Advice for a Chinese Christian Under Investigation

Editor’s Note: This is a real, recent exchange on a secure messaging app between a Christian concerned about an upcoming questioning from government officials, and believers with more experience than him in these matters. This exchange was both challenging and encouraging to us as Western believers, and also helped us better understand the current pressures faced by many Chinese Christian leaders.  


A little brother, asking for intercession: The national security guard from my hometown traveled thousands of miles to come to the city where I am serving in ministry to interview me. When they called to inform me of this, they did not explain the reason for my interview. They also arrived suddenly, and I was not in my city of service when they came. Now they tell me that, when I return home, I must meet with them.

Teachers and brothers, please give me advice and prayer. Thank you!

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“The church has not been marked as a hostile force, but it has probably been marked as an ‘organization that is easily influenced and penetrated by foreign forces.’

Elder Xu: This is all just a guess, because we do not know the inside story of the departments that have come to question you. Again, I’m just guessing.

  1. I think that each investigative agency (for example, the Public Security Bureau, police, or National Security) has their own large database. Each department uses the database to issue its own instructions.


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  2. During politically sensitive periods, such as the [2019] celebration of the 70th anniversary of the PRC or the 20th Party Congress [to be held in November 2022], each department takes actions according to the “stability maintenance tasks” listed as their responsibility.

  3. The church is the last organization that exists systematically in civil society and has not been controlled or eradicated. Therefore, the church will become an important part of the daily list of responsibilities of local government departments as they seek to maintain stability. The church has not been marked as a hostile force, but it has probably been marked as an “organization that is easily influenced and penetrated by foreign forces.”

  4. When it comes to churches, the government still uses a hierarchical response strategy. Sometimes they will severely crack down on a group or ban it completely; other times they will intimidate and restrict a group. Often they will beat a group; maybe they will use enticing dialogue to try and win over a group; or they may try to transform the group.

  5. Due to the different lengths of the lists that need to be dealt with by local intelligence agencies, especially national security, agency strategies for judging priorities according to their needs are also different. In general, churches are not the most important objects of stability maintenance.

  6. For some small and medium-sized cities and counties, the list of objects that need to be stabilized and controlled from above is usually not too long. Those smaller cities and counties will pay more attention to churches, especially in special times, because this is directly linked to their bonuses, promotions and other interests.

  7. Those on the blacklist are generally not removed. If someone has been listed as the target of stability control, they will experience long-term harassment and blows.

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“Cut to the gospel – this is a time of epidemic and death…
After the interrogation, ask them what they need to pray for. If the conversation was pleasant, pray for them on the spot.

Sister Deng: This is information for you to refer to later:

  1. Remember, they are part of the state machine. They are not there to protect you.

  2. Their methods are intimidation, deception, and temptation.

  3. You have no legal obligation to “cooperate” with their work.

  4. Be sure to ask your interrogator about his reasons and legal basis. You don’t have to answer for irrelevant things.

  5. You don’t have to rush to prove your innocence. Silence is sometimes more powerful.

  6. Know the other party’s full name and ID number. Keep that information for future use.

  7. Cut to the gospel – this is a time of epidemic and death.

  8. Tell them you would like to pray before you begin the conversation.

  9. After the interrogation, ask them what they need to pray for. If the conversation was pleasant, pray for them on the spot.


Little Brother, Elder Xu, and Sister Deng are all pseudonyms for Chinese house church Christians.

 

FOR PRAYER AND REFLECTION

Pray for this “little brother,” and for all who find themselves uncertain and frightened in positions like his.

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Further Reading

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The Internal Cross: A Pastoral Letter
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The External Cross: A Pastoral Letter
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Qingdao: How to Pray
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LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT IN CHINA

With rising pressure and persecution in China, there are two challenges imperative for church leaders. The first challenge is for current leaders to love Christ above all else, and not to stray into legalism or love of the world. The second challenge is to raise up the next generation of leaders, who will humbly model Jesus even if current leaders are arrested.

WILL YOU JOIN US IN PRAYING FOR LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT IN CHINA? PRAY FOR:

  1. Current leaders to grow in their daily walks with Christ
  2. Current leaders to shepherd and raise up new leaders
  3. New leaders who love Christ and will model him to the world
  4. New leaders to love and care for the church

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ABOUT LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT

About Shenyang

Shenyang is a city located in northeastern China and is the capital of Liaoning Province. It is known for its rich history and cultural heritage, including the Shenyang Imperial Palace, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Shenyang is also a hub for China’s heavy industry, with companies such as the China First Automobile Group and the Shenyang Aircraft Corporation having their headquarters in the city.

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Stories from Shenyang

About Qingdao

Qingdao is a city located in eastern China and is famous for its beaches, beer, and seafood. The city is home to several landmarks, including the Zhanqiao Pier and the Badaguan Scenic Area. Qingdao is also a major port and has a thriving economy, with industries such as electronics, petrochemicals, and machinery.

