The places of worship established by South Koreans in China have been persecuted since President Xi Jinping came to power; the number of closed down churches and deported missionaries is dramatically increasing.
Bitter Winter has recently accessed reports of a case from 2015 in which a South Korean church was forcibly shut down and their resources looted by the Chinese government.
South Korean Justification by Faith pastors built the church in Shandong’s Yantai region. It cost more than a million yuan to build it, and was headed by pastor Hao Mindong, an ethnic Korean in China, (pseudonym) when it was shut down. The police broke into the church on February 4, 2015, and warned believers against gathering.
A week later, a gathering was in session when a team of more than 100 officers from departments stormed into the church. The team was made up of personnel from armed police, traffic police, security guards, and urban administrative and public security bureaus. They drove more than ten large trucks to the spot.
Without presenting any legal documents to justify their actions, they raided the church and seized all kinds of valuables. Many believers protested against this but were unsuccessful. The church’s youth leader, Wen Juan (pseudonym), was shoved to the ground by the police. Eleven others, including one elderly and ten female believers, stepped forward to protest but they were soon arrested and taken to police station.
According to an informed source, the CCP police looted six large-screen televisions, 200 four seat mahogany benches, two pianos, high-grade kitchenware, toys and musical instruments and numerous copies of Bibles from the church. The total value of this loot is estimated to be over 200,000 RMB or 30,000 USD approximately.
Days later, Pastor Hao was arrested and taken in detention as well. He was interrogated about his religious and political purposes. The police also threatened him against communicating with foreign churches, failing which he could be charged with treason. He was held for months, and the police managed to loot more than one million RMB of church funds from his bank account.
The church remains disbanded as of today, and no believer or pastor from there has been allowed to gather or preach the gospel.
Since the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and South Korea, a large number of Korean missionaries have traveled to China and set up various churches. But the Chinese government has always regarded foreigners and religion as enemies that jeopardize its supremacy.
When Xi Jinping took the Party office in 2012, the CCP issued several documents that stated, “[China] must, in accordance with law, resolutely prevent key South Korean Christian church organizations from organizing religious people in China to participate in training activities. “
With the implementation of the new Regulations on Religious Affairs, the crackdowns have intensified. As Bitter Winter has reported, local governments in China started implementing earlier this year the Plan for the Special Campaign on Legal Investigation and Prosecution of South Korean Christian Infiltrations.
Reported by Jiang Tao