Date: September 28, 2022
China (MNN) — Chinese officials have cracked down on several unregistered churches in recent weeks.
On August 14, police raided a branch of Zion Church, the largest house church in Beijing. They confiscated several computers. On September 7, officials banned the House of Light Church in Jilin province. And authorities liquidated a 30-year-old house church in Xi’an.
Bob Fu, a partner with The Voice of the Martyrs Canada, says, “Pastors were being taken away and arrested. Some were indicted, with very serious (of course trumped-up) charges like aiding illegal religious organizations, or like business fraud.”
“This is a new charge, because the church had an offering box.”
In December 2021, Chinese President Xi Jinping called for action against illegal religious groups in the country.
Fu says many churches are having a hard time even finding a lawyer to fight these charges. “Hundreds of Chinese human rights lawyers who traditionally take a stand have now been disbarred. Pretty much all of them are disbarred. I mean, the lawyers’ lawyers are disbarred.”
But some Chinese officials still worry about how these raids look to an international audience. After a pastor was recently arrested, Fu tweeted about it to let people know.
Quickly, the pastor was released. Shortly afterward, Fu received a message from the police involved. “The message said something like, “Oh, we did a good thing by releasing him. Now could you do us a favor and not put our shame on your Twitter message?’”
Ask God to strengthen Chinese Christians.
The header photo shows a street in Xi’an, China. (Photo courtesy of Acstar, CC BY-SA 3.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0>, via Wikimedia Commons)