Chinese authorities have closed a historic house church as part of the crackdown

church of china
REUTERS/Lang Lang

Chinese authorities have ‘liquidated’ a historic house church in Xi’an, Shaanxi province, as part of a crackdown on churches that refuse to join the state-controlled Three-Self Church , said rights advocates.

The Church of Abundance, which began around 30 years ago, had been targeted as a “cult” that allegedly collected illegal donations. Authorities shut it down as an “illegal social organization” — that is, an organization that refused to join the Chinese Communist Party-controlled Three-Self Church, according to the human rights organization. religious rights based in Italy, Bitter Winter.

The shutdown appears to be part of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s December 2021 call for action against “non-Chinese” and “illegal” religious groups, Bitter Winter reported.

“Xi Jinping’s plan to coerce all Protestant Christians into joining the government-controlled Three-Self Church or face arrest and ‘liquidation’ of their churches as xie jiao or religious groups ‘illegal’ is implemented ruthlessly,” the organization added.

The Church of Abundance was ordered to cease operations or its members and pastors would be arrested and detained. Bitter Winter reported that Church of Abundance pastor Lian Changnian and his son, Pastor Lian Xuliang, have been placed under “residential surveillance at a designated place.”

The ban also targeted the China Gospel Association, which is part of the same network of house churches, the rights group said.

Christian rights group China Aid reported that the Civil Affairs Bureau and the Religious Affairs Bureau announced the charges against Church of Abundance staff for unlawful assembly, unlawful fundraising and unlawful registration. Parks.

The wife of one of the arrested pastors said, according to China Aid, that Pastor Lian Xuliang had a big bruise after being hit on the forehead.

“His eyes were bloodshot and there was dried blood in the corners of his eyes,” she said. “His face mask also had streaks of blood. Her arms and hands were bruised and swollen. There has undoubtedly been physical abuse from these so-called law enforcement officers during their ‘law enforcement’.

The pastors, their wives and other workers were arrested on August 17, according to China Aid. Wives and most church workers were released, but not preacher Fu Juan, the group reported.

“Preacher Fu Juan’s whereabouts are unknown, and her husband has not yet received an official written notice of detention,” said one of the pastor’s wives.

Since President Xi’s call for a crackdown on unofficial religious organizations at the CCP’s National Conference on Work Related to Religious Affairs last December, authorities have raided churches refusing to join the Church of the Three autonomies in Beijing, in the provinces of Shaanxi, Shanxi, Jilin and Sichuan, according to Bitter Winter.

On August 19, about 100 armed police in Linfen, Shanxi province surrounded some 70 members of the Covenant Home Church who were attending a parent-child camp, the group reported. Detaining the adults, the police also searched the homes of Han Xiaodong church members Li Jie and his wife, Li Shanshan, and seized Christian books and materials.

On August 21, in Changchun City, Jilin Province, police raided a service of Changchun Sunshine Reformed Church, a house church, Bitter Winter reported.

“As videos released by believers demonstrate, those attending the service were beaten by the officers,” Bitter Winter said. “Two women had heart attacks and had to be hospitalized.”

Officers arrested nine Christians, including pastor Guo Muyun, elder Qu Hongliang and brother Zhang Liangliang, who were charged with leading an illegal religious organization, the group reported.

On August 14 in Beijing, the Mentougou branch of the Sion Church was raided.

“Computers were confiscated and the pastor, Yang Jun, and nine congregants were detained, although they were later released,” Bitter Winter reported.

China is ranked No. 17 on Christian support organization Open Doors’ 2022 global watchlist of countries where it is hardest to be a Christian.

Morning Star News is the only independent news service focusing exclusively on the persecution of Christians. The mission of the non-profit organization is to provide complete, reliable and impartial information in order to empower people in the free world to help persecuted Christians and to encourage persecuted Christians by informing them that they do not are not alone in their suffering.

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