A Chinese Christian writer and democracy activist was summoned by local police a day after he gave a lecture in a webinar titled “The Substance of Chinese Culture.” He was called into the station around 5 p.m. on Nov. 4 just as he was preparing to deliver his second lecture of the event, International Christian Concern reported last week.
Moments before Ran Yunfei, who converted to Christianity in 2016, was about to give a live online seminar titled “Christianity and Chinese Culture,” he received a phone call from Chinese authorities. They demanded that he skip the lecture and report to the police station immediately. He complied but played a recorded video in his absence.
After detaining Ran for approximately six hours, the authorities released him around 11 p.m. Once he arrived back home, he shared a message via WeChat.
“I am thankful that I have returned. I cannot share tomorrow as well. But must we share the Gospel through speaking? If you understand that being in chains is sharing the Gospel (not only with the people who talk to you, but also the many who watch you), then we should feel joyful for entering the police station multiple times,” Ran wrote.
Ran was scheduled to speak three different times at the “Gospel During the Pandemic” online preaching webinar from Nov. 3 to Nov. 5.
Last week’s incident wasn’t Ran’s first run-in with Chinese authorities. Last April, the Chinese Communist Party police took him into the station ahead of another preaching webinar. They banned him from speaking at that time as well.
Gina Goh, the ICC’s regional manager for Southeast Asia, told The Christian Post that “the Chinese government is increasing the crackdown on house churches to threaten and disrupt them.”
“If police sense the preacher is spreading anti-government thoughts, they revoke his preaching certificate. They have basically no right for Christians who speak up,” Goh said.
She also revealed that other Christians like Ran are facing similar persecution from the Chinese government. Christians get pushed from their houses by landlords, police violate the privacy of their homes, and government spies count them as they walk into church, she added.
Goh noted that police knew about Ran’s lecture because they monitor all streaming services, such as the locally owned Zoom teleconference platform. She claims that almost no streaming service in China is safe for Christians to use.