Underground in China

During the Cultural Revolution, Chinese Christians were fired from their jobs, expelled from schools and imprisoned. Their homes were plundered, and they were publicly humiliated. They faced torture and inhumane conditions in hard labor camps. Their countrymen rejected them, and they were falsely accused as American spies, counterrevolutionaries and criminals.

Today, the number of underground house churches in China is rapidly growing. China has experienced the fastest growing church movement in history.

Yet the persecution is not over. Christians are still regularly arrested and sent to prisons and labor camps. The U.S. State Department included China on its list of "Countries of Particular Concern": nations designated as top violators of religious freedom.

Going underground

All churches are required to register with the government, otherwise known as the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). Those that refuse to register are considered subversive to the government.

For many Chinese believers, the demands required to register their churches are completely unreasonable. The state also has the right to determine whether church doctrines are valid. In some instances, local officials have invited believers to register and then arrested them at the government offices for engaging in "illegal" religious activities.

Bible shortages

During the Cultural Revolution, the Red Guards confiscated and burned all Bibles. Chinese Christians have not yet recovered the loss. Some who managed to hide their Bibles from the guards hand copied them for others to read. Today, copies of God´s Word are scarce and the most pressing need of Chinese Christians. Most underground churches possess only one Bible.

With funds sent by Christian Aid, native missionaries purchase Bibles in small batches so as not to alert the attention of the authorities. In 2005, Christian Aid also supplied funds to print and distribute 10,000 copies of a Bible commentary written by a Chinese pastor.

Underground Bible institutes

As is the case with churches, Bible institutes are also required to register with the CCP. But registration means government interference. Christian professors are suddenly forced to incorporate political indoctrination and false doctrine into government-approved curricula. And since many professors refuse to comply with these regulations, they have chosen to teach in one of the hundreds of underground Bible schools throughout China.

As of 2012, Christian Aid has helped to establish 50+ Bible institutes in China – the first of which was founded in 1990.