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10/03/2020 China (International Christian Concern) – Early Rain Covenant Church (ERCC)’s elder Li Yingqiang, who was forced to leave Sichuan after he was released from his detention in August 2019, decided to return with his family in order to “experience the hardship and grace together with his fellow brothers and sisters” last month.

However, not everyone welcomed the Li family’s presence. Not long after their arrival at their new rented apartment in September, the local police already came to verify their legal residence. On September 27, six public security officers came to visit and repeatedly expressed how Li is not welcomed in Chengdu.

They warned elder Li that certain measures would be taken against his family including but not limited to: heightened surveillance and tailing after, harassment to make their residency uncomfortable, and deprival of their custody to their children.

On September 28, Li noticed that the harassment has started— the sub-district office already set up a station in his community to keep an eye on his family. No visitor is allowed at his residence. When he brought his young children to a nearby park, they were closely followed.

On September 30, the suppression has escalated. When Li waved down a taxi attempting to head somewhere else for fun with his family, his minder menaced the taxi driver and sent him away. With his plan disrupted by the police, Li had no choice but to cancel their family outing.

Li’s experience is sadly not unique to ERCC members. The heavily persecuted church has at least six families who have been closely watched since December 2018. The 24/7 surveillance is conducted to intimidate believers so that one day they will decide to leave their church.

Together with elder Qin Derfu, Li was accused of “picking quarrels and stirring up trouble” and “running an illegal business” in the 1209 government crackdown against ERCC in 2018. For nearly eight months, Li’s wife Zhang Xinyue did not know about her husband’s whereabouts.

Elder Li is asking for prayers so the Lord can guard their hearts and help them not to complain and be bitter when they face the evil acts of the government; he prays to have a joyful heart and the ability to love them wholeheartedly.

For interviews, please contact Olivia Miller, Communications Coordinator: [email protected].