A group of dedicated American Christians has been regularly traveling to South Korea to advocate for the protection of 60 Chinese refugees who are fleeing severe religious persecution.
According to the persecution watchdog group ChinaAid, "Mayflower Church" is a group of 60 believers from Shenzhen Holy Reformed that fled China for Jeju Island, South Korea.
"Our church would educate our children about our religious beliefs, and the police would come along and force them to enroll in school so they could be brainwashed," founding pastor Pan Yongguang said.
"They didn't want us to teach our children the Bible, and children are banned from attending church. This went against our faith and our consciences," he told Union of Catholic Asian News, earlier this year.
"All day, from morning to night, it's all Xi Jinping," a member of the church told the outlet. "More and more, it stands in opposition to faith."
The group has lived on Jeju Island since 2019 attempting to achieve asylum status from the South Korean government, but so far has been denied.
"Due to political pressure from China to return these citizens for 're-education camps,' Korea will no longer shelter this congregation," reads a memo from Freedom Seekers International (FSI), a ChinaAid partner.
"It is not hard to envision the reception Mayflower refugees will face if forcibly repatriated to China," Doug Bandow, a senior fellow at the Cato Institute, writes.
Americans, Japanese, and Taiwanese partners have periodically visited the Chinese church in South Korea to prevent them from potential "transnational kidnapping" by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) or repatriation by Seoul.
"This is not a farfetched option, as the CCP has kidnapped many in the past who defied them," ChinaAid wrote on its website. "Gui Minhai, a critic of China's elite, vanished in Thailand seven years ago. More recently, the CCP tried to repatriate Wu Huan and her fiancé because they were political dissidents."
FSI took their first diplomatic protection trip on June 13th.
"An American presence will forge a message to the Chinese," Deana Brown, president and founder of FSI told CBN News. " We are concerned about the kidnapping."
"We are thankful for the privilege to provide such a measure of freedom for those who long for it," she wrote on their website.
ChinaAid and its partners are asking the U.S. government to step in against China's communist regime and help resettle the Mayflower Church in America.
Brown told CBN News her organization has partnered with 100 churches in Tyler, Texas who are ready to help "Mayflower Church" when they land on American soil.
"Thousands of individuals will offer shoes, microwaves and blankets and linen," she explained. "They will not have a need when they get here."
"Until a more sustainable solution is found, American missionaries, pastors, and churches will continue to visit," reads a statement on ChinaAid.org.
"There's no way back for us," Pan said.
The group is nicknamed "Mayflower Church" after the English ship that carried Pilgrims to North America in search of religious freedom.