ICC Note: Although many commentaries focus on the “improving” human rights situation in China, 2012 still saw numerous dramatic incidents of Christian persecution, from house church raids to the secret imprisonment of Christian human rights lawyers. A once in a decade leadership change led to a security “crack down” on groups considered “dissidents”, which in many cases included Christians.
01/16/2013 China (CAN) – 2012 was a year of dramatic upheavals for the Chinese government and Chinese society. The eruption of one explosive and unexpected incident after another provided the Chinese people as well as the rest of the world with a stream of cliff-hanging, dramatic news stories. Current events changed, a leadership transition took place, but the church of Jesus Christ continued to be on the receiving end of various forms of persecution. Nevertheless, the church continued to quietly hold fast to the faith, awaiting the fullness of the days of suffering.
- On Jan. 1, 2012, ChinaAid learned that prominent Christian rights defense lawyer Gao Zhisheng, who had been severely persecuted for many years by the Chinese government headed by Hu Jintao and Wen Jiabao and forcibly “disappeared” for 20 months, had been sent to Shaya Prison (see photo at right) in the Aksu region of the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region to serve a three-year prison term.
- Since April 10, 2011, the well-known Beijing Shouwang Church has been forced to hold its worship services outdoors, enduring non-stop persecution to this day at the hands of the Beijing government. In the past 20-plus months, many believers were taken into police custody, verbally and physically abused, put under house arrest, and etc.
- On Jan. 14, 2012, Jenny Chen, a Chinese Christian businesswoman, was kidnapped from her own home in Tianjin by two men who refused to show identification and taken to a secret place for questioning. She later realized that she had been kidnapped by state security agents. She was interrogated in a cold, windowless cell with only one chair. During her two days of detention, state security agents punched and kicked this woman in her 50s, pulled her hair and fiercely slapping her in the face. Already ill from being deprived of food and water, this sister almost went into shock and had to be taken to the Tianjin Public Security Hospital from where she escaped and boarded a flight to Los Angles.
- Christian rights defense lawyers and dissidents given long prison sentences or are murdered; China’s Hu Jintao-Wen Jiabao government embarrasses the world
- On June 2, 2012, in Zeng Family town, Zhenping county, in the city of Ankang, Shaanxi province, Feng Jianmei, more than seven months pregnant, was abducted by local government officials and taken to a hospital where she was forcibly aborted of her unborn baby. Her baby girl was brutally killed.
- On July 7, 2012, ignoring the Vatican’s anger and strong protest, China’s official Patriotic Catholic Association conducted ordination ceremonies in Shanghai and Harbin without the approval of the Vatican. In his speech at the ordination mass at St. Ignatius Cathedral in Xujiahui, Shanghai, auxiliary Bishop Ma Daqin (called assistant bishop by the government) of the Shanghai diocese said that, as an auxiliary bishop appointed by the Vatican, he would resign from his position in the Patriotic Association, effective immediately, and would focus on pastoral duties and evangelism. He was later taken away by the authorities and has disappeared.
- House church in in Xinjiang’s Hotan suffers continued persecution; minister Zhong Shuguang looks heavenward in faith
- A “Three-Self” church in Yushu city, Jilin province, is persecuted by the government and developers for refusing to agree to the illegal demolition and relocation of its property
- Christians were punished for medical services and evangelistic activities in Inner Mongolia; two were sentenced to two years in labor camp
- Christians subjected to three kinds of persecution in Anhui, Guangdong and Shenzhen: Christian college student-volunteers encounter local thugs, Dongguan House Church shut down, Shenzhen Church engages in street evangelism, is accused of Qigong activities.
For the Chinese people, 2012 was a year of both anxiety and hope. Persecuted churches and Christians quietly held fast to the Bible’s teachings, prayed for the persecutors, prayed for the peace of the city in which they suffered, thus becoming Chinese society’s city on a hill and light in the darkness.