Chinese Christian Tells How Government Harassed His Family After Shutting Down Church Before They Fled to America

DESIRE FOR UNITY: Catholics attend a Christmas eve mass at a church near the city of Taiyuan in Shanxi province in 2012. Catholic officials and missionaries in China say that many in their communities want to be reunited in a single church. REUTERS/Jason Lee

It’s been over one year since Stephen first arrived in the U.S., fleeing from the communist government in China. 

The Chinese Christian, whose church was shut down by government agents, told The Christian Post recently about the harassment he and his family faced before they fled the country.

Stephen (his real name will not be disclosed for security reasons) spoke with CP last week while attending the launch event of Open Doors USA’s 2020 World Watch List, an influential data report ranking the worst 50 countries in the world when it comes to Christian persecution.

Stephen’s church (which will not be named for security reasons) is one of nearly 6,000 underground churches shut down by officials in China as authorities have cracked down on the house church movement in recent years, according to Open Doors USA.

“I still kind of have [post-traumatic stress disorder],” Stephen said. “My sister asked me to immigrate to the states before. We prayed because we wanted to stay in China.”

Stephen and his family attended the underground church for nearly two years before it was shut down by government officials in 2018.

On the day his church was raided, the church’s pastor and other church members were arrested.

Stephen, however, was spared arrest that day because he was on an airplane returning to China from an international trip. Upon returning to the country, he spent a couple of days in Beijing before returning to his home city.

On the day of the church raid, Stephen said local police officials went to his family’s apartment and knocked on the door. However, his wife and four kids were too afraid to answer the door. Instead, his wife locked the doors and turned off the lights.

Although the police officials left the apartment complex without breaking down the door to the family’s apartment that day, the family’s trials with the authorities were only just beginning.

The next day while Stephen was still in Beijing, he got a call from his wife letting him know the electricity to their apartment had been shut off. His wife and kids were left in a freezing apartment in the dead of winter.

Stephen said he called the property manager to ask why the power had been cut off.

“He said the policeman asked him to shut it off to see if anybody is living there,” Stephen said.

He told the property manager that they did live there but he was on a business trip.

The property manager told Stephen that he would report that to the police and would turn the power back on if allowed. Although power was turned back on within 30 minutes of Stephen’s phone call, electricity in their apartment was shut off again the next day hours after Stephen arrived back home.

He again called the property manager. But this time, the property manager told him that he couldn’t turn the power back on until Stephen showed up at the local police station.

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SOURCE: Christian Post, Samuel Smith