Map reflects the 30 most recent Persecution Reports. Click HERE
for the Map Legend.
Friday, December 13th, 2013
In an almost unbelievable series of events, the Nanle Country Christian Church in Henan Province was recently attacked by Chinese authorities who several weeks earlier arrested the church pastor and 23 members. After being barred from worshiping in their building on Dec. 1, the congregation moved to a location in a nearby forest to hold their service at a site pre-approved by the local government. Only a few minutes after the group of about 200 Christians began singing hymns authorities arrived and began to "physically and verbally" abuse the congregation, reportedly slapping one elderly woman in the face so hard she began to bleed. The congregation then retreated to a roadside, where they were instructed to return to their church building. Upon arrival the government had placed two former church members who were considered radical and had been kicked out of the church years before to "lead" the service. This article also lists several of those members who still remain in detention.
Friday, December 6th, 2013
On Saturday, Nov. 16th, approximately a dozen Chinese police officers walked into the Nanle County Christian Church in Henan Province, a government sanctioned “Three-Self” church, and “tied up” the church’s pastor, Zhang Shaojie. Authorities then spirited him away to a secret location. Today, almost three weeks later, no one is quite sure where exactly Pastor Shaojie is, or if he’s even still alive.
Friday, December 6th, 2013
The following excerpt is from an interview with Pastor Bob Fu, the founder and president of ChinaAid, a non-profit advocacy organization based in Texas that focuses on human rights issues in China, especially those involving religious freedom. Pastor Fu expresses his belief that while both the Clinton and Bush administrations took serious, concrete action to address the violation of religious freedom in China, the current administration has ignored the issue. Pastor Fu even points out that while he had direct access to the White House under the Bush administration, he was at one point even "black-listed" from attending a meeting at the White House, probably for fear of upsetting China.
Wednesday, December 4th, 2013
Christian Solidarity Worldwide, a UK based religious freedom advocacy group, has written to British Prime Minister David Cameron asking him to specifically bring up religious liberty in his talks with the Communist nation this week. Despite guaranteeing complete religious freedom in its constitution, China routinely suppresses religious groups, including millions of Christians, through harassment and arrest. In mid-November Pastor Zhang Shaojie and more than 20 of his church members were arrested without charge by authorities in Henan Province. His case is only one of many throughout the country.
Monday, December 2nd, 2013
ICC Note: On Nov. 15th Pastor Zhang Shaojie and nearly two dozen of his church members were arrested by police in Henan Province. So far the Chinese authorities have refused to allow the churches lawyer to meet with the pastor, who has not yet been officially charged with a crime. Although the arrest of house church Christians in China is fairly common, the he detention of the pastor Shaojie and his church members was highly unusual, as the pastor was leader of an official, government approved "Three-Self" church. Members of the community believe the arrest may have been a result of the pastors outreach programs into the city of Nanle, where the church is located.
Sunday, December 1st, 2013
In this extended article UCANews reports on the tracking of Catholic evangelism across China and the challenges still faced today by the Church. Catholicism and Protestantism have been growing at an explosive rate across China for more than two decades, despite the continued persecution of both groups. As recently as Nov. 16th the pastor and 23 members of a Protestant congregation in Henan Province were arrested for unknown reasons. In addition a large number of Catholic priests remain in government detention, some in secret locations.
Friday, November 29th, 2013
In central Henan Province, the arrest of a Protestant pastor and 23 of his church members continues to make waves. Earlier this week police authorities managed to completely obstruct a human rights lawyer, Xia Jun, hired by the persecuted church of Nanle County, from visiting with detained pastor Zhang Shaojie or his church members. The pastor was arrested by police on Nov. 16, who then proceeded to detain church members on Nov. 17 that arrived for Sunday morning services. The crackdown on the church is especially surprising, as the Nanle County Christian Church is a government endorsed "Three-Self" church.
Thursday, November 28th, 2013
The following article takes an in-depth look at the split between illegal house churches and the government backed "Three-Self" church in China. Written by the Communist controlled Global Times, the article fails to mention the arrest of thousands of house church Christians every year or the heavy handed control exerted by the government over pastors and members of the "Three-Self Church." It also fails to mention that unofficially China probably has something in the area of 130 million Christians, much higher than the official statistics quoted by the government.
Tuesday, November 26th, 2013
The arrest of Pastor Zhang Shaojie in Henan Province and much of his congregation earlier this month has sparked an outcry from human rights activists who are calling upon nearly two dozens lawyers to take up the churches case. Initial attempts by a legal team to defend the pastor was met with resistance from authorities, so activists have decided to step up their effort to defend the pastor. Pastor Shaojie was arrested on Nov. 16 along with a few family members and 25 church members, despite the fact that Pastor Shaojie led a legal, government sanctioned "Three-Self" church.
