Largest House Church in Beijing Shut Down by the Government
By Gina Goh
09/13/2018 Washington D.C. (International Christian Concern) – International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that on September 9, more than 20 officials from the Chaoyang District Ethnic and Religious Affairs Office and Civil Affairs Bureau raided Zion Church in Beijing. The head pastor, Jin Mingri, was taken away for interrogation and released later on the same day.
Officials posted several notices at Zion Church’s headquarters, located at Longbaochen Commercial Building in Chaoyang District, accusing the church of “conducting unauthorized activities and disturbing social order under the name of civil organization.” As a result, the District’s Civil Affairs Bureau legally banned the church and the use of its “illegal religious venue,” while also confiscating its “illegal promotional material.”
According to Asia News, Zion Church had enjoyed a certain degree of freedom until recently. In April, when the 1,500-member church refused to install closed-circuit television cameras, the government briefly turned off the church’s water and power supplies. Last week, the rented hall the congregation was using became off limits.
“Unlawful dark forces vandalized Zion Church’s sign, but it will not destroy the church that everlasting God has built!”
After seeing the church’s sign destroyed yesterday, Pastor Jin sorrowfully said, “Unlawful dark forces vandalized Zion Church’s sign, but it will not destroy the church that everlasting God has built!”
In response to the crackdown against Zion Church and other Christian communities, hundreds of house church pastors and Christian leaders from around the country signed a joint statement on September 1, publicly expressing their faith and their stance against the government’s denial of religious freedom. The crackdown has included demolishing crosses on church buildings, violently removing religious symbols from Christians’ homes, forcing and threatening churches to join religious organizations sanctioned by the government, forcing churches to hang the national flag or sing secular songs praising the government, banning children from entering churches or receiving religious education, and depriving believers of the right to gather freely.
As of September 7, 305 Christians have signed on to this statement, prepared to bear the potential consequences—even the loss of their freedom and their lives.
Gina Goh, ICC’s Regional Manager, said, “The banning of Zion Church, along with the intensified crackdown against Christians in Henan and other provinces in China, demonstrates the government’s absolute disregard for religious freedom. The future awaiting China’s house church Christians should be everyone’s concern. We urge the international community to speak up for persecuted Chinese Christians and be their voice as Beijing tries to mute them and alter their faith to fit into communist ideology.”
For interviews with Gina Goh, Regional Manager, please contact Olivia Miller, Communications Coordinator: firstname.lastname@example.org