Sixty Christians of Shenzhen Holy Reformed Church, also referred to as the Mayflower Church, fled to Jeju Island, South Korea in 2019 to avoid the Chinese Communist Party’s harassment. On January 26, 2022, the Supreme Court of Korea rejected their political asylum applications. They now face deportation to China at any time.
The church’s pastor Pan Yongguang mentioned in a recent interview by Radio Taiwan International that he received a phone call from the South Korea office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in the afternoon of February 7. They provided him with lawyers’ contact information and contacted local charity groups to donate food and winter clothes. They also helped two pregnant women get medical insurance. Pastor Pan is very grateful for their help. But no substantial change has happened to their situation yet.
Shenzhen Holy Reformed Church was established in 2012. Like other larger house churches, the church has a church building and a church school to provide Christian education to believers’ children. Pastor Pan said:
Because Shenzhen is very close to Hong Kong, the whole city entered a state of emergency after the ‘Anti-Extradition Law Amendment Bill’ protests broke out in Hong Kong in June 2019. Our church faced intensified persecution. Police officers visited us several times and asked us to close our church and shut down our school. But we were not willing to do that... After thorough consideration, we decided to temporarily flee to another place and go back to Shenzhen a few years later. We never thought about leaving our country forever.
|Congregants doing menial labor, like picking tangerines, to make ends meet
(Photo: Pastor Pan Yongguang)
At the end of October 2019, 16 families (60 Christians, including 31 children) fled to Jeju Island in South Korea, where visa-free travel is offered for Chinese citizens. This was the first time a large group of Chinese Christians flee the country together since CCP took power in 1949.
South Korea has a very complicated political asylum application process, and a very low approval rate of 0.4%. after the Supreme Court of Korea rejected their political asylum applications, they have the opportunity to re-apply by submitting additional documents, but the chance of approval is very small. They now face deportation to China at any time.
ChinaAid is working actively to rescue these Christians.