After the detention of four leaders, the authorities decided to liquidate the popular house church.
by Tao Niu
On November 16, 2022, the Civil Affairs Bureau of Yaodu District, Linfen City published an official notice banning Covenant Home Church and its school, citing unauthorized religious and educational activities.
Bitter Winter reported last August that on August 19, some 70 members of the Covenant Home Church were attending a parent-children camp that was raided by armed police. Some 170 police officers participated in the raid. Pastor Li Jie, his wife Li Shanshan, and Elder Han Xiaodong were detained and later placed under residential surveillance. Bibles, Christian books, and church documents were confiscated.
In October, we reported that on September 30, 2022, Pastor Li Jie and Elder Han Xiaodong had been formally arrested. Subsequently, Elder Wan Qiang was criminally detained on November 9. Sister Wu Tingting had been placed under residential surveillance on November 3; reportedly, she has now also been criminally detained although her family has not received an official confirmation.
The crackdown on the Covenant Home Church is part of a nationwide campaign against house churches. In accordance with instructions coming directly from Xi Jinping house churches, i.e., Protestant churches that operate independently from the government-controlled Three-Self Church, should gradually disappear.
House churches that refuse to submit and join the Three-Self Church should see their leaders prosecuted under various pretexts—heterodox teachings, fraud, unauthorized gatherings—and be finally liquidated. The plan is being faithfully implemented in most provinces.