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About Xiamen

Xiamen is a city located in southeastern China and is a popular tourist destination known for its beautiful coastal scenery, including Gulangyu Island, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site. The city is also a hub for China’s high-tech industry, with companies such as Huawei and ZTE having research and development centers in Xiamen.

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About Chongqing

Chongqing is a city located in southwestern China and is a major economic center in the region. The city is known for its spicy cuisine, especially its hot pot dishes, and is also famous for the Three Gorges Dam, the world’s largest hydroelectric dam. Chongqing is also home to several historic sites, including the Dazu Rock Carvings, which are UNESCO World Heritage sites.

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About Nanjing

Nanjing is a city located in eastern China and is the capital of Jiangsu Province. It is one of China’s ancient capitals and has a rich cultural history, including the Ming Xiaoling Mausoleum, the Nanjing City Wall, and the Confucius Temple. Nanjing is also a modern city with a thriving economy and is home to several universities, including Nanjing University and Southeast University.

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Stories from Nanjing

About Changchun

Changchun is a city located in northeastern China and is the capital of Jilin Province. It is known for its rich cultural heritage and is home to several historical landmarks such as the Puppet Emperor’s Palace and the Jingyuetan National Forest Park. Changchun is also a hub for China’s automotive industry, with several major automobile manufacturers having their headquarters in the city.

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Stories from Changchun

About Guangzhou

Guangzhou, also known as Canton, is a city located in southern China and is the capital of Guangdong Province. It is one of the country’s largest and most prosperous cities, serving as a major transportation and trading hub for the region. Guangzhou is renowned for its modern architecture, including the Canton Tower and the Guangzhou Opera House, as well as its Cantonese cuisine, which is famous for its variety and bold flavors. The city also has a rich history, with landmarks such as the Chen Clan Ancestral Hall, the Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall, and the Temple of the Six Banyan Trees. Additionally, Guangzhou hosts the annual Canton Fair, the largest trade fair in China.

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About Kunming

Kunming is a city located in southwest China and is the capital of Yunnan Province. Known as the “City of Eternal Spring” for its mild climate, Kunming is a popular tourist destination due to its natural beauty and cultural diversity. The city is home to several scenic spots, including the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Stone Forest, Dian Lake, and the Western Hills. Kunming is also famous for its unique cuisine, which features a mix of Han, Yi, and Bai ethnic flavors. The city has a rich cultural history, with ancient temples and shrines like the Yuantong Temple and the Golden Temple, and it’s also a hub for Yunnan’s ethnic minority cultures, such as the Yi and Bai peoples.

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About Shenzhen

Shenzhen is a city located in southeastern China and is one of the country’s fastest-growing metropolises. The city is renowned for its thriving tech industry, with companies such as Huawei, Tencent, and DJI having their headquarters in Shenzhen. The city also has a vibrant cultural scene, with numerous museums, art galleries, and parks. Shenzhen is also known for its modern architecture, such as the Ping An Finance Center and the Shenzhen Bay Sports Center. Despite its modernization, Shenzhen also has a rich history and cultural heritage, with landmarks such as the Dapeng Fortress and the Chiwan Tin Hau Temple.

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About Chengdu

Chengdu is a city located in the southwestern region of China, and the capital of Sichuan province. It has a population of over 18 million people, and it is famous for its spicy Sichuan cuisine, laid-back lifestyle, and its cute and cuddly residents – the giant pandas. Chengdu is home to the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, where visitors can observe these adorable creatures in their natural habitat. The city also boasts a rich cultural heritage, with numerous temples, museums, and historical sites scattered throughout its boundaries. Chengdu is a city of contrasts, with ancient traditions coexisting alongside modern developments, making it an intriguing and fascinating destination for visitors to China. 

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About Beijing

Beijing is the capital city of China and one of the most populous cities in the world, with a population of over 21 million people. The city has a rich history that spans over 3,000 years, and it has served as the capital of various dynasties throughout China’s history. Beijing is home to some of the most iconic landmarks in China, including the Great Wall, the Forbidden City, and the Temple of Heaven. The city is also a hub for political, cultural, and educational activities, with numerous universities and research institutions located within its boundaries. Beijing is renowned for its traditional architecture, rich cuisine, and vibrant cultural scene, making it a must-visit destination for travelers to China.

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Stories from Beijing

About Shanghai

Shanghai is a vibrant and dynamic city located on the eastern coast of China. It is the largest city in China and one of the most populous cities in the world, with a population of over 24 million people. Shanghai is a global financial hub and a major center for international trade, with a rich history and culture that spans over 1,000 years. The city is famous for its iconic skyline, which features towering skyscrapers such as the Oriental Pearl Tower and the Shanghai Tower. Shanghai is also home to a diverse culinary scene, world-class museums and art galleries, and numerous shopping districts. It is a city that is constantly evolving and reinventing itself, making it a fascinating destination for visitors from around the world.

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