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A new generation of Chinese is learning that there's more to life than making money. Chinese Christians are risking arrest to practice their faith. They tell Barry Petersen why.

(CBS) Kids are singing about Baby Jesus sleeping in the hay. They look like children performing for their congregation, but to the Chinese authorities, they are criminals because they're at an underground "house" church.

It's called that because they meet without state approval, CBS News correspondent Barry Petersen reports.

The church let CBS News in to take pictures that show both faith and defiance, while the congregation was brave enough to share their stories of what happens when the government finds the faithful.

"The police called us evil and arrested us for illegal assembly," one woman explains.

Chinese-born American Dr. Sam Chao works in China for religious freedom and researched the dangers faced by underground church worshipers.

"I interviewed about 40, 50 people; every one of them (was) beaten and jailed and harassed and beaten on the body," says Chao, Director of China Ministries International.

When Mao Tse-tung took power, he banned religion. Communism was the new faith. These days, the state allows churches, but worshippers must register with police. And yet, there are many young people worshipping.

"They've grown up in a society where the moral imperative is to make money and get ahead, and that doesn't take you very far," says Ken Lieberthal, a China expert at the University of Michigan.

People in Beijing are discovering perhaps a simple truth: Money alone is not bringing happiness. Hundreds of millions — and more each day — are seeking something more.

So even traditional eastern religions like Buddhism are flourishing again. But none like the underground Christians.

In one village, they were even building their own church … until the authorities knocked it down.

In China, it was once easy to know what to believe in — the Communist Party. Those days may be gone for good as a new generation learns how to find and keep its own faith.

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Saving Pastor Gong

Please Help Saving jailed Pastor Gong of Huanan Chruch


Since Dec 2, 2012, my father Pastor Shengliang Gong had High Blood Pressure and Cerebral Infraction, but he never got the proper medical checkup and adequate treatments. Consequently, my father’s illness got worse and worse. More than once my father almost fell to the ground during last November.

Finally when he got the checkup on November 26th 2013, the doctor said my father’s illness was not very optimistic. He was having Cerebral Infraction, Encephalatrophy, Brain Lesions and Leukoaraiosis, etc. The doctor said that my father needs to have checkup every three months. So we repeatedly requested the prison officials to perform checkup accordingly, once every three months. The prison said that they had one done on April 17th, but refused to release the hospital’s medical treatments records and conclusions to neither my father nor the family members. They would not make any specific statements about my father’s illness. Now, my father and our family have no ideas about the level of his illness.

       Since my father illness, previously we could buy some appropriate medicines for him according to his known conditions pieced together from oral communications of diagnosis, after consulting with doctors. Though this won’t amount to totally healing, it was the only way our family could do for him under the circumstances. But now, as the prison withholding medical records from us, we are unable to know his condition and thus cannot providing suitable medicines for him-the very minimum request was denied of us.

       The inadequate medical treatments within the prison cannot give my father prompt and sufficient treatments. Yet the prison won’t send him to hospitals outside for necessary treatments and regular checkups, causing further serious damages to his health. The prison won’t allow him the fundamental human rights; they also deprive his right to know about his illness condition. The prison as law enforcement agency behaves illegally. Effectively, they are directly pushing my gravely ill father to dead end street of death.

       I appeal to the international communities concerning my father’s health and human rights conditions. Please join us to rally for my father and our family’s rights to medical records and the right to know the situation of my father’s sickness; also his right to have regular medical treatments, thereby saving his life and protect his fundamental rights!!


Pastor Shengliang Gong’s daughter: Huali Gong

June 30th 2014

Cell Phone: 13241248388

Han Kou prison department phone number: 027-83556018

Instructor Hanwen Wang: 15327298562




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