News / Thoughts

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News / Thoughts

China: Heavy fines and prison

November 28, 2022

You’ve probably heard about the current Covid-19 lock down protests in China. People have been arrested for questioning the strict lock-down measures, whilst others have been detained simply for taking photos of the protests. It shows just how tightly the Chinese government want to control the way people think, behave and relate to their authority. But it’s not just anti lockdown protestors that are facing the wrath of the government. For the last several years, the pressure facing Christians has been increasing.

Recently, a 41-year-old Christian has been fined the equivalent of £17,000 (150,000 Chinese yuan) for hosting what was described as an unauthorised religious training event. The heavy fine is the latest in a series of punishments being handed out for Christian activity considered ‘unauthorised’ by the authorities.

A church in China

The event took place in June, in Dali city in China’s southwestern Yunnan Province. The Yunnan Province Dali Municipal Bureau of Ethnic and Religious Affairs ordered him to pay the 150,000 yuan fine after it reviewed evidence of the gathering, including photos, confiscated documents and a list of attendees.

“Heavy penalties are one of the ways in which the authorities hinder Christian leaders and their activities which are then also used as a warning to others,” said an Open Doors field researcher. “We recently learned of another case where someone else who ran Christian training faced a heavy fine from authorities.”

Believer imprisoned for selling Christian books

This is the latest fine in a series of court rulings against Christians. In December 2021, a court in China’s Zhejiang province upheld a verdict by another court against a Christian online bookseller in which he was sentenced to seven years in prison and a fine of 200,000 yuan (approximately £23,000).

Chen Yu was arrested in and charged with ‘selling illegal overseas religious publications online’ for importing and selling books from Taiwan. The police confiscated more than 800 of the sold books through contacting his customers in China.

In August this year, a pastor of a house church was detained for purchasing Christian literature online and faces charges of fraud.

And another believer, Chen Lijun, has been held at the Lu’an County Detention Centre in western Anhui province since 13 August while more than 100 members of his church also face persecution, as reported by ChinaAid. Lijun also received a fine of 100,000 yuan (approx. US$ 13,600) because of his faith, said his wife.

Christians encouraged to ‘focus on sovereignty of God’

The outcomes of last month’s 20th Congress of China’s Communist Party do not bode well for the future of Christians and other minority groups in the country, says Thomas Muller, persecution analyst with Open Doors World Watch Research.

“The Party Congress showed that authorities want to increase their push for control and, judging from experience, Christians are more likely to be seen as a threat to security than an asset.”

As for the Christians themselves, their response varies depending on the location and the church leaders. The Open Doors field researcher explains: “Some pastors are afraid of the potential of persecution that is coming, while others encourage their congregation to focus on the sovereignty of God and not to worry on the outcome of the event.”

Our brothers and sisters in China really value your prayers – they can see the power of God at work through them. Please keep praying for them to stand strong in the face of this rising opposition.

Pray now…

  • That God will strengthen the faith of these believers facing heavy fines, and that the charges and punishments against them will be dropped
  • For strength and wisdom for Open Doors local partners as they seek to help believers accused of ‘unauthorised’ activities
  • That God’s power would shine through His church in China in these cases and draw many more people to Christ.

Do something…

1. Get our free World Cup prayer wall chart and pray for Christians facing persecution from countries in the tournament.
Download yours here…

2. Download our free Christmas session outline! Grab a free Christmas session outline to use in your youth/small groups in the build up to Christmas!
Get it here…

3. Pray regularly: Every Monday night at 7pm we’ll be praying one prayer for one minute for the one in seven Christians around the world who face persecution. Set an alarm and tune in…

We support people who are beaten, tortured,
imprisoned, falsely accused, and hated simply for following Jesus.