A house church in Gushi County, Henan is suppressed; a Christian coworker is beaten and injuredTuesday, September 18, 2012
China Aid Association
(Gushi, Henan province – Sept 18, 2012) ChinaAid has learned that last month, August 2012, government authorities raided a Sunday service in a house church in Gushi County, Henan Province, during which a church worker was brutally beaten by the police and seriously injured. The police also interrogated a female Christian and confiscated her cell phone.
On August 26, 2012, more than 30 Christian of a house church in Fangji Town, Gushi County in Henan Province, held their usual Sunday service. At about 10 am several dozen people from Gushi County Bureau of Religion, TSPM churches, the County DSPS (Domestic Security Protection Squad), and the Township Police Station broke into the site of the Sunday service and declared that the gathering was illegal. They ordered the people to disperse immediately and warned them not to gather illegally in the future. Some Christians argued with them questioning the trampling of their freedom of belief. An official from the Bureau of Religion said they could go to a TSPM church. These believers told the official that they were originally from a TSPM church, but they found the pastor there seriously distorted the principle teachings of the Bible, and was leading those attending astray, and that because of this they left the TSPM church. The official from the Bureau of Religion and the DSPS officers said they must register; that otherwise they would be declared a cult and be banned. The believers argued with them in legal terms and the government officials had nothing to say in reply, but threatened: You will see how we are going to punish you!
Two days later, Brother Yi who has a background of formal theological training and who has served in this house church was taken by force twice to the Township Police Station where he was told to tell them every aspect of this house church. They also demanded he promise that he would not participate in the activities of this church in the future. Brother Yi refused and was brutally beaten by them for nearly two hours, suffering serious injuries to his neck and throughout his midsection. Since returning home, he has rested for two weeks but has not recovered from the injuries sustained in the beating. Sister Wu, another member of the church, was taken to the police station and was interrogated for several hours, during which she was repeatedly threatened. The authorities have not returned the cell phone they confiscated from her; because of this, Sister Wu went to the Supervision Brigade of the County Public Security Bureau, seeking relief, but they refused to accept her case.
According to Sister Wu and Sister Yao, during the past six months, the suppression and persecution of some house churches has been escalating. Half a year ago, the local government gathered information on all house churches; threatened every member of the house churches; and demanded that they join the TSPM churches (almost every town has a TSPM church). However, as some of the pastors of the TSPM churches have completely gone astray in their teaching and conduct and forsaken the principled teachings in the Bible, brothers and sisters of many house churches have come out of the TSPM churches. The Christian base in Gushi County is very solid and there is a high percentage of people who are Christians. Besides the factor of faith, there is also an economic factor behind the government’s suppression of house churches. Registration at a TSPM church requires a amount of registration fees, and a certificate of membership for every believer of a TSPM church also carries a fee. Besides this, registered church need to pay 10 percent of donation received to the Bureau of Religion and to a TSPM church one level over them. The annual inspection fee on TSPM system churches provides significant additional income to the government. Thus only TSPM churches are viewed as authentic and legitimate, while house churches are declared to be dangerous cults, heretical, and illegal.
ChinaAid strongly denounces the government’s illegal and barbaric actions in suppressing and persecuting house churches and Christians. We worry about the continued escalation in the persecution of house churches in various places across mainland China during the past year, and we call on the Chinese government to take immediate and effective measures to stop the persecution of house churches in those regions of China, and to safeguard rights the Constitution and international laws ensure to all Chinese citizens (including freedom of religion), and to ensure that these fundamental rights of the citizens are not violated. We are paying close attention to developments in the persecution of this house church in Gushi County, and we pray to our Heavenly Father to strengthen the persecuted brothers’ and sisters’ faith, and to finally lead them out of Egypt. May all the glory be to the Lord!
China Aid Contacts
Rachel Ritchie, English Media Director
Cell: (432) 553-1080 | Office: 1+ (888) 889-7757 | Other: (432) 689-6985