The Fuzhou Reformed House Church has been shut down by the authorities for refusing to join the Three-Self Church.
The Chinese government doesn’t seem to care a whit about the holidays its people celebrate, which is seemingly evident in its crackdown on the Fuzhou Reformed Church on Mother’s Day Sunday.
Video: The police seized all the Bibles and other books in the meeting venue
The police are driving away the believers
On May 12, more than 30 government personnel stood guard at a meeting venue in the Aviation Building in the Gulou district of Fuzhou city, in southeast Fujian Province, prohibiting Christians from entering. To top it all off, over 20 police officers stormed into the meeting venue and ordered all the believers in attendance to leave; they also seized over 200 books, including Bibles and hymnbooks. The police then forcibly took away the church’s elders and a few co-workers.
“I’m in charge of ideology. I specialize in making people believe in the Communist Party. You should change your boss [he meant God] and join the Communist Party,” an official from the Ethnic and Religious Affairs Bureau told Fuzhou congregants, as one of them reported to Bitter Winter. And: “This place has been shut down. If you still don’t leave, you will be arrested,” a police officer shouted at believers unwilling to leave.
After shuttering the church, police posted a notice at the site’s entrance, notifying believers of its closure.
According to a report by ChinaAid, at least 15 other house churches received the same treatment over Mother’s Day, including Xunsiding Church in Fujian’s Xiamen city, on China’s southeast coast. Some of the other closed-down religious houses included the Ren’ai Reformed Church in Guiyang city in southwest Guizhou Province; the Zhu’en Reformed Church in Chengdu city in southwest Sichuan Province; and Jinxiangtan Church in Xiangtan city in south-central Hunan Province. All are a part of a unified crackdown campaign by the CCP, which is targeting house churches nationwide. Some Christians told Bitter Winter they fear the large-scale crackdown is related to the approaching the sensitive June 4 period—the anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre.
As for the Fuzhou Reformed Church, it was first raided by local police in May 2005, shortly after it was founded, a church worker said. Dozens of fully armed police officers stormed into the meeting venue. The police officer in charge claimed the church had not registered to join the government-sanctioned Three-Self Church and therefore constituted an illegal gathering. The police then registered the ID information of all believers on the scene. After that, the church’s elders and believers were, one by one, taken to the police station and interrogated.
In the 14 years since the church’s founding, it has been subjected to constant harassment and attacks by the police. The church’s elders are under long-term surveillance by the police, and, furthermore, are restricted from—and threatened against—going out of town to do missionary work.
The authorities have also threatened to end believers’ employment as a means of pressuring them to join the Three-Self Church.