Source: Direct Reports from China
Date: June 24, 2018
In April 2018, of a group of Siping Public Security Bureau officers surrounded the meeting place of a house church in the town of Shijiabu, Lishu County, Siping city in Jilin Province. Without providing any documents, the officers searched the place and checked the pockets of five people present on-site. Having not found anything to implicate the believers with, one officer yelled that believing in God was illegal and that it was disrupting social order and took the five people to the Shijiabu police station.
In the station’s interrogation room, the officers inquired the arrested who their leader was and wanted to know the identities of other church members. The believers did not reveal any information, so the officers noted down their identify information, took their photographs, and had them sign some documents. One of the policemen threatened, “The country determined that you believe in a xie jiao organization. If you continue to believe in it, you’ll be sentenced!” The arrested believers were sent to the Siping detention center and were held there for 15 days for “disrupting social order.”
The police warned the believers upon their release: “You are no longer permitted to believe in God, and you especially cannot preach the Gospel!” They continue to be under constant strict police surveillance since their release and, therefore, cannot have organized meetings.
Xie jiao under Chinese law are these movements whose teachings are listed by the government as “heterodox” in a periodically updated list. However, it happens often that the laws against xie jiao are used to persecute Christians who in fact do not belong to a movement listed as a xie jiao. In this case, the house church targeted was in fact not listed as a xie jiao.