Source: Direct Reports from China
Date: May 11, 2018
Bitter Winter has learned that the Chinese Communist Party police shut down an “underground” Catholic church in Zhengzhou as part of an effort to enforce the new Chinese regulations on religion. From April 1 to 21, the police raided this church a dozen times hoping to capture the priest and nuns. They also displayed banners about the crackdown on religious belief around the church.
According to local sources, at about 7 a.m. on April 1, six policemen from Huiguo police station raided this church intending to arrest the priest. The priest and the nuns had gotten the news beforehand and had successfully escaped. At about 9 a.m. that morning, about ten police cars arrived at the church. Dozens of police officers broke into the church and confiscated 6 to 7 big bundles of religious books, as well as tables, chairs, benches, books, computers, stereo equipment, and the priest’s bed. On the same day, the power supply for the church was cut off, the police locked it down and sealed it off.
Over the next two days, the policemen raided the church several times again, hoping to capture the priest but failed. Afterward, the police threatened the onlookers by saying: “From now on, nobody is allowed on this ground.”
In the afternoon of April 21, policemen from Huiguo police station entered the sealed-off church and confiscated the remaining items (tables, chairs, beds, etc.). They posted a notice about the methods of reporting illegal religious activities in Huiguo town on the gate of the church encouraging the local residents to report on church personnel.
It has also been reported that, in early April, the Deputy Party Secretary of Zhengzhou came to Huiguo town to carry out the crackdown and ordered the policemen to arrest local Christians.
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Bitter Winter plans to report on how religions are allowed, or not allowed, to operate in China and how some are severely persecuted after they are labeled as “xie jiao,” or heterodox teachings. We plan to publish news difficult to find elsewhere, analyses, and debates.
Placed under the editorship of Massimo Introvigne, one of the most well-known scholars of religion internationally, “Bitter Winter” is a cooperative enterprise by scholars, human rights activists, and members of religious organizations persecuted in China (some of them have elected, for obvious reasons, to remain anonymous).