Christian Persecution Update

Chinese House Church Members Taken Into Custody After Sharing Meal Together. House Church Christians Beaten in Xiangyan

Psalm 25:19. Consider mine enemies; for they are many; and they hate me with cruel hatred.

Psalm 38:19. But mine enemies are lively, and they are strong: and they that hate me wrongfully are multiplied.

Psalm 41:7. All that hate me whisper together against me: against me do they devise my hurt.

Psalm 69:4. They that hate me without a cause are more than the hairs of mine head: they that would destroy me, being mine enemies wrongfully, are mighty: then I restored that which I took not away.

Psalm 69:14. Deliver me out of the mire, and let me not sink: let me be delivered from them that hate me, and out of the deep waters.

Matthew 10:22. And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved.

Mark 13:13. And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.

Luke 6:22. Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man’s sake.

Luke 21:17. And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake.

John 7:7. The world cannot hate you; but me it hateth, because I testify of it, that the works thereof are evil.

John 15:18. If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you.

John 15:23. He that hateth me hateth my Father also.

Chinese House Church Members Taken Into Custody After Sharing Meal Together

Bitter Winter. 06/26/2019

House Church Christians Beaten in Xiangyang

For Christians, even getting together for a meal is now off-limits in China. It seems that dinners are now considered religious gatherings, which as such should be authorized.

That’s the hard lesson 11 believers from a Sola Fide house church in Xiangyang city in central China’s Hubei Province learned on March 13, 2019, the night they were arrested after having dinner together. Just as the believers were leaving the meeting venue, they were surrounded by more than 20 police officers, who rounded them up, herded them into police cars and took them down to the police station. The officers reported they had been tipped-off, possibly by neighbors seeking a reward for having denounced an illegal religious gathering.

Bitter Winter has learned that, when one believer, a woman in her 60s, simply asked the cops what they were doing, the answer was a punch on her chest. The woman suffers from heart disease and high blood pressure. Ignoring her condition, the police officer assaulted her until she passed out. When she woke, he continued the attack.

At the police station, personnel from the local Religious Affairs Bureau reprimanded the believers, saying they are not allowed to hold gatherings, and much less to preach in other regions. In fact, some of them had come by bus from another county, which the government officials considered as forbidden “cross-regional preaching.” Ultimately, the believers were released, but the health of the woman with heart problems continued to deteriorate. She developed an irregular heartbeat, vomiting, and urinary incontinence. She was taken to a hospital where it was determined that she had multiple injuries to her chest, abdomen and face. In addition, her heart condition worsened. More than 3,000 RMB (about $450) had to be spent on hospitalization expenses.

The woman prepared a written report about the incident, and asked the government for an explanation. Not only did officials not provide one, they gave her something else. Another warning. As reported to Bitter Winter by local believers, she was told that, “Believing in God is illegal. If you continue holding gatherings, we will arrest you once again.” When she complained that all this was illegal, and mentioned that the Chinese Constitution includes a provision about freedom of belief, an officer answered, “How can you talk about the law with me? Whatever I say is the law. Otherwise, go ahead and file a lawsuit.”

A Church Shut Down in Suizhou

Recently, meeting venues of various house churches (including some from Sola Fide and Seventh-day Adventist Church) in Hubei have been suppressed and shut down. On April 8, Xinwang Church, located in Hubei’s Suizhou city, was raided. More than 30 officials from the National Security Brigade and the local Ethnic and Religious Affairs Bureau stormed into the meeting venue, confiscated the church’s assets and shut down the meeting venue on the grounds that its gatherings were illegal.

The church’s director requested the police present their law enforcement credentials, but was refused. He wanted to take photos to document the police’s raid, but was arrested and escorted to the police station, where he was interrogated about the number of people in the church, as well as how much money the church has. Three other church co-workers were also detained, interrogated and warned that they would not be allowed to hold gatherings anymore.

After the church’s director was released, he went to the Ethnic and Religious Affairs Bureau seeking to get the church’s assets back, but the head of the Bureau said the church is an illegal religious group that conducts illegal missionary activities, so the believers’ offerings constitute illegal religious donations and should be confiscated.

A co-worker from the church told Bitter Winter that the local government officials once ordered them to join the Three-Self Church, but this was met by strong opposition from the church members. “Externally, the Chinese government talks about freedom of religion. Domestically, they are placing everything under government control. They don’t allow Three-Self churches to talk about God’s creation. They have to talk about evolution, and their sermons and lectures on the Bible must be reviewed by the government beforehand,” explained the church co-worker. “Portraits of Xi Jinping and Mao Zedong must be hung in the Three-Self churches. They also have to put up ‘red [national] flags’ and sing ‘red songs.’ How is that a place for worshipping God?”

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