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Chinese home church applies for UN asylum

Refugee congregants applying for asylum Associated Press/Photo by Sakchai Lalit

Chinese home church applies for UN asylum

The 61 members of a home church fled from China to South Korea, then to Thailand. They applied to the United Nations for asylum there on Monday. China allows Christians to worship in state-approved churches and had largely turned a blind eye to home churches until recently. But after one of the pastor’s close friends was arrested in China, the church voted almost unanimously to leave. They thought they would leave for just a few years and then return when the persecution had cooled, but it has already been three years, and the pastor said there is no end in sight.

What’s happening in China? Former U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom Sam Brownback explained to WORLD that the Chinese government sees religion as one of the only things powerful enough to topple its totalitarian regime. Since starting the church in 2012, the pastor and his congregation moved from house to house while the Chinese police kept track of them. Even after they left China, hundreds of miles away, members were stalked and harassed.

Dig deeper: Read Eric Patterson’s column in WORLD Opinions about fighting religious persecution.

Mary Muncy

Mary Muncy is a breaking news reporter for WORLD. She graduated from World Journalism Institute and Patrick Henry College.

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