless He permits it. Our loving Savior has promised us, "In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world" (John 16:33).

Next month we will publish Part Two on the Crisis in China. In it, we will share more background on how these tumultuous events are affecting Christian work in China, and more specifically what it means to the ministry of Asia Harvest. Be assured, however, that all our projects are continuing! Church and ministry leaders have cried out to the Lord for heavenly strategies and plans, and many meetings have been held as they implement what God has revealed to them to do.

Please feel free to share this message with any concerned believers, or to post it on social media.

Until All have Heard of Jesus,
The team at Asia Harvest
www.asiaharvest.org


---

"If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you... They will treat you this way because of my name, for they do not know the one who sent me. ." (John 15:18-19, 21).

Earlier this year we sent out a newsletter entitled "A Special China Issue," which told of the massive and brutal persecution of Christians underway in China. Many people were shocked by what we shared, and some even doubted if it was true, as other sources weren't reporting the trouble.

In the following months it became clear that God's people in China are not merely going through a regular season of hardship, but a major effort is underway to completely control the Church, backed by new technology that creates challenges to the Body of Christ that have never been encountered before. In this newsletter we will update you on the crisis in China, while attempting to answer some of the common questions people have asked.

What's the Latest News from China?

In recent months the government has markedly increased the pressure on Christians throughout the country. We received an unconfirmed report from a long-term China missionary stating that 314 house church Christians have been killed in recent months, and hundreds more are missing. Most house church leaders have gone into hiding and have disconnected their phones and other devices because of the incredible surveillance capabilities of the state.

Thousands of house churches (which are considered illegal in China) have been closed. Reflecting the actions of Mao's Red Guards in the 1960s, religious symbols such as crosses and Scripture posters have been torn down and replaced by flags of China or portraits of President Xi Jinping.

Note: Our website version of this newsletter includes several important links to articles and videos to help people understand what's going on in China and how best to pray. Please visit www.asiaharvest.org for more detailed information.

Links to articles:
Updated: Large Beijing house church banned as China continues Christian persecution
Inmates initiate hunger strike amid mass incarceration crackdown
China Uighurs: Xinjiang legalises 're-education' camps
Leave no dark corner

Cover picture: The Golden Lampstand Church in Shanxi Province being dynamited by the Chinese authorities earlier this year.

Some congregations have been ordered to sing the national anthem or other patriotic songs at the start of their services. Others have been ordered to install government facial-recognition surveillance cameras inside their worship halls, and those that have refused to comply have been forced to shut down.

Landlords who rent buildings to Christians are being heavily fined by the government, with new laws allowing fines of between 20,000 to 200,000 Yuan (almost US$30,000). This has created a climate of fear and suspicion, and thousands of fellowships have been forced out of the premises they were renting. On the streets, the police have the power to stop and search anyone they wish and to check their phones and other devices for content they deem a threat to society. These threats may include the presence of a Bible app or visits to Christian websites, or any communication considered unpatriotic.

The most severe persecution is occurring in the vast Xinjiang region in northwest China. In recent years a promising church movement had emerged among the Uyghur, Kazakh and Kirghiz people groups, but most of the church leaders have been arrested and taken to concentration camps in the desert. Reputable news organizations estimate at least one million people are being detained and tortured in those camps right now. Many suburbs in cities like Urumqi, Hami and Kashgar are now depopulated and countless buildings have been boarded up. Although this initiative was designed to target Muslims in border areas, almost all Uygur and Kazakh church leaders have also been taken away. The government doesn't care whether someone is a Muslim or Christian. It's all the same to them.

Spiritual Forces Behind the Persecution

While there are human reasons for the dramatic persecution, we should never lose sight of the fact that Satan and his fallen hosts hate God's people, and they never rest in trying to destroy them. We recently updated our Christian stats for all 2,866 cities and counties in China, and the end result was a marked increase since the last time we reviewed our figures. Currently, we estimate a total of 129.7 million professing Christians in China, of which 109 million are Evangelical believers. The Chinese government is fully aware of the explosive growth of the Church in China, and they are determined to stop it. They don't want China taking over from South Korea as the number one Evangelical country in Asia.

Political Ambitions

If you have read our Asia Harvest newsletters for some time you will know we don't usually mention politics at all, as our call is to equip the Church in Asia and not to be entangled by civilian affairs (2 Timothy 2:4). Our goal is not to favor one political system over another, but to see all people groups of Asia hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ. If one quote sums up what we think about politics, it would be this famous one from an economist in the last century: "Under Communism man oppresses man. Under capitalism it's the other way around."

