08/17/2022 China (International Christian Concern) – As the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) tightens control on religion in China, churches that refuse to register with the state-sanctioned Three-Self Patriotic Church are facing increased scrutiny and harassment. Their leaders are often slapped with fabricated charges and years of incarceration.
On August 10, a church in China’s Xi’an city sent out a prayer letter as the house church was being targeted by the authorities, and its members were pressured to testify against their pastor falsely. The letter, which ICC translates below, shows once again the challenges and injustice faced by house churches in China today.
Dear brothers and sisters,
Peace to you!
Beginning July 20, the brothers and sisters from our church began to be summoned by Xi’an City’s Shilipu Police Station or had police officers visiting their homes. Some of their houses have been repeatedly searched, greatly affecting their lives and mental state.
According to those summoned, the police officers led by Zhang Haipo demanded the members surrender church offerings, testify against their pastor, claiming that he committed fraud and spread cult messages, and fabricate offering amounts, or else their jobs or children’s education could be negatively affected.
Zhang also deceived the summoned Christians and told them their pastor pays himself 50000 yen (USD 7380) monthly as his salary. He also told them, “The higher amount you say you offer to church, the more you will be able to get it back.”
We are deeply shocked and concerned about the illegal actions committed by some law enforcement personnel.
For the past 30 years, Xi’an Abundant Church has strictly lived out faith according to the Bible’s teaching: love God, love [your] country, love your neighbors, and submit to those in power. In terms of the offering, Abundant Church asks its members to offer voluntarily according to the Bible and allows church coworkers to manage by themselves. It is done in a public and transparent manner. The pastor is not in charge of money or finance, and the members are all aware of that. There is no fraud involved. We would like to ask, “Who granted them the authority to freely trample on the religious freedom guaranteed by the Constitution to every citizen?”
- Please pray for the brothers and sisters who were summoned and have their mental state and lives affected. May God’s comfort and healing be with them so they can walk out from this traumatic experience;
- Pray for every member of Abundant Church. May God grant us sufficient grace so we can stand firm amid the wind and waves;
- Pray for Shilipu Police Station. May God stop their illegal actions, and that they will return our church’s property to us;
- Pray for our motherland. May justice be established in this land.Xi’an Abundant Church Senior Pastor Lian Chang-Nian
Xi’an Abundant Church Staff & CoworkersAugust 10, 2022
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