House churches attacked and banned in several provinces

In Beijing, Shaanxi, Shanxi, Jilin, and Sichuan police raids targeted churches that refused to join the CCP-controlled Three-Self Church. Orders came from Xi Jinping himself.

By Tao Niu

Bitter Winter (24.08.2022) – – On December 3 and 4, 2021, the Chinese Communist Party held in Beijing a National Conference on Work Related to Religious Affairs, the first such conference since 2016. Xi Jinping spoke at the Conference, and called for a more aggressive campaign against “non-Sinicized” and “illegal” forms of religion.

During the course of this year, Christian believers from various parts of China have constantly reported to Bitter Winter that conditions for house churches are deteriorating. Xi Jinping’s plan of compelling all Protestant Christians to join the government-controlled Three-Self Church, or face arrest and “liquidation” of their churches as xie jiao or “illegal” religious groups, is being ruthlessly implemented. It seems that in this month of August local authorities and police are under pressure from the CCP to further crack down on independent house churches.

On August 11, Bitter Winter reported that the Church of Abundance (Fengsheng), a historical house church in Xi’an, Shaanxi, which had managed to survive and operate for some thirty years, had become the victim of a crackdown. It was accused of being a xie jiao or a “cult” (although its theology is mainline) and of fraudulently collecting donations.

On August 19, the Church of Abundance was officially “liquidated,” not as a xie jiao but as an “illegal social organization.” The ban also targeted the China Gospel Association, part of the same house church network. The Church should cease its activities or have its members and pastors face arrest and detention. For the time being, Pastor Lian Changnian and his son Pastor Lian Xuliang have been placed under “residential surveillance at a designated place.”

Also on August 19, some 70 members of the Covenant Home Church in Linfen, Shanxi province, were attending a parent-children camp when they were surrounded by some 100 armed police. The adults were detained. The police also searched the homes of church members Li Jie and his wife Li Shanshan, and Han Xiaodong, and seized Christian books and documents.

On August 21, a service of Changchun Sunshine Reformed Church, a house church in Changchun city, Jilin province, was raided by the police. As demonstrated by videos circulated by the believers, those attending the service were beaten by the agents. Two women had heart attacks and had to be hospitalized.

Nine believers were detained. The police seemed to be particularly interested in Pastor Guo Muyun, Elder Qu Hongliang, and Brother Zhang Liangliang, who were accused of running an illegal religious organization.

On August 14, the Mentougou branch of the Zion Church in Beijing had also been raided. Computers were confiscated, and the pastor. Yang Jun, and nine devotees were detained, although they were later released.

On the other hand, the detention of Wenzhou Christian Lin Xuesui, who had been arrested by Sichuan Gulin Public Security Bureau on June 14 for “organizing and financing illegal gatherings” has been formalized into arrest. Lin’s “crime” was that he preached the Gospel and helped villagers in a remote mountain area.

Photo: The August 21 raid against Changchun Sunshine Reformed Church in Changchun city, Jilin province. From Twitter

 Further reading about FORB in China on HRWF website