To understand the human reasons of why China is so determined to destroy the Church, however, it's helpful to grasp the historical background behind China's geopolitical ambitions. Starting in the 1800s, China was dominated by foreign powers that carved up various parts of the country and exploited their natural resources. The Chinese consider this the darkest period in their history, and have labelled it "The century of humiliation." Chinese resentment and desire to revenge their "loss of face" runs deep. Japan was one of the foreign nations that dominated China during this period, inflicting shameful cruelties on the Chinese people. A few years ago a survey in China found that 82 percent of respondents said China should launch a war with Japan before the end of this decade.

In a bid to try to erase the painful memories of the past, China believes they have an opportunity to be the new world super-power, replacing the United States and the West. To achieve this lofty goal, President Xi Jinping has stopped at nothing to implement his "One Belt, One Road" initiative, which would result in China having the most powerful economy and military on earth. To help him succeed, earlier this year Xi was appointed ‘President for life'. Whereas often in the West we think in terms of months and years, the Chinese think in terms of decades and even centuries. They are not in a rush, and are determined to gradually work their way toward becoming the undisputed world power.

The Communist leaders trying so desperately to implement their global vision are God-hating atheists, and they are determined not to let anyone or anything stand in their way. They want absolute power over what people do, say and think, and Christians, Muslims, or anyone else who may pose a threat to their goals are being subdued, controlled, or eradicated. These are the reasons behind the current campaign to wipe out the Church in China. Mao tried to do this from the 1950s to 1970s, and Xi Jinping seems determined to finish the job that Mao failed to do.

Is Persecution always Good for the Church?

Many times you have probably heard it said that "The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church." Often people have written to us with this quote, as if it is the sum total of persecution for Christians. It may surprise some to learn that this phrase is not in the Bible at all, but was spoken by Tertullian, a second century church leader in North Africa. For the record, Tertullian's full quote was: "The more ye mow us down, the more quickly we grow; the blood of Christians is seed. The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church. Dying we conquer. The moment we are crushed, that moment we go forth victorious."

Is what Tertullian said true? Is persecution always good for the Church, and does it invariably result in the expansion of the faith? We believe that while Tertullian's quote may be generally true, it is certainly not always the case.

Persecution in itself does not bring revival. It is a time of testing, and over the years we have known many church leaders in China, Vietnam and elsewhere who have gone through fiery trials, but instead of coming out of prison renewed and more zealous for the Lord, many have emerged spiritually weaker and overcome by sins and temptations. Sadly, we know of some former church leaders who are no longer walking with God. In the 1930s a missionary in northeast China stated, "The blood of martyrs may indeed be the seed of the Church, but sometimes the crop from that seed is not always a good one."

A survey of Church history clearly reveals that persecution does not automatically result in the growth of Christianity. The nations of Central Asia and the Middle East once contained as many as 30 million Christians, but the Islamic conquests of the region wiped out the Church in numerous locations, many of which have yet to see any more spiritual light for over 1,000 years to the present day.

In this first of two newsletters on the Crisis in China we wanted to update readers on the latest challenges facing our Christian brothers and sisters there. Next month we will share more on how these tumultuous events are affecting Christian work in China, and and we will include a public statement made by many church leaders. Be assured that despite these new challenges all Asia Harvest projects in China are continuing! Church leaders have cried out to the Lord for heavenly strategies, and are implementing what God has told them to do. Please pray fervently for the Church in China!


from: https://asiaharvest.org/the-crisis-in-china-part-one-the-worst-persecution-in-40-years/


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SI Moderator - Greg

 2018/10/25 6:55Profile
JFW
Member



Joined: 2011/10/21
Posts: 1043
Dothan, Alabama

 Re: The Crisis in China (Part One) – The Worst Persecution in 40 Years

Brother Greg,

Had a feeling this would happen after noticing several news articles about how Eric Schmit (former head of google) had been cooperating with the Chinese government to set up, with the assistance of his former company, a literal authoritarian police state in the virtual world. Complete with a host of algorithms, including facial recognition technologies that can locate anyone in the country (over 1,000,000,000 people) in 2 seconds flat, not to mention the spy surveillance tech which allows the CG to not only block websites that they deem a threat (aka Christian) but also track communications between its citizens.
He, Eric Schmit, recently said he believed the internet would be split into two distinct networks,... one run by America and the other by the Chinese.
Which basically means they can oppress/suppress/ whom ever they want on their system. I took this to mean a vicious crackdown on the underground church in China with the aid of top American executives:/
The more you know...


