Despite trying to keep low profile, unnamed 'Little Flock' house church in Guangzhou raided

Monday, June 29, 2015

The unnamed Little Flock church was
raided on May 24, 2015, the same day
as Guangfu House Church. The seal in
this photo is on Guangfu House 
Church’s doors.
(Photo: China Aid)
China Aid

(Guangzhou, Guangdong—June 29, 2015) Despite trying to keep a low profile by going without a name, a small house church that traces its roots back to famed Chinese church leader Watchman Nee’s Little Flock has been raided and ordered to stop meeting.

The May 24 raid in the Baiyun District of the southern city of Guangzhou only recently came to light when Ma Chao, leader of the Guangfu House Church, told China Aid’s special correspondent in Hong Kong, Qiao Nong, that the 100-plus police officers and government officials who raided Guangfu House Church on May 24 were also in the building to raid the other church, which was meeting on the first floor.

“Unlike us, they did not give their church a name. It is only a church meeting place,” Ma explained. “We are on the second floor; they are one the first floor.”

He said that on the day of the raid, “it seemed strange to us that so many police came that day. Now I understand that it wasn’t just us they were coming to mess with. Some came to where we were and the others went to their place. They were here to persecute two churches.”

Despite drawing more worshippers to its Sunday services, the other church did not try to fight the May 24 government order to stop meeting and has simply disbanded, unlike the Guangfu House Church, which has hired a lawyer and is suing the local religious affairs bureau.

“I ran into them this morning and they said, ‘Oh, you can still come here for church?’ I said yes. They said, ‘police came to us and won’t let us meet.’ They said they didn’t insist and just disbanded,” Ma said, adding that the church made no attempt to defend its right to freedom of religious belief. It regularly draws about 150 people to its Sunday worship services, while attendance at Guangfu House Church the day of the raid was only 20 Christians.

The church is part of Watchman Nee’s Little Flock movement, one of the early 20th century’s fastest-growing native Protestant movements in mainland China. Both churches had purchased space in the building in Baiyun District’s Chunting Garden to serve as their church meeting site.

The unnamed Little Flock church is not the only one that has bowed to government pressure and stopped meeting. Other churches in Guangzhou and Shenzhen have also given in to government pressure after church members were summoned for police questioning.

Ma said that in one case, a church in Guangzhou had paid 80,000 Yuan (U.S. $12,877) to rent a church meeting site but never got to hold a single meeting there before the local authorities told them to move.

Religious persecution has been increasing in Guangdong province. Including the Little Flock church and Guangfu House Church, Royal Victory Church was forcibly evicted, a rehabilitation facility was prohibited from holding small Christian services and another church in Haidu District, Guangzhou was warned not to hold worship services.

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Rachel Ritchie, English Media Director
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