After the August 19 raid, the leaders of Linfen’s Covenant House Church were placed under arrest on September 30.
by Tao Niu
On September 30, 2022, Pastor Li Jie and Elder Han Xiaodong of the Covenant Home Church in Linfen, Shanxi province, were formally arrested. They remain in the detention center of Yaodu district, Linfen city, waiting for trial.
Bitter Winter had reported in 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 and his wife Li Shanshan, and Elder Han Xiaodong were detained and later placed under residential surveillance. Bibles, Christian books, and church documents were confiscated.
Since August 19, devotees have been pressured to sign statements renouncing their membership in the Covenant Home Church, and to testify that Li and Han had obtained donations through fraud.
The attack against the Covenant Home Church in Linfen is part of a nation-wide campaign targeting house churches, i.e., independent Protestant churches that refuse to join the government-controlled Three-Self Church. President Xi Jinping personally asked to be less tolerant of house churches at the National Conference on Work Related to Religious Affairs of December 2021, insisting that they should join the Three-Self Church or disband.
Believers who talked to Bitter Winter expressed the opinion that the crackdown on house churches is intensifying in the weeks leading to the 20th Congress of the Chinese Communist Party, which will open on October 16.