|Chinese missionaries Meng Lisi (left) and Li Xinheng
(right) were murdered by ISIS in June, causing
international outrage and causing two churches to
come under intense scrutiny.
(Wenzhou, Zhejiang—Aug. 12, 2017) Following the ISIS murder of two Chinese evangelists in Pakistan, the Chinese Communist Party launched an extensive investigation of two churches thought to be affiliated with them. On Sunday, a ChinaAid correspondent reached out to an attendee of a church in China’s coastal Zhejiang province to speak about this matter as well as the resulting comradery demonstrated between churches of different denominations.
Zheng Leguo, a long-time champion of human rights and religious freedom in China, sat down to interview a house church member identified only as “G.” Zheng opened the interview with questions about the Chinese government’s investigation into a Korean church and a church located in Wenzhou, Zhejiang, for their affiliation with Chinese missionaries Li Xinheng and Meng Lisi. Meng and Li both disappeared in Pakistan on May 24, only to resurface in what is believed to be video footage of ISIS executing them in early June.
A third missionary also vanished along with Meng and Li, but ISIS kicked her out of the car due to a lack of space, and she survived.
This occurrence stirred international outrage; however, Chinese authorities have failed to investigate their deaths or lend the Pakistani government assistance in their rescue efforts after they went missing. Instead, China focused its attention on the Wenzhou and Korean churches, blaming the Korean congregation, which runs a school dedicated to training missionaries in the various aspects of religion, history, and culture in Muslim countries, for their role in helping Li and Meng. The two churches have received an enormous amount of pressure.
When the government instigated the investigation, four Christians were summoned for interrogation, and local government officials held internal conferences and put all Christians who held important positions under surveillance. Two of these church members, identified only as Uncle Z and Brother W, were detained for several days and are still not allowed to leave Wenzhou.
When asked whether or not neighboring churches have come to the aid of the Wenzhou church, G said most Wenzhou Christians are unaware that the missionaries were connected to the church. However, he described the increased comradery between neighboring churches of different denominational backgrounds and the establishment of regular “unity gatherings,” which seek to unite such churches while respecting each other’s traditions.
Currently, Wenzhou churches have halted evangelism activities due to the government’s surveillance.
ChinaAid exposes abuses, such as those suffered by Chinese Christians in the wake of Meng and Li’s executions, in order to stand in solidarity with persecuted Christians and promote religious freedom, human rights, and rule of law.