Global News - Redeem the Oppressed

The Quest for Safety: Chinese Christians on the Move

Chinese Christians, facing years of persecution by government forces, are increasingly compelled to flee their homeland, seeking refuge and freedom in foreign soils. Many escape under looming threats from Beijing, often finding themselves still in jeopardy after seeking asylum in other countries. A poignant case is that of 57 congregants from the Shenzhen Holy Reformed Church (SHRC), who, after a failed asylum attempt in South Korea, sought sanctuary in Thailand.

Facing Harsh Realities Back Home

Pastor Pan Yongguang, the leader of the SHRC, reveals a distressing narrative of unyielding oppression in China, marked by police raids on their gatherings, aggressive surveillance, and interrogation. Since 2014, the crackdown escalated with the confiscation of church properties, including computers and Bibles. The situation worsened in 2018 when Pastor Pan voiced dissent against the Regulations on Religious Affairs, prompting repeated relocations to avoid further persecution.

“The enforcement was relentless. Being barred from attending a training session abroad made us feel even more cornered,” shared Pastor Pan.

A Fleeting Sanctuary in South Korea

In search of freedom, the group ventured to South Korea between October and December 2019. Unfortunately, their hope for peace was brief as harassment followed them, orchestrated by the Chinese government even on foreign soil. “The embassy’s calls and baseless demands were a clear tactic to ensnare us,” explained one church member, shedding light on the covert threats and deceit they faced.

Despite approaching the UN Refugee Agency in South Korea, they were disheartened by the slim odds of obtaining asylum, leading to another heart-wrenching decision to relocate.

Thailand: A Beam of Hope Amid Uncertainty

“With dwindling hope in South Korea, our goal isn’t merely to escape China but to find a haven where we can live in liberty and safety,” stated Pastor Pan. In Thailand, the group applied for refugee status through the United Nations, hopeful yet aware of the challenges ahead.

However, the risk in Thailand is tangible. Historical instances of Chinese asylum seekers being deported back to China during their pending UN refugee status applications hang ominously over the newly arrived group, highlighting the fragility of their safety.

Persistence in the Face of Adversity

The ordeal of these resilient Chinese Christians serves as a stark reminder of the global struggle for religious freedom and the right to safety. Even from afar, the pervasive reach of Chinese authorities influences their decisions and perpetuates fear, even in their places of refuge.

As they confront the uncertainty of their futures and the complexities of seeking asylum, the unwavering spirit of Pastor Pan and his congregation calls attention to the broader plight faced by religious minorities across the globe. They fight not just for their safety, but for the fundamental human right to practice their faith freely and without fear.

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By Max Gibson

Max Gibson, also known as Mosheh, holds a bachelor's degree in computer science and has competed on his college's crew, cross country and track and field teams. Max co-founded the College Republicans and has run successful businesses, including Apex Web Services, which serves as CTO for non-profits Farrukh Saif Foundation and 'Emergency Committee to Save the Persecuted and Enslaved.' He has been in a leadership position in the non-profit sector since 2011. In addition to his business pursuits, Max is a combat veteran of three major wars and is known for his generosity and strong belief in God.