Ming has to be really careful when he uses his phone. He often communicates in code. He’s worried he’s being watched, and that his messages are monitored. He should worry too. In China, the authorities are increasingly using technology to keep an eye on people. And it’s people like Ming they are trying to find.
You see, Ming has been smuggling Bibles for a few years. He’s trying to share God’s Word with others. It doesn’t sound dangerous to us, but his efforts have already seen him get arrested. That time he was lucky, he was freed, but some of his friends weren’t so fortunate: they are still in prison.
After sending his message, Ming turns off his phone and removes the sim card so he can’t be tracked. It’s dark as he sets off, hoping the night makes it harder for anyone to follow him to the location of ‘the old place’.
It’s not just his phone that Ming’s worried about. There are one billion surveillance cameras in the world, and half of them are found in China. They are everywhere – in shops, on streetcorners, even in churches. The use of software to track someone’s movements and behaviour is increasingly common, so you can see why Ming is nervous when transporting Bibles in his car.
And whilst technology is a problem, Ming knows there are other dangers too. He became a Christian as a student, but when his dad found out, he reported Ming to the police. His dad even stopped him from going to college so he couldn’t mix with other Christians.
So Ming moved. In a less restrictive town, he found support and encouragement from underground churches. His love and understanding of Jesus grew, but after a while he heard God speaking to him, saying: “Go back to your hometown. Tell people about Me there.”
Ming knew it wouldn’t be easy, but he moved anyway. He set up a business with friends and used that to cover up his Bible smuggling activities.
The authorities are looking to supress the church, and believers like Ming, who are part of an underground church network, are seen to be especially dangerous. There are even spies who pretend to be Christians so they can uncover these networks and report influential Christians to the police.
Since his arrest, Ming’s house is searched regularly by the police. It’s likely he’s being watched and that his phone is being monitored which makes it hard for him to trust anyone.
But Ming isn’t giving up. Despite the tight restrictions he’s desperate that others can read God’s Word and grow closer to Jesus in their own faith. He knows this is what God has called him to, and as Ming says: “No matter what happens… We listen and follow. He will guide our paths.”
Father God, watch over and guide Ming. Keep him safe help him get your Word into the hands of many Chinese Cristians. Watch over and guide me. Help me see where you are leading me, and help me bravely follow you. Amen.
As you’ve seen from Ming’s story, Christians in China have to be careful when using their phones. In March 2022 a new law came into effect banning ‘unapproved’ Christian content online. That means the majority of Christian websites, podcasts, videos and even social media accounts posting stuff to help people grow with Jesus, have been removed. That even includes Bible apps.
We’d love you to join us standing with our persecuted Christians like Ming, and choose to lose your phone for a whole weekend. We’d love you to shut down your device just like Ming, to go silent online and to raise money and prayer.
Could you get sponsored to put down your phone, along with your social media, voice and video chat, instant messaging and all other online time for 48 hours to raise money for Christians facing all kinds of restrictions, monitoring and surveillance? Find out more and sign up to get a free fundraising pack here…
For Ming to be reconciled with his wife and children and wider family
That Open Doors local partners would receive the Lord’s wise compassion as they serve the church facing digital persecution.
For God’s protection for courageous believers defying surveillance to smuggle Bibles and share the gospel