A house church in Jilin was destroyed in mid-July, and over 200 believers were arrested; now, they will lose their home, because the local authorities have ordered to demolish their 8-story residential building.
The two-story house church in the Ningjiang district of Songyuan city, Jilin was demolished using heavy machinery in the morning of July 14. Most of the building ruins were removed, and a bulldozer was left to smooth over the surface.
The night before, the local government dispatched nearly 60 vehicles with over 100 individuals from various law enforcement and city management departments as well as fire and medical brigades to the adjoining residential building for the church members. The “Prayer Mountain” – as the residents call it – was raided in the middle of the night, the police taking all of the money and assets they found in the rooms of 330 of its residents; the police also confiscated a number of their cars.
According to local villagers, the police apprehended all 330 church members who lived in the “Prayer Mountain” who were later sent to Shanyou middle school in Songyuan city for forced “re-education;” the principle church co-workers have been sent to the Shanyou detention center. The local authorities claim to have arrested only 220.
One of the arrested Christians, Jiang, who was later released, said that the authorities had decided to demolish the residential building by using explosives because it was too tall, and, in the event of an earthquake, it would be a life-threatening liability. Though, experts previously have given the building an excellent seismic rating.
Residences like the “Prayer Mountain” are more commonly found in Korea and mostly belong to churches or Christian communities, set up for more efficient worship. There are 200 – 300 “Prayer Mountains” in Korea, and they have become prevalent in Northeast China due to the influx of Korean missionaries.
Reported by Wu Haiping
The scene of the demolition of the Wang Tofu Shop congregation site: