Communist officials in China deported 13 families in 2017 who had been living and working in the country as missionaries.
The Communist officials alleged that the missionaries were “illegally” living in the country because of their Christian work.
A Korean missionary who was also deported detailed the 2017 deportation recently in an interview.
He told the International Christian Concern that in 2016 a missionary leader arrived at a Chinese station and was immediately arrested. Later the rest of the mission team of 13 South Korean families was taken into police custody.
Police charged the groups with “being missionaries” and told them they were illegally in the country.
Chinese law says that foreigners may not start religious groups or try to convert people.
The Korean missionary says, however, that the families were teaching the Bible to North Koreans who regularly visit China. He says they were not trying to force conversion on them.
In January 2017, the 13 families were deported.
Later, police closed all the Korean-Chinese churches in Dandong. The ICC says officials had hacked their email accounts and listened in on phone calls in the group of missionaries.
“Such act of tapping the communication is presumed to be an attempt of Xi Jinping’s government to demonstrate its power in the border area, where they see the admission of North Korean defectors as the root of the instability in the region,” ICC said in a statement.
In recent years, officials have deported hundreds of South Korean pastors and missionaries from China, shutting down their churches and operations.
“Korean churches have a long history of missionary work in China … but what we have seen in the past 18 months to two years has been a steady crackdown on the part of Chinese officials on South Korean missionary activities in China aimed at helping North Koreans,” Eric Foley, CEO of Voice of the Martyrs Korea, told the Christian Post last year. “It’s a story that has not been told in China or Korea.”