Non-Christian seized by police for helping Early Rain Covenant Church members

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Early Rain Covenant Church Pastor
Wang Yi outside a U.S. congressional
office building during a 2006
trip to Washington, D.C.
(Photo: ChinaAid)

(Panzhihua, Sichuan—April 11, 2019) Authorities in China’s southwestern Sichuan province targeted a non-Christian friend of Early Rain Covenant Church members, closing her store and asking that she no longer host her friends who attend the church.

When Shu Qiong, a woman lives in Panzhihua, Sichuan, and does not follow Christianity, heard of the persecution suffered by families who attend Early Rain Covenant Church in Chengdu, she sent loquats to several the wives of imprisoned church leaders Su Bingsen, Tan Defu, and Ge Yingfeng, among others.

Su’s wife said, “She not only mailed loquats to us; she also prepared [a barbeque] for us and enthusiastically invited some of us persecuted Christians to go to Panzhihua and spend a weekend basking in the sun and roasting [food].”

On the afternoon of April 2, however, Panzhihua’s police force seized Shu and ordered her not to host Early Rain Covenant Church’s members or provide accommodation to them, but she refused to follow their request.

“Shu Qiong gave the police officers ideas,” Su’s wife said. “[She suggested] either the Chengdu police should go to the train station to intercept us, or the police should detain her, and the barbeque would immediately fall through. However, the police officers felt those sorts of action violated the ethics of their profession and were unable to accept [her suggestions].”

The standoff between Shu and the officials continued until midnight.

While she was at the station, however, government agents came by her home and asked her husband to spy on her, promising rewards for him should he report any information.

On April 4, government officials suddenly closed a store ran by Shu in a local mall and confiscated high-quality cups and woks.

Early Rain Covenant Church came under intense scrutiny in 2018, culminating in a mass crackdown on the church on Dec. 9. Overnight, nearly 100 of the church’s members were taken into custody, and more than 150 church members were put behind bars within a week’s time. Since then, some have been released, and the church now has 28 people under criminal detention. Of those 28, 16 have been bailed out, and 12 are still in custody.

The church’s pastor, Wang Yi, and his wife, Jiang Rong, both received “inciting subversion of state power” charges and have gone missing. Su, Tan, and Ge, along with church elder Li Yingqiang, are being held on provoking troubles and illegal business operations charges.

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