Sichuan officials threaten house church, refuse documentation



Saturday, August 19, 2017

Members of Qiuyu Zhifu Church holding service
in an undated photo. (Photo: ChinaAid)
ChinaAid

(Chengdu, Sichuan—Aug. 19, 2017) Authorities in China’s southwestern Sichuan province issued verbal threats against the pastor of a house church, attempting to force him to close down his church’s meeting sites.

On the afternoon of Aug. 17, three officers from the Qingyang District Bureau of Ethnic and Religious Affairs visited Pastor Wang Yi of Qiuyu Zhifu Church and accused him and the church of organizing activities in unregistered government venues. Wang was then told to shut down all gatherings.

Wang requested official documents to back up the demands, the officials refused. In response to the threats, Wang claimed that a verbal notice had no legal basis, and that if the officials sent a written notice banning church gatherings, the church would file for administrative review.

According to a church member, Wang told the officers: “If you ask me to stop gathering, at least show me a written notice banning the activities, the prayer [groups], and worship. How can we stop? We will persist.”

Qiuyu Zhifu Church, a name that translates to Early Rain Reformed Church, was initially founded as a Christian group by Wang Yi and his wife, Jiang Rong, who were professors at Chengdu University’s School of Management. In May 2008, the group officially became Qiuyu Zhifu Church. On Sept. 3, 2008, the church filed an administrative charge against the local government, the first such case of a house church pressing charges against a religious affairs bureau.

ChinaAid reports on house churches and the persecution that they face in order to raise awareness of the situations of the underground church in China and expose abuses that the Chinese government commits against Christian citizens.


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