The Chinese government is uneasy about the nation’s growing Christian population. Their latest solution? Install CCTV cameras in Christian churches, crack down on Bible sales, publish a retranslated and annotated Bible that features a “correct understanding” of the text, and shut down churches that will not comply. As Lily Kuo reports for The Guardian, “A statement signed by 500 house church leaders in November says authorities have removed crosses from buildings, forced churches to hang the Chinese flag and sing patriotic songs, and barred minors from attending.”
One of the most notable churches to resist these government restrictions is Early Rain Covenant Church in Chengdu. Over 100 members of Early Rain were arrested in December. The church’s pastor Wang Yi (pictured above) and his wife Jiang Rong are still in detention and charged with “inciting subversion” against the government.
Wang expected this. Before he and his wife were detained, Wang issued a bold public statement:
If I am imprisoned for a long or short period of time, if I can help reduce the authorities’ fear of my faith and of my Savior, I am very joyfully willing to help them in this way. But I know that only when I renounce all the wickedness of this persecution against the church and use peaceful means to disobey, will I truly be able to help the souls of the authorities and law enforcement. I hope God uses me, by means of first losing my personal freedom, to tell those who have deprived me of my personal freedom that there is an authority higher than their authority, and that there is a freedom that they cannot restrain, a freedom that fills the church of the crucified and risen Jesus Christ.
Read Wang Yi's full statement and Lily Kuo's coverage in The Guardian. And remember to pray for Chinese Christians in these dark days as they face “the worst crackdown on religion since the country’s Cultural Revolution, when Mao Zedong’s government vowed to eradicate religion.”