Chinese survivors of religious persecution shared their stories with reporters July 18 at the State Department’s Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom.
Ouyang Manping told of the non-stop persecution and harassment members of her evangelical Christian house church have faced:
“Our church is called the Living Stone House Church from Guiyang city, Guizhou province. In December 9, 2015, our church was illegally banned by the Chinese government. All of our spiritual literature in our church, including the Bibles, were confiscated. Many of our brothers and sisters were put under house arrest, detained, and some were even sentenced to imprisonment. Our pastor, Yang Hua was even sentenced to two-and-a-half year’s imprisonment. The government [imposed] a heavy fine on our church which was the equivalent of over one million U.S. dollars. My husband [Pastor Su Tianfu] was sentenced to one year’s imprisonment with two year’s reprieve plus six months [of] being monitored. Our church was totally shut down and the property we purchased was even confiscated and closed.”
“The persecution now against our Christian faith in China has been very, very severe,” said Manping. “The famous house church called Early Rain Covenant Church based in Chengdu city, Sichuan province, led by Pastor Wang Yi, many of their believers were arrested too. And Pastor John Cao—an American Chinese pastor—he was sentenced to seven years imprisonment [last year] and his second trial was delayed and delayed a number of times already. Recently the court said [it would not] have an open hearing in the court. He will be tried on paper.”
Manping said that when Chinese police arrested church leaders and members, “No law was even cited. We were only told we were not registered. … Sister [Zhang Xiuhong, the church accountant] was sentenced with a false charge of illegal business management. She was sentenced to five years in prison, and then later on she received a reprieve. Pastor Yang Hua was sentenced with a charge of leaking state secrets. The other two, Yu Lei and Wang Yao, were sentenced with the same charge, leaking state secrets. My husband received the same charge, leaking state secrets.”
Speaking through her interpreter, ChinaAidPresident Bob Fu, Manping said her hope was that the United States would “really help China have true religious freedom.”
“I hope brothers and sisters here in U.S. can pray for China,” she said, “and urge the Chinese government to stop persecution.”