Date:  April 22, 2022

China (International Christian Concern) – After a house church in China’s coastal province held a baptism in the ocean during the Easter weekend, the members were raided by local police and asked to submit personal information.

According to China Aid, on April 15, Pastor Mao Zhibin from Shenzhen Trinity Gospel Harvest church and six members awaiting to be baptized drove two hours to a nearby coastal city for the Easter baptism. Given their experience last September, where a five-year anniversary celebration at the beach was disrupted and members harassed, this time, they carefully planned and the baptism went smoothly.

However, after a seeker carelessly uploaded the photos and videos of April 16 baptism to social media, about 30 mins after they begun lunch, Pastor Mao received a phone call in the name of pandemic measures requesting to confirm his identity and origin.

A few minutes later, a police car showed up at the restaurant. A local official along with several police officers came out from the car, asking the group to provide their IDs, health code (to prove that they are COVID-free), and allow the police to scan their faces.

To Pastor Mao’s surprise, the police officers already had the baptism videos in their cell phones. Although they were polite and waited until the group finished lunch to execute their duties, the pastor was shocked to see several photos of him show up after the police scanned his face. The artificial intelligence employed by the Chinese government is potent and scary.

“The technology used by the government surpasses traditional authoritarian reign and should be called super authoritarianism! However, I also believe that God is and must still reigns over all. We just need to trust in him, walk humbly with God,” said Pastor Mao, whose major was information management engineering in college.

Pastor Mao and his church have been targeted by the government for his vocal support for religious freedom and Pastor Wang Yi. The fact that their church attracts many activists also irk the authorities.

HOW TO PRAY: Pray for safety for those who were raided. Pray for the ability for this church to worship freely. Pray for continued salvation and baptism across China.