Churches Across China Harassed by Authorities
Churches in Henan, Guizhou, Guangdong, and Sichuan in Turmoil
10/02/2018 Washington D.C. (International Christian Concern) – International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that several churches across China were raided and had their crosses removed by authorities over the past week. Additionally, the pastor of a Beijing house church that has already been shut down was hit by a scooter allegedly orchestrated by the government.
On September 27, the government forcibly removed the cross of Zhenxi Street Christian Church in Lankao County, Henan province. Though the church is state-sanctioned, with its walls painted with government slogans such as, “Persist in following the Sinocization of China’s religion,” it could not escape the ongoing crackdown against churches.
On September 30, local authorities disrupted the Sunday service at Lamb Returning Home Church in Guangzhou. The preacher, Cao Zhichao, was one of the signatories who recently signed his name on the joint statement among house churches affirming religious freedom in China.
On the same day, China Aid reported that six officials visited Guangzhou Bible Reformed Church (GBRC), interrogated Pastor Huang Xiaoning, and recorded his ID number. The congregants were upset and challenged the authorities on their actions, “accusing them for trespassing and demanding them to show warrant and IDs.” The officials left after members called the police. GBRC was forcibly shut down earlier last month.
In Guizhou, the Guiyang Love Reformed Church was disbanded by local religious affairs bureau officials who visited during their Sunday service, claiming that the church violated the religious regulations.
According to China Free Press, Autumn Rain Covenant Church (ARCC) in Sichuan also faced harassment on the same day. A member published an online message, saying, “More than 20 police officers surrounded the church […] I wonder how many more are downstairs? Early in the morning the police came and blocked the main entrance of the church, I didn’t expect that they would now encircle the church. This is for God to refine our church and our brothers and sisters, thank God! Hallelujah! Amen!”
Three of ARCC’s locations have been investigated and harassed by the authorities, with dozens of members and leaders pressured to stop attending the church. Authorities have also contacted landlords to pressure them to stop leasing to the church.
A source who wished to remain anonymous told ICC that the head pastor of the recently shut down Zion Church in Beijing, Jin Mingri, was hit by a scooter while he was running errands last week. This incident took place after the government charged the shuttered church with a hefty $170,000 “fee” following their eviction. While Jin was left only slightly injured, “this could be seen as a warning from the authority,” said the source.
Gina Goh, ICC’s Regional Manager, said, “Christians in China are bracing themselves for the worst clampdown since the Cultural Revolution. The scale and tactics employed by the authorities are unprecedented and disturbing. Every day there are churches across China that become fresh victims of persecution. ICC condemns the Chinese government’s scheme to taint religious freedom and urges the international community to continuously voice their concerns and stand with the oppressed.”
For interviews with Gina Goh, Regional Manager, please contact Olivia Miller, Communications Coordinator: firstname.lastname@example.org