Being respected and able to go to church freely is a new feeling for Hu. She is a 36-year-old mother from China. And Christian.
By: Marion Chen
Hu is 36-years-old and a Christian asylum seeker from China. She came with her husband and son to Denmark eight months ago.
She says that she is calm and patient, because it is free for her to tell others that she is a Christian in Denmark without any worries. She is respected as a Christian and has worship with local Christians once a week arranged from the Red Cross Center. This is a completely different feeling compared with being in China.
Why do you feel free as a Christian here?
Because in China I had to hide up as a real Christian. I could not be a full-time priest in church since all churches are controlled by the Chinese Communist Party authorities. I had to look for a job to cover myself so that I could be considered as a normal person. If not, I would be eyed on by the authorities and lose my freedom.
We had to be very careful. We dreaded not to show that we believed in God very much. We dared not to say true words.
Why did you not dare to tell others that you were a Christian in China?
In China we have two kinds of Christian churches, one is controlled by the Chinese Communist Party, the other is the underground church. The one controlled by the Chinese Communist Party is called Colloquially. The National Committee of the Three-Self Patriotic Movement of the Protestant Churches in China and the China Christian Council together formed the only state-sanctioned Protestant church in mainland China.
Priests of Colloquially are all assigned by the authorities. The sermon’s content should be approved by the authorities. Without asking for permission of the authorities, the sermon cannot be given.
Priests from overseas cannot give sermons in the Colloquially church because what they say is real doctrine of the Bible. The authorities do not allow that.
What is the main difference between underground church and Colloquially?
The main rule of the Colloquially is the three principles: self-governance, self-support and self-propagation. It means that to be a Christian in China you must first love and believe in the Chinese Communist Party, love your country, and first then you have the right to love God.
The underground churches takes God as the first to love, believe and follow. And this principle is totally on the contrary of the authorities’. So, as being a Christian in mainland China, if you do not go to the Colloquially church, you will be considered as anti-party oriented and be cracked down as cults. That is why we have to hide and worship by ourselves secretly.
How does the authorities crack down on the underground churches?
They tear down churches, saying the buildings are either illegal or violating some regulations. In one case they said the cross of the church was too big and did not match to scale. But actually all these churches were very old and have been there for decades. However, what we can see here in Denmark are the majestic churches everywhere. We worship every Tuesday here with Danish local Christians. Although we have different languages we can feel their true and pure heart to God.
Christians in China
Kim Schou is a Danish journalist and author of the book “China’s Christian revolution”. He says; “In short, it is not normal to be a Christian in China, and in some parts of China it can make you an outcast.“
He also says that some forms of Christian fellowship and worship are illegal. There are official Christian churches in China, both Catholic and Protestant. However only some of the Christians in China use the state approved churches. The majority of Chinese Christians take part in illegal so-called “underground” churches.
“The Christians in China are one of the largest persecuted religious groups in the world, but it is by no means the most persecuted group. 40 years ago there were about five million Christians in China. Today there are probably around 80 million Christians. It is perhaps the most comprehensive religious change that have ever happened to a people in the world, and yet most Christians have to live in relative hiding because the religious freedom in China is limited,” Kim Schou concludes.