Christians in China feel full force of authorities’ repression
For those familiar with the story of China’s underground church, the Washington Post’s account of Pastor Su Tianfu should come as no surprise.
It reads more like a tale of cloak and dagger rather than hymns and sermons.
“Pastor Su Tianfu slides into the back seat and tells the driver to hit it.
He looks over his shoulder: “Is there anybody following us?”
It is days before Christmas, but instead of working on his sermon, Su is giving his tail the slip.
The slight and soft-spoken Protestant preacher is no stranger to surveillance. Su has worked for years in China’s unregistered “house churches,” and he said he has been interrogated more times than he can count.”
Su expressed his surprise to what has tamen place this month— an absolute crackdown.
China Aid, a Texas-based Christian group, has obtained an official directive from the local Communist Party that claims that shutting down the church is necessary to “maintain social stability”.
The Dec. 9 raid on Su’s church is revealing. It speaks to the pattern of religious oppression that is playing out in China as the officially atheist Communist Party struggles to control the spread of religion.
“The overall environment in the past few years has been harsh,” said Yang Fenggang, director of Purdue University’s Center on Religion and Chinese Society. “There’s a tightened control over civil society in general, including churches.”
The church in China is experiencing rapid growth even in the midst of such persecution. Some estimates believe that there are as many as 100 million Christians in China. Pray for the underground church and that revival would sweep across the nation.