Eastern Lightning Is My Salvation

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You Have Got Mail: Massimo Introvigne Writes to Korean Christian Anticult Media

religious persecution, human rights, Christian, Church,

Three Korean Christian media, CBS, CTS, and Kukmin Ilbo, reported on the false demonstrations against The Church of Almighty God in Korea. In a frenzy to attack “cults” with whose theology they disagree, they took the side of the persecutors and the Chinese Communist Party against harmless refugees. We publish the letter our editor-in-chief wrote to them.

Dear Sirs:

I am Managing Director of CESNUR, the Center for Studies on New Religions, the largest network of scholars studying new religious movements in the world. I am also editor-in-chief of a daily magazine about religious persecution and human rights in China called Bitter Winter. That I am an expert of new religious movements operating in China has been recognized by the Chinese authorities themselves, which have invited me to China repeatedly to lecture on Chinese new religious groups, including The Church of Almighty God (see for example https://kknews.cc/society/rrr2m8o.html).

I have followed your coverage of the demonstrations targeting refugees of The Church of Almighty God (CAG) in South Korea, and I am concerned that inaccurate information was supplied to your readers:

  1. There is little doubt that the CAG is heavily persecuted in China, and hundreds of thousands of arrests and many cases of torture and extra-judicial killings have been documented by several NGOs. Should they return to China, members of the CAG would be arrested there. See for general comments, article by Professor PierLuigi Zoccatelli, https://cesnur.net/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/tjoc_2_1_1_zoccatelli.pdf.
  2.  Persecution is motivated by the ideological opposition of the Chinese Communist Party to independent religion in general, and to the theology of the CAG, and by the Party’s fear of the CAG’s rapid growth. The Chinese authorities accuse the Church of very serious crimes to justify their persecution. In fact, the persecution started in 1995 or earlier, not after the McDonald’s murder of 2014. International scholars have examined the documents of the McDonald’s murder and concluded it was perpetrated by a different group, not by CAG: see https://cesnur.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/tjoc_1_1_6_introvigne_ter.pdf and https://wrldrels.org/2017/10/16/lu-yingchun-zhang-fan-group/. Other accusations against the CAG have also been identified as part of a massive campaign of fake news orchestrated by the Chinese regime: see https://cesnur.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/tjoc_1_2_5_folk.pdf and https://cesnur.net/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/tjoc_2_4_2_introvigne.pdf.
  3. That the CAG is “against the family” has been debunked in a detailed study I published myself in Baylor University’s Interdisciplinary Journal of Research on Religion: http://www.religjournal.com/articles/article_view.php?id=135. The conclusion of this study is that CAG does not oppose family. CAG members who are in Korea have fled persecution by CCP, not their families.
  4. The demonstrations in Korea were not “spontaneous” but the fruit of a plan by the CCP embodied in a confidential document that Bitter Winter had already published beforehand: https://bitterwinter.org/campaign-against-cag-extends-to-south-korea/. Should they be deported to China, CAG refugees would not be “returned to their families” but to jail or to re-education camps.
  5. Under international law, there is no doubt that CAG refugees should be granted asylum in Korea: see article by Rosita Šorytė, a diplomat and former Chairperson of the European Union Working Group on Humanitarian Aid, https://cesnur.net/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/tjoc_2_1_5_soryte.pdf. 

I have studied for more than thirty years Christian literature against “cults.” I understand that some Christians in Korea may strongly disagree with CAG theology. This is part of the normal dynamics of religious pluralism.

I am personally quite well-known as a Roman Catholic activist, as a quick look at Google or Wikipedia would easily confirm to you. Professor Zoccatelli teaches at Pontifical Salesian University, which is part of the Vatican academic system. Baylor University, which has published my study on the CAG and the family, is a Protestant Baptist university. Rosita Šorytė is herself a Roman Catholic. Bitter Winter is owned and operated by CESNUR, the Center for Studies on New Religions, headquartered in Turin, Italy, in whose board sit leading Catholic and Protestant scholars of international fame.

You can ask why Catholics and Protestants defend CAG refugees, as obviously our theology is different from CAG’s. The answer is simple. We do not defend a theology, we defend human beings against injustice, violence, persecution, and torture.

We are not alone. Although its theology is obviously different from CAG’s, yet the Evangelical Church in Germany (EKD) stands for the human rights of CAG refugees in Germany, who, when returned to China, “disappear” or are arrested. See https://www.evangelisch.de/inhalte/151945/04-09-2018/mitglieder-von-verbotener-chinesischer-sekte-von-abschiebung-bedroht?kamp=b-012

We found the EKD’s attitude truly Christian, as well as truly human. Obviously, we do not ask that you agree with CAG’s theology. What we ask is that you do not willingly cooperate with the CCP’s persecution and fake news campaigns, and distinguish between theological controversy and human rights issues.

Yours faithfully,

Professor Massimo Introvigne

Managing Director, CESNUR



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Accomplices: Western Companies Supporting CCP Atrocities Denounced in Washington

At the Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom organized by the U.S. State Department in Washington DC, high-tech companies supplying components to Chinese surveillance systems are told that this is immoral—and should be illegal too.

The Largest Religious Freedom Event in the World

The Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom, now in its second edition, is the largest religious liberty gathering in the world. Some 100 governments and 500 NGOs and religious organizations answered the appeal of U.S. Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, and U.S. Ambassador-at-large for International Religious Freedom, Sam Brownback, to work together for religious freedom. The Ministerial includes a closed-door program for delegates and several side events.

