Communist Party authorities closed down a house church in Hebei Province accusing it of “collusion with South Korean missionaries.
Mr. Wang Zhibin (pseudonym) is a house church pastor from Hebei Province’s Cangzhou city. Forty years ago, Pastor Wang went to South Korea to study theology where he received a pastoral certificate. Between 2009 and 2011, he invited South Korean pastors Kang and Park several times to attend church gatherings and give sermons.
On November 14, 2014, Wang Zhibin was holding a gathering when over 30 personnel from Cangzhou city’s Religious Affairs Bureau, Public Security Bureau, and other departments broke into the meeting place. The director of the Religious Affairs Bureau stepped onto the podium and declared, “You’re colluding with foreign missionaries. This is an illegal gathering! The government orders your church to be shut down!” The director then instructed officers to dismantle the church’s cross. Wang Zhibin and six other church co-workers were detained and taken away.
Police officers raided the premises and confiscated two computers and religious books. They also took away a camera from a believer who was taking photos of the incident.
According to Pastor Wang, the church’s congregation had spent 30,000 RMB (approximately 4,000 USD) to rent a two-story building for their gatherings. To ease the financial burden on the church, he sublet the first-floor storefront room to other people for 18,000 RMB (about 2,500 USD) per year. The Religious Affairs Bureau not only put pressure on the landlord to revoke the lease but also incited the first-floor tenant to refuse to pay the rent, causing the church to lose more than 40,000 RMB (approximately 5,700 USD). As a result, the meeting place was forced to close.
As Bitter Winter reported earlier, authorities in China have been actively shutting down churches that have any affiliation with foreigner missionaries on the grounds of preventing “infiltration.” South Korea churches have become the principal target of the crackdown.
Reported by Feng Gang