A crucifix made out of wood, standing against a blue sky. Patrick Chu recently set up a new church in China with help from the local government. (Pixabay)

Sidney artist builds churches in China

Patrick Chu has been building churches on trips to China for 20 years

Sidney artist Patrick Chu is back on local turf after a four month trip to China, where he founded a Christian church.

Chu, a watercolour artist who runs a private gallery, has travelled to China every year for the last 20, starting churches on some of his trips.

“At the beginning it was risky, but now China has opened her door,” he said.

This might surprise followers of China as there have been many reports of government repression on religious expression over the last 40 years. Presently, China only recognizes Buddhism, Catholicism, Daoism, Islam and Protestantism as sanctioned faiths.

Chu acknowledges that during his first trips the Chinese government cracked down on all religions and Christians had to operate in secret. Since then, he says Chinese Premier Xi Jinping has created a more favourable environment for Christians and they are allowed to practice their religion, as laid-out in the Chinese constitution.

The U.S. State Department’s 2016 International Religious Freedom Report, estimates that there are about 650 million Chinese religious believers. Chinese and American organizations think there are between 29-67 million Chinese Christians. The large discrepancy in estimates perhaps hints at the confusing picture of Christianity and religion in general in China.

Amnesty International reports that there are “up to a million” Uighur Muslims in re-education camps and the Council on Foreign Relations reports that, “adherents across all religious organizations, from state-sanctioned to underground and banned groups, face intensifying persecution and repression.”

However, 82 year-old Chu says he has spent two decades evangelizing in Chinese villages and has not experienced very much harassment.

Chu says that local governments are now actively helping Christian missionaries. He says that when the local government of Village Latus heard he planned to start a church, they sold him their old three-storey legislative building for the equivalent of $4,000. Recently, the town of Chung Yee-Khao even issued him a builders permit for free and offered a 600 square metre plot of land as a gift.

Chu believes this is evidence of a warming environment towards religion and Christianity in China, although he says he plans to retire soon from building churches and concentrate on his art.

He has advice to anyone interested in starting a church.

“I go to rural areas where the ordinary people are. Keep your churches small and develop some projects to help the poor.”



nick.murray@peninsulanewsreview.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Bitter Saturna land-use dispute highlights legal grey areas

Unhappy Tsawout accuse leadership of cultural destruction

Greater Victoria enjoys sunny first day of spring

Summer-like temperatures of 21 degrees hit Wednesday for first day of spring

Sidney business organization cyber attacked

President’s contact list sent unsolicited messages

Discovery Island wolf continues to thrive

The wolf, known as ‘Takaya’, has lived on the island for seven years

Victoria police search for missing man, his vehicle and travel trailer

Last seen on March 17 driving white Honda Ridgeline bearing B.C. licence plate CG 4316

VIDEO: Can you believe it? This B.C. hill pulls cars backwards up a slope

Sir Isaac Newton had clearly never been to this Vernon anomaly when he discovered gravity

POLL: When do you think the next major earthquake will hit Vancouver Island?

According to seismologists, Vancouver Island is overdue for a magnitude 7 earthquake.… Continue reading

Greater Victoria Wanted List for the week of March 19

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

European, Canadian regulators to do own review of Boeing jet

Air Canada plans to remove the Boeing 737 Max from its schedule at least through July 1

Prime minister defends Liberal budget measures as sales effort gets underway

Conservatives under Andrew Scheer say it’s a spree funded by borrowing against the future

Mayor meets with B.C. health minister on homeless taxi transfers

Two homeless people were discharged from Surrey Memorial and sent to a Chilliwack shelter

B.C. lottery winner being sued by co-workers

They claim he owes them $200,000 each, in a lawsuit filed in B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver

Teacher reprimanded for conduct towards special needs student

Alan Stephen Berry told vice principal he did not have time to use positive strategies

Volunteer green team joins forces to restore local habitats

Partnerships with schools educate and facilitate remediations

Most Read