Two emotional side events opened the Ministerial week in Washington DC on July 15. The Coalition to Advance Religious Freedom in China, which gathers together, under the aegis of Ambassador Brownback, groups suffering persecution in China, organized a seminar on Silicon Valley and China: The Rise of Religious Oppression Through Technology, chaired by Greg Mitchell, co-chair of the International Religious Freedom Roundtable. And several specialized NGOs co-organized an event on the Latest Development in China’s On-Demand Killing of Prisoners of Conscience for Organs.

Technology Supports Persecution

We all know that Uyghurs and members of other Muslim minorities, house churches Christians, practitioners of Falun Gong, members of The Church of Almighty God, Catholic conscientious objectors who refuse to join the Patriotic Church, Tibetan Buddhists and others are hunted like beasts, arrested, detained for years, tortured, and in some cases assassinated. What we do not completely know is the role of technology in allowing these crimes to happen. Continue reading

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Red Re-Education at Home” (5) – How Should Christianity Be Understood?

It is common knowledge that Christianity, Catholicism, and the Eastern Orthodox Church are all religions that believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. The Church of Almighty God came into being because of the appearance and work of Christ of the last days. The Church of Almighty God is the church of Christ in the Age of Kingdom, and it is also a part of Christianity. So why does the Chinese Communist Party deny that The Church of Almighty God is a Christian church? What really is Christianity?

More Information: What exactly is the true belief in God? How should one believe in God in order to obtain His praise?

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“Red Re-Education at Home” (2) – What Kind of Plot Was Behind the Chinese Communist Party’s Trial for the May 28 Zhaoyuan Case?

Christian Film | “Red Re-Education at Home” (2) – What Kind of Plot Was Behind the Chinese Communist Party’s Trial for the May 28 Zhaoyuan Case?

After the May 28 Zhaoyuan incident in Shandong that shocked both China and the rest of the world, when the CCP brought the case to trial, the suspects involved were clear in their confessions that they were not members of The Church of Almighty God. However, the CCP still insisted on referring to them as people belonging to The Church of Almighty God. What was their motive? What kind of plot was hidden behind this case?

Watch More: Must Watch Christian Movie | Chronicles of Religious Persecution in China “A Youth of Bloody Tears”

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Gospel Movie Clip “Red Re-Education at Home” (1)-Debate: What Really Is a Cult?

Gospel Movie Clip “Red Re-Education at Home” (1)-Debate: What Really Is a Cult?

Since coming to power, the Chinese Communist Party has unceasingly suppressed and oppressed religious beliefs, even publicly branding Christianity and Catholicism as cults and calling the Bible cult literature. Over these years, The Church of Almighty God has been bearing witness to the return of the Lord Jesus, and it has also been condemned by the CCP as a cult. The CCP is an atheist party. It is a satanic regime that is an enemy to God, so how can it be qualified to determine that any particular religion is the true way, or is a cult? How should one discern what really is a cult?

Watch More: Must Watch Christian Movie | Chronicles of Religious Persecution in China “A Youth of Bloody Tears”

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Gospel Movie Clip (5) – A Christian’s Wonderful Rebuttal of the Notions of a Three-Self Pastor

The CCP invites a pastor with the Three-Self Church to try to brainwash and convert a Christian. The Christian and the pastor open up a wonderful debate in response to the notions thrown out by the Three-Self pastor. How will this Christian push back against the pastor? Why will this attempt by the CCP at brainwashing and conversion end in failure?

Recommend More: Top 20 Inspiring Stories of Faith

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Obeying the Ruling Regime Is Not the Same as Obeying God

In order to deceive and tempt a Christian into forsaking God, the CCP called on a pastor of a Three-Self church to brainwash her, and this Christian and the pastor opened up a wonderful debate on Paul’s words: “Let every soul be subject to the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God” (Rom 13:1). What are their different interpretations of these words? The Three-Self pastor is subject to the CCP and takes the path of the Three-Self Church—what ulterior motive is actually there? How will the Christian refute the pastor’s argument to “be subject to the higher powers”?

Watch More: Must Watch Christian Movie | Chronicles of Religious Persecution in China “A Youth of Bloody Tears”

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NGOs’ Appeal at Xi Jinping’s Visit to EU: Economics Shouldn’t Override Human Rights

Since Xi Jinping came to power, the human rights situation in China has significantly deteriorated; the persecution of religious practitioners, ethnic minorities, and dissidents is now comparable to that in the Cultural Revolution. The United States’ Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2018 stated that China is the country with the most serious human rights violations, and it also mentioned the systematic persecution suffered by Uyghurs, Falun Gong practitioners, and members of The Church of Almighty God (CAG) in China. Many Christians have been forced to flee the country because of the CCP’s brutal suppression and persecution of religious beliefs. However, the CCP employs political and diplomatic tactics as well as economic pressure in an effort to force democratic countries to return all Chinese Christian refugees to China where the persecution will continue. The CCP’s criminal acts of violating and trampling on human rights have drawn attention and condemnation from the international community. During Xi Jinping’s recent visit to Europe, some human rights organizations and persecuted groups organized protests calling on the governments of Western countries to focus on the human rights situation in China while conducting business dealings with the country.

More Information: Best Christian Religious Movie | Chronicles of Religious Persecution in China | “The Cover-up”