by Karen Faulkner, Worthy News Correspondent
(Worthy News) – An entire congregation of more than 60 asylum-seeking Chinese Christians has arrived in the US after their application for refugee status on the grounds of persecution by China’s government was rejected by both South Korea and Thailand, the Washington Times reports.
The 63 members of the Shenzhen Holy Reformed Church, also known as the Mayflower Church, left China in 2019, after suffering continual harassment at the hands of the ruling Chinese Communist Party, which has cracked down severely on Christians. Indeed, China now ranks 16th on the US Open Doors World Watch List 2023 of the top 50 countries where Christians are persecuted.
Led by their pastor, the entire Shenzhen Holy Reformed Church traveled to South Korea in October 2019, and remained there for three years until it appeared their application for asylum would be rejected and they would be deported back to China. The church then went to Thailand on tourist visas, where they again sought asylum. The congregation were recently apprehended and detained by Thai immigration authorities because their tourist visas had expired and no asylum had been granted.
Following an intervention by US officials, Thai immigration police on Thursday confirmed the congregation had left Thailand for a third country, the Times reports. Subsequently, Bob Fu, president of ChinaAid, a US-based Christian human rights organization, said the congregation was expected in Dallas, Texas, on Friday evening.
“ChinaAid welcomes the landing of the persecuted Chinese ‘Mayflower Church’ to freedom in America and welcome to Texas,” Fu said in a statement.
“We will not rest until religious freedom is fully realized in China,” Fu added.
The congregation will now seek asylum in the US.
If you are interested in articles produced by Worthy News, please check out our FREE sydication service available to churches or online Christian ministries. To find out more, visit Worthy Plugins.