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Chinese House Church Alliance president interrupted during sermon; Nanle County Christians blocked from gathering



Wednesday, May 14, 2014

This man followed Pastor Zhang Mingxuan around Jianhu
County on May 12, 2014. (Photo courtesy of Zhang
Mingxuan)
China Aid Association

(Yancheng, Jiangsu—May 14, 2014) Local authorities in China’s coastal Jiangsu province barred Pastor Zhang Mingxuan, the president of the Chinese House Church Alliance, from delivering a sermon at a house church on Sunday; meanwhile, Nanle County authorities, in centrally located Henan province, kept Nanle County Christian Church members from gathering again, continuing persecution that began in November 2013.

When Zhang Mingxuan arrived in Jianhu County, Yancheng, Jiangsu on Saturday, he attempted to check into a local hotel, the hotel refused to let him stay, saying there was no room. Zhang Mingxuan told China Aid that the local public security bureau had told the hotel not to let him stay there.

The following day, Zhang Mingxuan visited Pastor Zeng Zhengliang, the man who had invited him to deliver a sermon at his church, Zhongzhuang Church. “This morning, Pastor Zeng took me to his home,” Zhang Mingxuan said. “We had a meal and said we would meet in the afternoon. I was talking about the Bible at the gathering [when], just about half an hour into it, the police [came in], gave us a notice and didn’t allow me to continue. They asked me to leave, so I just left the church.”

“Those who came were members of the Joint Defense Force,” Zeng said. “They went to the gathering site. They said one can come to play, but not to preach the Gospel.”

Zhang Minxuan said that the leaders of Jianhu County’s Public Security Bureau and Domestic Security Protection Squad (DSPS) came to Zhongzhuang, the village where the church is located. “They notified Zeng Zhengliang, his son and his family members not to allow me to give a sermon,” Zhang Minxuan said. “The director of the [Jianhu] County Public Security Bureau and the leader of the DSPS are both in Zhongzhuang.

“They are afraid of me videotaping them, so they don’t show up [in public]. That’s why yesterday they made all the hotels in Zhongzhuang tell me that their rooms were full, so that I couldn’t find a place to stay. Now, a squad leader of theirs wants to see me,” Zhang Mingxuan said.

“Right now, I’m still staying at the home of Zeng Zhengliang. From last night until now, police have been stalking us,” Zhang Minxuan said on Monday. “This morning, the DSPS leader said he would like to see me. He said he had resigned from his job. He [said he would] like to see me, but he is afraid I might record his words. In the afternoon, a motorcycle followed me everywhere. Wherever I went, he went.”

Zhang Mingxuan experienced similar antagonism in Beijing last December. He and his wife delivered a sermon in Beijing and visited Jin Tianming, the pastor of Shouwang Church, who has been under long-term house arrest since 2011. More than 10 officers from Beijing’s DSPS placed Zhang Mingxuan and his wife under house arrest in their hotel room. The DSPS then forced the couple to leave the capital (http://www.chinaaid.org/2013/12/house-churches-across-china-experience.html).

Nanle County
While the president of the China House Church Alliance was persecuted in Jiangsu, Christians in nearby central Henan attempted to gather at Nanle County Christian Church for a worship service and were denied access by the local government.

Church members who attempted to enter were warned that there would be consequences if they were to force their way into the church. “Today, there were still 20-30 government employees guarding the gate of the church,” a believer, Ms. Li said. “They took photos of the Christians [who tried to enter].” Li said that someone from the Nanle County Religious Affairs Bureau, Qiu Yanli, and two men from the town’s People’s Congress were at the gate.

“We still couldn’t gather together successfully,” said Zhang Lingxin, the youngest daughter of the church’s detained pastor, Zhang Shaojie. “Only five people slipped into the church when the authorities were not looking. However, when they came out of the church, the people guarding the church took photos of them and threatened that they mustn’t go into the church again.”

Zhang Shaojie was detained in mid-November, along with 23 other church members, after a group attempted to travel to Beijing to petition the government there about the unsatisfactory result of a land dispute between the church and the Nanle County government (see http://www.chinaaid.org/2013/11/three-self-sanctioned-church-pastor-and.html, http://www.chinaaid.org/2013/11/update-three-self-sanctioned-church.html and http://www.chinaaid.org/2014/01/exclusive-identity-of-12-detained-nanle.html).

Nine believers remain in detention. Three of those believers are missing and assumed to be held in a black jail. Of the nine, only Zhang Shaojie’s trial has begun (see http://www.chinaaid.org/2014/02/black-jail-exposed-in-nanle-county.html, http://www.chinaaid.org/2014/02/three-nanle-county-christian-confirmed.html and http://www.chinaaid.org/2014/05/henan-pastors-trial-resumes-with-little.html).

Since November, authorities have blocked church members from gathering to worship at the church, claiming that the building is unsafe (see http://www.chinaaid.org/2013/12/nanle-county-christian-church-spends.html and http://www.chinaaid.org/2014/01/believers-in-henan-still-barred-from.html).


China Aid Contacts
Rachel Ritchie, English Media Director
Cell: (432) 553-1080 | Office: 1+ (888) 889-7757 | Other: (432) 689-6985
Website: www.chinaaid.org