_________________
Fletcher

 2018/10/25 9:18Profile
Heydave
Member



Joined: 2008/4/12
Posts: 1306
Hampshire, UK

Online!
 Re:

And you know the sad irony in this? We Christians in the West get most of our bibles from publishers who get them printed in China, not to mention most all other stuff as well.
It's about time this hypocrisy stopped. Why for the sake of expediency and cheap cost should we let them print for us the very word they deny to our brothers in China??


_________________
Dave

 2018/10/26 10:50Profile
Gloryandgrace
Member



Joined: 2017/7/14
Posts: 815
Snoqualmie, WA

 Re: connections


Interesting connections, in America our young people are becoming addicted to their phones and technology. That same addiction like a drug will destroy them, but the addiction is so strong its demanded by the addict as a way of life.

So, surveillance bugging, face recognition movement tracking all create a dossier on every person in America so we too can be rounded up in time.

When you read Foxes book of martyrs, you not only read about the valiant saints standing in defiance of the pope and the state, you also see...good citizens, law-biding, harmless, willing to surrender their goods to the king if needed are persecuted, murdered and tortured simply because bigotry and hatred of Jesus Christ is not merely ideological its demonically inspired. Hatred for the light for the Church and for Jesus Christ is not simply an outcome of carnal thinking its source is Satan and its propagation by the princes and powers of darkness.

Technology being used to persecute the saints? Of course.

So, when they tune in your TV to listen and watch you in your living room, its not about advertisement (that's the cover story) its about creating a dossier on you for use by the state when the time is right. Conspiracy? Sure, its the same conspiracy as in China and should be equally dismissed as theirs should be. Or maybe not.


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Marvin

 2018/10/26 11:39Profile
JFW
Member



Joined: 2011/10/21
Posts: 1043
Dothan, Alabama

 Re:

Ha!
Brother Marvin,
It’s interesting you mention that it happens here (America) as well and it’s true it does for sure. Have you heard of the “sesame score”? Might find it an interesting topic to research as it ascribes a “value” to individuals based on an amalgam of constituent factors which leads to either access or denial of goods/services/travel etc... definitely the closest thing to an effectual “mark of the beast” I’ve ever encountered. The Chinese tech apparatus is apparently working to this end-

On a slightly different but related topic... tell me what you make of this?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MRtEgdgj_XQ

Sorry that was wrong link- same people but this is the more relevant one to the point- Hmmm that’s interesting,... it won’t allow me to link to the video I was hoping to share:/
It’s called “the plan to save the world” by the same people who made the above production- obviously not the “human nature” part but the surveillance part is quite interesting.


_________________
Fletcher

 2018/10/26 12:40Profile
ginnyrose
Member



Joined: 2004/7/7
Posts: 7404
Mississippi

 Re:

Quote:

"We Christians in the West get most of our bibles from publishers who get them printed in China, not to mention most all other stuff as well."

Question: is it possible that by printing Christian literature the Chinese employees who work at these places will be exposed to the gospel and become Believers? Whenever you print something you will make errors and the result is trashed. Surely, some words will jump out at a person, pique their curiosity... What say?

Sandra


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Sandra Miller

 2018/11/17 21:44Profile
CofG
Member



Joined: 2017/2/12
Posts: 139
Cambodia

 Re:

The alerting part of this article is that the Chinese methodology and attitude toward house churches is spreading to other Asian countries with strong political ties with China although this is in its infancy. Maintaining power is usually the secular justification but the obvious spiritual motives underneath are easy to discern.

What I will disagree with is the notion that not all persecution is "good" for the church. If God permits it, which is always a requirement for evil to move, the impact of persecution must by definition, always be a blessing and good for the people of God. Jesus and the Holy Spirit are very clear on that point so I was somewhat alarmed at the interpretation given by the author of the article.

The church can grow stronger, more joyful, loving and faithful in a trial than otherwise. That is how Christlikeness grows because Jesus, our forerunner, example and Lord was made complete in suffering as will His cherished bride become more like Him likewise.


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Robert

 2018/11/18 3:57Profile





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