The Guangdong-based house church ministers have been called in for questioning and threatened for putting their names on the document.
On August 30, house church pastors, ministers, and elders signed a joint statement denouncing the Chinese government’s persecution of Christianity and underground churches. As of November 3, the statement had 456 signatures.
Bitter Winter has received reports that some of these signatories in southern province of Guangdong are now being harassed for putting their name on the statement.
On September 7, Jiang Jianping, a minister at the Olive Tree Church in the city of Foshan was summoned by his area’s local Religious Affairs Bureau. He was threatened for signing the document and told that not following the Party line on religious faith would get him in trouble. Pastor Jiang was previously arrested in 2016 for preaching.
A week later, another minister from the same church, Cai Jingliang, was threatened too. The chief of the local police in Guicheng subdistrict told him that signing such documents was seen by the government as a severe violation and could lead to arrest. Pastor Cai was, however, least bothered and said that he knew he would be arrested even if he hadn’t signed the document. He reiterated his freedom to believe in God and refused to renounce the faith.
As Bitter Winter reported earlier, on September 2, pastor Huang Xiaoning from the Bible Reformed Church in the province’s capital Guangzhou was also apprehended by the police after signing the statement, and the church was sealed off.
Reported by Lin Yijiang