ICC Note: Life for the Christian church in Xinjiang is difficult enough in a province that is largely depleted economically and predominantly Islamic. But it seems like the CCP prefers not to miss any opportunity to repress religious freedom, whether in the long-standing conflict between local authorities and Muslim Uighurs or in the lesser-known plight of Xinjiang’s Christian house churches.Though Xinjiang is an autonomous region, meaning that its native populations should be able to enjoy greater legislative rights, government crackdowns have steadily increased in the region. Pastor Zhong Shuguang was in trouble after posting online that Christians “have no religious freedom in Xinjiang,” but the truthfulness and irony of his remark was evident after officials came to raid his house after seeing his remark.
7/27/2016 Xinjiang, China (China Aid) – Persecution in China’s northwestern Xinjiang province spiked earlier this month as authorities raided several house churches, detained numerous Christians and confined an entire family to their residence.
In Hetian, one of the province’s southernmost cities, officials raided several churches throughout a single county on July 7 and took many Christians to the police station for interrogation about their church’s religious affairs. They were released at 8 a.m. the next day, but received a summons for further questioning hours later and were held at the police station until late that evening.
The affected church members attested that local authorities interviewed Christians with no connection to their church. On the night of July 10, the Cele County police station dispatched officers to the home of Pastor Zhong Shuguang, who evaded detention because he happened to be traveling at the time. However, they took his wife, Lü Yingli, into custody. She was released the next day.
The raid occurred after Zhong posted an online message declaring Christians have no religious freedom in Xinjiang.
In 2012 and 2013, authorities detained and fined Zhong three times for organizing religious gatherings and confiscated his property. Even though his church lacks a formal meeting place, it still experiences constant government interference.