CHINA : Pastor of Guangzhou House Church Detained
Pastors and Churches Continue to Face Harassment from Local Authorities
International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that Pastor Huang Xiaoning from Guangzhou Bible Reformed Church (GBRC) was detained for five days by the police for ‘disrupting public services’ on November 10.
According to Father Francis Liu on Twitter, Pastor Huang decided to fast and pray inside the police station for the five-day duration. He is the fourth pastor in China who has been detained for ‘disobedience’ regarding the latest regulations on religious affairs published last February.
China Aid also reported that the next morning, a few police officers were stationed outside of the church to discourage members from attending worship. Church members also found the church’s door being sealed off a day prior without proper procedure or documentation.
GBRC has repeatedly refused to shut down the church or join a state-sanctioned church as previously requested by the authorities and, as a result, faces constant harassment and threats from the local authorities.
On the same day, officials from the United Front Department, Religious Affairs Bureau, and Public Security Bureau also raided Huozhou Church in Shanxi province. They dispersed the churchgoers and posted a disbandment notice on the church’s door after claiming that Chinese citizens’ “freedom of religious belief” is not “freedom of [conducting] religious activities.”
In a video shared by Chinese Christian Fellowship of Righteousness, government officials are seen inside the house church reading out the Christians’ alleged violations according to the latest religious affairs regulations.
Some suspect that the house church was targeted because its leadership recently signed a joint statement expressing dissatisfaction with the Chinese government.
In response to these cases, Pastor Wang Yi from Autumn Rain Covenant Church in Sichuan, who is also often persecuted, shared, “We need to repeatedly tell the ones in power that to disrupt Sunday worship and disband churches is the evilest crime in this world. If this crime does not cease, this regime is essentially cultivating God’s wrath and judgment, until the whole country is impacted and overturned overnight. And how do we inform them? It is to tell them that we are willing to go into police stations, detention centers, and prisons. We are willing to sacrifice our lives for this, because we truly hate to see the whole nation under great disaster. Lord, have mercy on this nation, and give us the courage to disobey [the government].”
Gina Goh, ICC’s Regional Manager, said, “Disturbance of church services and detention of Christians are becoming much more frequent as the Chinese government continues its campaign to crack down on Christianity. Every week, as we freely attend our Sunday worship, China is stopping more churches from gathering. Its notorious violations of human rights, however, will not go unnoticed. The world is paying attention and Beijing will never succeed in its scheme to control the Church.”