China Relentless in Persecution of House Churches [Excerpts]
A recent spate of attacks against Christians and house churches in China underlines the country's relentless habit of persecuting Christians, even at the cost of its own reputation in the international community.
On Aug. 14, a number of Christians in Lingao town, Lincheng county, Hainan Province, were violently beaten by urban management officers when they tried to prevent construction at a building site.
The Christians were looking forward to a church that was originally intended to be constructed at the site, but when local government secretly sold the site to developers, they were left floundering in the dark. As they protested the construction, the violence began and several children and elderly people were injured, with two women going into a coma as a result of the retaliation. When the Christians informed the police, they refused to address the attack.
Also on Aug. 13, Li Shuangping, leader of Linfen house church, was abducted and beaten by agents of the local government. Li was reportedly driving home when he was forced to stop because a young man, who appeared to be intoxicated, staggered into the path of his car. As soon as he stopped, a black sedan drove up next to him and three men got out of the car. Along with the "intoxicated" young man, the four of them dragged Li out of his car, forced him into the black sedan, blindfolded him and restrained him with a rope. As he was being beaten, they were launching all manner of threats against him and his family, asking whether he would like to die as a result of leading a house church. When the car finally stopped, he was thrown into a cornfield and left alone to find his way home.
On Aug. 3, in the wee hours of the morning, in Zhengzhou, capital of Henan Province, unknown vandals sealed off the entrance to the Sunzhuang Christian church with tons of dirt, rock and debris that was piled up at the doorway, forcing the church shut. It is suspected that AR1933 vehicles, owned by the Henan province, were used to transport the debris and cut off access to the church. This was not the first time it has happened.
Despite receiving official recognition by the Three-Self Patriotic Movement when it gained approval to build a new church building, local government has made every effort to displace the Christians from the village, without the villagers' consent or any legal permits. As demolition efforts began, the church has faced numerous setbacks, including loss of power and water, without any meaningful intervention from local authorities.
Christians are continually facing persecution, while local authorities remain passive, indifferent and even culpable at times. As Ryan Morgan, International Christian Concern's regional manager for China, said, "Across China, Christians continue to face harassment, intimidation, assault and even abduction at the hands of local authorities who seem to have little concern of suffering consequences for their actions."