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Guangdong house church persecuted in authorities' attempt to suppress Eastern Lightning following Shandong attack

Thursday, June 19, 2014

China Aid Association

(Yangjiang, Guangdong—June 19, 2014) A house church in China’s southern Guangdong province received an eviction notice from the landlord in early June, despite being in the middle of a three-year lease; the landlord told the believers that he was pressured by the government to serve the notice.

Local believers said that Christians across China have begun to worry that the government will escalate their persecution of house churches through the front of combating cult organizations after an incident in which members of the Eastern Lightning beat a woman to death in late May in China’s coastal Shandong.

On May 28, two men and four women were asking fellow diners in McDonald’s in Zhaoyuan, Shandong, for their phone numbers. When one woman refused to give the group her phone number, they began beating her until she died of her injuries. According to the local public security bureau’s official Weibo account, the six assailants are suspected of being members of the Eastern Lightning cult. Officials believe the group intended to use the phone number as a way to increase their ranks.

Meanwhile, authorities in multiple provinces have increased their persecution of heretical groups, including the release of a list of 14 cult organizations. The publication listed Eastern Lightning, also known as the Church of the Almighty God, but did not include Falun Gong, which the Chinese government commonly deems to be a cult organization.

Upon little success suppressing or finding the organizations listed in the publication, some local governments have turned their attention to house churches, such as in Yangjiang. “They say our religion is illegal, and the police demanded that the landlord terminate our lease agreement because of the Eastern Lightning,” one Christian said.

“There are many sects of religion here in our area,” another believer said. “They can’t catch anybody so they focus on us and suppress the house churches in the name of attacking the Eastern Lightning.” The woman told China Aid that the church, which consists of about 80 members, still have 1-1/2 years left in a three-year lease agreement when the landlord felt forced to terminate the lease. The Church has been given until the end of June to move out of the building.

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