Guangzhou’s Guangfu House Church clashes with commando police when Christians persist in holding Sunday worship service

Friday, June 5, 2015

Guangfu House Church members hold a Sunday worship service
 on May 31 in the hallway outside the sealed doors of their
 church meeting place. (Photo: China Aid)
China Aid

(Guangzhou, Guangdong—June 5, 2015) More than 20 Christians from the Guangfu House Church clashed with commando police officers when the believers insisted on holding a Sunday worship service despite the forced closure of their church last week by the local government.

No one was hurt in Sunday’s confrontation with more than 20 police outside the sealed doors of the Guangfu Church in the Baiyun District of the southern city of Guangzhou, according to China Aid’s special correspondent Qiao Nong in Hong Kong.

The police were led by officials from the local religious affairs bureau and the Communist Party secretary of the Yongping sub-district neighborhood committee management office.

The Christians had gathered in the hallway outside the church meeting site for their regular Sunday morning worship service, making good on their vow not to give up meeting together despite the government’s moves in recent weeks to close down the house church.

On May 26, the doors to the church meeting site, which had been purchased by church leader Ma Chao for church use, were sealed off by officials from the neighborhood committee. Earlier in May, local authorities had notified Ma that the Guangfu meetings were illegal and ordered them to stop.

The following day, Ma and a lawyer lodged a formal complaint with the Baiyun District Court.

On May 24, some 100 police officers and other uniformed men raided Guangfu’s Sunday worship service, physically restraining Ma and tearing the dress of a woman church member.

This past Sunday, May 31, the same police officer who had torn the woman’s dress was back and attempted to do the same thing again. Other police, including at least eight in helmets and uniforms with the words “Commando Unit” on them and wielding 40-cm. (16-inch) long police bully sticks, tried to snatch the Christians’ cellphones.

On Sunday “at 9 o’clock in the morning, we started our service, singing, and worshiping,” Ma said. “Right after the service, the neighborhood committee sub-district management office led by Zhou Xinliang came to our place and said we were not allowed to worship there. He said we were an illegal meeting and ordered the believers to attend services at the [government] church.”

On May 31, commando police in Guangzhou dispersed church
members who had gathered for Sunday worship outside the
sealed doors of their church meeting site. (Photo: China Aid)
Zhou was accompanied by the deputy chief of the local religious affairs bureau. The two told Ma that they were carrying out a “joint law enforcement” measure. When asked to show their identification, the religious affairs bureau deputy chief said he was new to the job and did not have his identification, adding that because it was a “joint law enforcement” action, no identification was required.

In addition to the Sunday clash, the church’s website has been blocked since May 27.

In an effort to draw more attention to their case, church leader Ma is giving out his phone number, +13178882221, and welcomes media inquiries.

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