Monday, November 25th, 2013
ICC has been following the case of Pastor Zhang Shaojie and nearly two dozen of his church members who were arrested by Chinese authorities on November 16th and 17th. Recently Pastor Shaojie's daughter, Zhang Huixin reported that she was not only forced to flee her home to avoid arrest, but that she is now receiving threatening phone calls promising to "Wipe out her entire family" if she does not stop reporting on the churches case to international media. The arrests and crackdown, which took place in Nanle County, Henan Province, occurred despite the fact that the church was legally registered. The operation against the church came only days after China's leaders promised human rights reforms, including the abolition of the countries notorious re-education through labor system.
Thursday, November 21st, 2013
China actively persecutes Christians, especially those worshiping in places or in with practices not officially sanctioned by the Communist government. The government has promised to reform the state regulation of religion, but the continuing persecution of Christians leave many wondering whether the promised "reforms" may infect worsen the situation.
Thursday, November 21st, 2013
Communist officials "invited" Zhang Shaojie, Christian leader of Nanle, "for an interview" and he has since disappeared. Twenty other Christians were also arrested in a raid on his church. The pastor's family has been forced to flee from the area. His whereabouts and condition are presently unknown.
Tuesday, November 19th, 2013
Over the weekend a Christian pastor, sister, and many other church workers were detained by security forces in central China. The details are still emerging on the situation. It appears that a scheme was developed by local security forces to gather leaders of the Nanle County Christian Church and then take them into custody. The large church is a part of the state-sanctioned church system and the exact reasoning for the arrests remains unknown.
Monday, November 18th, 2013
On Saturday, Chinese police in Henan Province seized the pastor of Nanle County Christian church, Zhang Xiaojie. When church members protested the pastors detention outside of a local police station, several were reportedly beaten. The stress of the incident also reportedly led to Pastor Zhang's parents, who also had two of their daughters arrested in addition to Pastor Zhang, hospitalized with high blood pressure. Authorities then called and harassed church members throughout the night and posted guards in front of the church on Sunday. Any members who arrived at the church were detained, and Pastor Zhang's daughter estimates that at least 20 Christians have been taken in by police. The church is an official government sponsored "Three-Self" church, making the arrests highly unusual. Locals believe the arrest are the results of the pastors popularity and activism in the community, while his arrest may also serve as an indication that complete religious freedom will not be allowed despite a recent announcment that the Communist Party would be closing re-education through labor camps. Many thousands of house church Christians are held in the camps every year.
Thursday, November 14th, 2013
Efforts underway in China to train house church Christians on their legal rights are bearing fruit. In this report ChinaAid describes the situation of a Christian couple who lead a house church in Sichuan Province. The couple has had their home raided three times by police in the last year, been beaten by authorities, and had their belongings confiscated. After receiving training on their legal rights, the couple is now confronting the local police about the stolen property, requesting that it be returned. Christian human rights activists and lawyers are taking huge risks in China today to push for an expansion of religious freedom in the still Communist nation.
Wednesday, November 13th, 2013
In a bold move to demand the return of church property confiscated by China's Communist government, Christians gathered in the central province of Henan for a peaceful protest. The protesters were immediately greeted by a large group of police and late arrivals to the protest were not allowed entrance to the city square. Attorney's representing the Christians confronted the police but were "pushed down." The local authorities ultimately did negotiate with the protesters but several weeks later the church has not received a firm answer on the return of its property. Millions of Christians continue to worship in illegal house churches across China and are technically subject to arrest and imprisonment for up to four years at a labor camp.
Tuesday, November 5th, 2013
Bishop Peter Liu Guandong spent more than two decades behind prison bars after being arrested in the 1950's for resisting the control of the Communist backed Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association. Upon his release he passionately dedicated his life to evangelism and eventually became the president of the Catholic underground Bishops' Conference, a group of Catholic leaders who refused along with Bishop Peter to swear allegiance to the Chinese Communist Party. Even though Bishop Peter retired in 1994, he was place under house arrest. In 1997 priests managed to help the Bishop escape house arrest so they could provide for his care. He spent his remaining years living in secrecy.
Saturday, November 2nd, 2013
In an important press release, Congressman Frank Wolf of Virginia, a long-time campaigner for international human rights, has renewed his call for Secretary of State John Kerry to meet with the wife of imprisoned Christian attorney Gao Zhisheng. Gao was an outspoken campaigner on behalf of house church Christians and members of the Falun Gong movement. He was first detained in 2009 and currently remains imprisoned in China, having reportedly been tortured on multiple occasions. A meeting between Kerry and Gao's wife, Geng He, would send a strong signal to China that human rights issues are becoming a higher priority for the United States.
