Faith, Family, Freedom
By Jinghong Cai
Edited by China Aid Association
I felt heartbroken after talking about my life as a woman in China and my experience as a Chinese Christian. My friends were happy for me because I was interviewed by John Hall and Kathy Emmons on their radio program on 101.5WORD-FM, Pittsburgh, Penn. A lady I know even said, “You’re a celebrity now.” She probably didn’t know that my memories of that part of my life are extremely poignant, as they bring home the despair of living deprived of human dignity.
Why would you have to choose between your faith, your family and your freedom? I love my parents, my brother and, of course, my son. I miss them every day. I dream of them constantly—I dream of my mother helping me decorate my room; I dream of my son riding bicycles with me; I dream of my brother talking about his son; I dream of my father laughing and cooking. But now, I can only see them, hear them and stay with them in my dreams.
“You know you will be persecuted in China; why do you still openly tell people about what happened and is happening in China? Didn’t you know that you have to be careful about what you say?” Some people challenged me directly; others didn’t ask, but I could read their minds. The answer is what I am facing is much more than a quandary; it’s a choice one should never have to make. Faith, family and freedom are (or should be) among those unalienable rights that all men have been endowed with by our Creator, and no one on Earth should take away from us.
Yet, it is my choice. I refuse to go to a government-sanctioned church because I do not want the government telling me what part of the Bible can be preached and what pastor can be my spiritual leader. Most important of all, I cannot “serve two masters” (Mat 6:24)—I only confess Jesus Christ as my Lord and cannot admit that “without the Communist Party there would be no Christianity.”
When I left China, the secretary of the Communist Party at my university warned me clearly, “Don’t get in contact with any human right activist, Falun Gong practitioners, Tibet independence advocators, or other anti-government, dangerous people. You know the consequences.” It was not an empty threat. I know it is true. One of my high school classmates died mysteriously after he came to the U.S., converted to Christianity, returned China and joined an underground church. Two of my colleagues, a couple who returned to China from Japan, were dismissed from their teaching positions, driven out of their home and then disappeared, after the government found a photo of the husband with a Japanese scholar in a book published in Japan. The Chinese government alleged that the Japanese scholar was a war criminal when Japan invaded China during WWII. According to a recent report from the New York Times, “The country’s Law on Guarding State Secrets already prohibits citizens from disclosing classified information. Such information, however, is very broadly, and sometimes retroactively, defined” (July 10, 2014).
When I chose to tell the world about the persecution we, Chinese Christians, are experiencing, I knew I would be persecuted. Seeking and sharing the truth does not mean that I love my family in China any less. I believe that if today I stand for His righteousness, tomorrow my family in China and my countrymen will be blessed to enjoy religious freedom.
Jinghong Cai is a PhD Candidate in the field of Education at a university in the U.S. and a guest contributor at China Aid. You may follow her on Twitter at @jhcai613