The wife of an imprisoned house church pastor revealed that Chinese police have continually monitored and harassed her - all because of her family's Christian faith.
According to China Aid, an organization dedicated to assisting persecuted Chinese Christians, Wang Hongwu, the wife of pastor Yang Hua who is falsely accused of "divulging state secrets," angered local authorities after refusing to comply with a summons to the police station.
Police officers subsequently arrived at her home and insisted on staying until dinner time, claiming they were tired from patrolling. Later, officials from the neighborhood committee also came to the home to "collect evidence".
Wang revealed that such harassment hasn't stopped in week, as officials have been persistently following her and surveilling her house.
"They keep watch at the door to my home for 24 hours [a day]. At night, they all sleep in the car. Last Saturday, many [officers] were at the gate to our neighborhood ... They wanted to check the identity cards of friends that came to my house. I said, 'Why are you checking my friends' identity cards? Is it illegal to come to my house?' There was one friend that came, and they were still blocking the gate. They wouldn't let him into my home ... That day, a foreign friend whom I don't really know came. Another friend said that [the officials] saw there was a foreigner at our neighborhood's gate, and they did not let them in."
A member of Huoshi Church, where Yang is a pastor, told a China Aid reporter: "A while ago, public security officers from the police station came to find Hongwu and tell her that a foreigner wanted to interview her. On Sunday [Aug. 21], a person called and arranged to meet with me, but personnel from the national security [department] stopped me and said that foreigners came to interview me, and [the officials] commanded me not to meet with them."
In an effort to stunt the growth of Christianity in China, the Communist government in 2013 launched a "Three Rectifications and One Demolition" campaign, which has seen the removal of over 1,5000 church crosses. From July to September 2015, China detained or arrested more than 250 attorneys, pastors, and human rights activists for protesting the cross removals.
Yang was officially arrested on Jan. 22 for "divulging state secrets," and in an interview with his lawyers, shared how prosecutors tortured him when he refused to confess to his charges, including standing on his toes and threatening to kill him and bring harm to his family.
Officials scheduled a pre-trial meeting for Yang's case on Aug. 16. However, when one of the judges presiding over the case returned from visiting him, she was involved in a car accident and suffered a miscarriage. As a result, the court has postponed the meeting.
Despite his bleak circumstances, Yang sent a letter to his wife, encouraging her to stand firm in the Holy Spirit and continue to pray for his persecutors.
"After this period of time, my spiritual life will be even more distinctive from the song that says 'A crowd flooded into my kingdom, but they did not want to bear the cross.' You can sing the song," he wrote.
"Let the words of God make you stronger," the pastor added. "You must always pray. Do not live in weakness and confusion; this is Satan's scheme. Be full of the Holy Spirit and leave spiritual predicaments. Seek [to fulfill] all of the Lord's decrees. Remove all of the negative thoughts and voices from your life."
China Aid has launched a campaign to free Yang Hua, and to learn more about his case, sign the petition for his release and donate to support the persecuted and their families, please visit www.freeyanghua.org.