Friday, November 1st, 2013
Nigeria is Africa's most populous nation. While Christians and Muslims have generally coexisted peacefully, an Islamist insurgency in the North has subjected a great many of Nigeria's Christians to persecution. The Pew Research study referenced here indicates that Nigeria may hold the largest number of persecuted Christians on Earth.
Thursday, October 31st, 2013
After more than a year under effective house arrest, Bishop Thaddeus Ma Daqin, often referred to simply as Bishop Ma, has been allowed to make a very brief public appearance. Bishop Ma was detained and forced to undergo religious re-education after boldly and publicly declaring his resignation from the Communist controlled Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association during his ordination as bishop. The public appearance is giving hope to Catholics that restrictions on the courageous bishop's movement may be slowly relaxed.
Saturday, October 26th, 2013
On Wednesday judges in Vietnam's Nghe An Province sentenced two Catholic men to several months in prison. The men were detained four months ago after campaigning for human rights and their arrest sparked large protests by the Catholic community. On September 4th one of those protests was violently broken up by riot police. Dozens of Christians were injured and reports at the time said authorities prevented many from receiving treatment at nearby hospitals. The sentence demonstrates just how resolved Vietnam remains to control and contain the growth of Christianity, despite the negative publicity and protests that such control generates.
Friday, October 25th, 2013
In this investigative post, ChinaSource interprets a recent article published by the government controlled media in China which acknowledges the divisions between the state controlled Three-Self Church and the millions of Chinese Christians who worship freely, but against the law, in unregistered churches. Today China maintains an official policy of trying to "persuade" these believers to join government controlled churches. According to ICC's sources, hundreds if not thousands of house church believers are regularly imprisoned in "re-education through labor" camps for up to four years at a time without trial. In addition some leaders have been given long prison sentences, such as Alimujiang Yimiti in Xinjiang Province and Yang Rongli.
Friday, October 18th, 2013
Multiple house churches across Beijing have been raided by police and officials of the Religious Affairs Bureau in what could be the largest crackdown on house churches in China's capital in recent memory. On top of three churches shut down by police, officials also raided multiple locations of Beijing's Christian Chenguang Bookstore. Worshipers reported the raids happened mid-service and that police confiscated all Bibles, even taking personal Bibles out of church members hands. Those who tried to film the raids on their phones had their phones confiscated and any footage deleted. Despite trying to cultivate an image of religious tolerance with the international community, China continues to arrest and imprison hundreds, if not thousands, of Christians across the country every year.
Saturday, October 12th, 2013
Saturday, October 12th, 2013
Ni Yulan is perhaps one of the most driven Christian human rights activist in China today. A little over ten years ago she was beaten and tortured by prison guards so badly that she was left permanently disabled and unable to walk without assistance. As an attorney she fought cases of religious freedom and attempted to help victims of forced eviction. Last week Ni Yulan was released from prison after completing a two-and-a-half year sentence.
Thursday, October 10th, 2013
In the northern Chinese province of Inner Mongolia three Christians have had their appeal rejected by a local court. Two received eight-year sentences and one a nine-year sentence. Their arrest last summer under charges of committing "cult crimes" reveals yet another way that the Communist Party of China is controlling and repressing the growth of Christianity in the country.
Tuesday, October 8th, 2013
Defense attorneys fighting for an appeal to the sentencing of seven Christians imprisoned in Henan Province have refused to return to court after facing a hostile judge intent on wrapping up the case without a fair trial. In China Christians in recent years have begun to use the justice system as a way to protest persecution, but Communist authorities still hold large amounts of influence over the courts. Often human rights lawyers who attempt to stand up for Christians are harassed, disbarred, arrested, and imprisoned themselves.
Friday, October 4th, 2013
A recent spate of attacks against Christians and house churches in China underlines the country’s relentless habit of persecuting Christians, even at the cost of its own reputation in the international community.
Friday, October 4th, 2013
In the following transcript, former Chinese house church pastor Guo Baosheng testifies before members of Taiwan's government on the persecution he faced as a Christian leader up until fleeing China in 2008. Despite many indications that conditions for Christians living in large urban areas have improved over the past ten years, ICC's research suggests that thousands of Christians are still arbitrarily detained and sentenced to labor camps for as long as 4 years without trial if they refuse to join a government backed three-self church.
Tuesday, September 24th, 2013
Across China millions of Christians practice their faith at the risk of facing harassment or arrest. Although the actual number is unknown, it's believed by ICC and other groups that thousands of Christians who worship at illegal house churches across China are currently serving prison sentences at re-education through labor camps. Police in China retain the ability to effectively sentence some "criminals", including those who gather for illegal worship services, to up to four years at a labor camp without trial. In this case four Christians were detained by police for two weeks for teaching Bible lessons to middle and elementary school children. In China it is also technically illegal for anyone under the age of 18 to attend a religious service.