The Sunday service this week at an unassuming church in Taiwan was especially moving for one man. It was the first time Liao Qiang had worshipped publicly since authorities shut down his church in China seven months ago.
The 49-year-old arrived in Taiwan last week after fleeing China with five family members. He and his 23-year-old daughter, Ren Ruiting, described living under constant surveillance for the past seven months after authorities detained them and dozens of other members of their prominent but not government-sanctioned church in December.
The Christian family from Early Rain Church in China that fled to safety in Taiwan is speaking out for the first time about the terrifying crackdown against Christians in the communist nation.
According to a striking report from the CBN News, 49-year-old Liao Qiang and his 23-year-old daughter said they were living under 24/7 surveillance after their church was deemed not to be sanctioned by the government.
“Liao and Ren’s account is the first detailing what has happened since the detentions began at the Early Rain Covenant Church. It shows the determination of the Chinese government — and the lengths it has gone — to eradicate a congregation that has long been a thorn in its side.”
Early Rain’s pastor, Wang Yi, who defiantly remained steadfast in his faith despite being detained since last year has been critical of Xi and the party. Yi particularly annoyed the communist powers that be by doing things such as holding a prayer service on June 4 each year to commemorate the 1989 bloody crackdown on democracy protesters in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square, an anniversary that China’s government has sought to wipe from memory.
Liao’s daughter (Ren) explained that Early Rain members had to report their location to authorities while making thinly veiled threats.
“That’s when I knew it was no longer safe for us here, and that my children were most in danger,” he told The Associated Press after a recent church service.
Hundreds of Early Rain members were taken into custody in one of the higher profile crackdowns on Christianity, a religion growing exponentially in China despite efforts to stomp it out. The Chinese government feels Christians are “standing in the way” of their efforts to enact totalitarian rule.
“Liao said the police tried to force him to sign a statement renouncing his church, but he refused,” the Associated Press reported.
The Chinese government is clearly demonstrating the perils of having no faith in a higher power can do to a country. The government believes they are the ultimate authority so, naturally, anyone and any movement that teaches there is something greater than government is a threat to the status quo and to the power the government wields over the people.
This is likely why there are countless ‘re-education camps’ spread across China, holding religious minorities prisoner while brainwashing them. It sounds like something out of a bad Hollywood movie, but it’s actually happening. Look:
As for the Christian family that fled this persecution, they hope to eventually make it to America. The scary part, however, is they only have a temporary tourist visa, and could find themselves getting sent back to China.
This would clearly be an unfavorable outcome, as they’ve already spoken out about the horrors unfolding currently in China. They’ll need to convince the government of Taiwan (or America) that they need asylum from religious persecution.
But even a move to America would be, in their most hopeful outcome, only temporary. Ren explained to AP that she’d ultimately love to come back to China – when it’s free.
“One day when China opens up, we’ll go back,” she said. “Whether it’s five years, or even 10 years, we’ll eventually make our way back to where God wants us to serve.”
China’s ruling Communist Party has carried out a widespread crackdown on all religious institutions in recent years, including bulldozing churches and mosques, barring Tibetan children from Buddhist religious studies and incarcerating more than a million members of Islamic ethnic minorities in what are termed “re-education centers.” President and party leader Xi Jinping has ordered that all religions must “Sinicize” to ensure they are loyal to the officially atheistic party.
China ranks 27th on Christian support organization Open Doors 2019 World Watch list of the 50 countries where it is most difficult to be a Christian.