Date: August 2, 2021
(Xiamen Fujian Province —August 02, 2021) On July 29, Siming District, Xiamen City Bureau of the National Religious Affairs (BNRA) authorities issued the notice of administrative punishment to Lay* Pastor Yang Xibo, and his wife, Wang Xiaofei, of Xunsiding Church in Xiamen, Fujian Province. They have charged Pastor Yang and Sister Wang with organizing a gathering. Chinese Communalist Party (CCP) authorities also heavily fined the couple 200000 yuan [USD: $30,938]. In the BNRA notice to Pastor Yang and Sister Wang, officials assert:
[We] found out according to law that your behavior of organizing and holding the Xunsiding Church religious activity in the Liuhong Hall of the Pan Pacific Hotel without the approval of the National Religious Affairs Bureau, and providing for the illegal religious activity violates the provisions of Articles 40 and 41 of the Regulations on Religious Affairs.
According to Article 71 of the Regulations on Religious Affairs, this government organ plans to impose an administrative penalty of 200000 yuan on [you,] Yang Xiibo and Wang Xiaofei (100000 yuan on Yang Xibo and Wang Xiaofei respectively).
According to the provisions of Articles 44 and 45 of the Administrative Punishment Law of the People's Republic of China, you have the right to make statements and defend [yourself]. Please make a statement and defense to the Bureau of National Religious Affairs of Siming District, Xiamen within three days from the date of receiving the notice.
Xiamen Siming District NRAB Punishment Notice.
(Photo: Pastor Yang Xi
In recent years, Xiamen Chinese Communist Party (CCP) municipal authorities used tough measures to crackdown on the family church [House Church], and the Xunsiding Church, They have primarily targeted Xunsiding Church, which had inherited traditions from the family church for hundreds of years,. On May 19, 2019, CCP municipal officials banned Xunsiding Church and fined members 25000 yuan [USD: 3869]. Police besieged Xunsiding Church’s building the for 30 days. Afterwards, as officers continued to monitor the church, members constantly changed their meeting places. Whether they met in residential buildings, office buildings, hotels or by the sea, however, public security officers found and repeatedly harassed them.
In Xiamen.one of the earliest areas where Protestants entered China, Christians established the "New Street Church," China's first church, in 1848. Because Yang Qingxi, the great great grandfather of Yang Xibo, a martial arts expert, escorted missionaries into the mountains, he “fathered” the first generation of Christians in the Yang family. Next, Yang Huaide, Pastor Yang's great grandfather, who believed in the Lord, put down his shoemaker's skills, and moved to Gulangyu to study theology. Afterward, he served full-time and became the first priest of the "Xiamen Hong Kong Chapel" which British Presbyterian Church had established in 1888.After Xunsiding Church closed in the mid-1950s due to political coercion, members moved to Pastor Yang Huaide's home for gatherings. Later, because two descendants of Yang Huaide, Yang Xinfei and Yang Yuanzhang, spiritual predecessors of the Chinese family church, refused to join the Three-Self Church, CCP authorities imprisoned them for 15 and 5 years. After released from prison, they continued to serve “the Church.” In 1977, the Church again held religious gatherings in public again at No. 5 of Xunsiding Church.
Today, Pastor Yang, fourth generation from Yang leads Xunsiding Church. He once shared that since childhood after growing up under the influence of the family ‘s belief, he decided to be a preacher.
Pastor Yang's aunt, Yang Xinfei, and his father, Yang Yuanzhang.
Over the past 30 years, the Church has held gatherings in private homes with the tacit approval of CCP authorities. In recent years, however, with Xiamen municipal government officials crackdown on family churches, they have demolished Church members' houses. In addition, police have stormed the Church on Sundays, beaten, and arrested Christians, and forced Christians to send their children to public schools. CCP authorities have also demolished tombstones of foreign missionaries.
On March 19, 2021, the United Front Work Department (the National Religious Affairs Bureau) of Siming District, Xiamen City issued a notice. To prevent the rebound of banned illegal religious activities, Xiamen officials require street authorities, to continue to strengthen the investigation of private/business sites. They must organize community cadres to conduct key inspections/ investigations of commercial and residential buildings, as well as commercial hotels on Saturday/Sunday nights (primary periods of religious activities). Once, officials fins illegal religious activities, they must immediately report them to the United Front Work Department of the District Party committee (the National Religious Affairs Bureau) for coordination and investigation.
On April 17, public security authorities raided the Church at the newly rented meeting place of the Pan Pacific Hotel. Dozens of police intercepted Church members and clerical workers at the entrance of the hotel conference hall. Officers took each person’s body temperature and registered their ID numbers, one by one. They directed each Christian to remove his/her mask so photograph their face.
After receiving the BNRA’s notice of administrative punishment, Pastor Yang posted a message on social media:
The next battle begins, please pray....
~ Yu Bing, ChinaAid Special Correspondent
* not formally ordained
not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some,
but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.
~ Hebrews 10:25 (NKJV)
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