The Chinese regime spares no effort in assaulting places of worship that are not under its control to force them into joining the official Three-Self Church.
by An Xin
Religious groups in China are forced to submit to the CCP and organize activities following the Party’s policies; otherwise, they will be identified as unlawful and targeted for eradication.
On October 16, more than 20 government officials from the Cangshan district in Fuzhou, the capital of the southeastern province of Fujian, force-entered the Kangshanli meeting venue, removing the lock with an electric saw. They then proceeded to take down all Christian symbols inside, including the cross and religious couplets.
To stop believers from meeting again, government officials changed the lock of the entrance door. They posted a notice issued by the Ethnic and Religious Affairs Bureau, banning the meeting venue because it was “illegal.”
According to members of the congregation, their place of worship has been subjected to the regime’s frequent harassment since its establishment 15 years ago for refusing to join the Three-Self Church. Authorities even deployed law enforcement officers to intimidate believers into stopping attending religious activities using various pretexts, such as “the building has security problems” or “believers’ electric vehicles are blocking driveways,” and alike.
Video: Police officers were stationed outside the meeting venue.
“The Three-Self Church is controlled by the government, while our faith is practiced according to God’s will. Joining the Three-Self Church means what we believe in is not God anymore,” a church co-worker explained the reasons for refusing to join the official church.
In August, a house church meeting venue was taken over by the state in Wuhan, the capital of Hubei Province in central China. One of its co-workers told Bitter Winter that churches would be compelled to put up portraits of Xi Jinping and their preachers forced to attend CCP-organized political courses once they join the Three-Self Church. He added that giving sermons, primarily based on the core socialist values, as demanded by the atheist regime, was absolutely unacceptable.
Another house church meeting venue in the Wuchang district of Wuhan was looted and destroyed in late March. According to a congregation member, the place was ransacked by the police: all glass items were broken, wires cut, the ceiling pitted, signboards smashed. Valuables, such as air conditioners and projectors, were taken away.
The same fate fell on the River of Life Homeland Church (shengminghe jiayuan jiaohui, 生命河家園教會) in Qingyang district of Sichuan Province’s capital city of Chengdu. In June, all the church’s windows, ceilings, and shutters were destroyed, and all religious symbols removed, causing the venue financial losses of over 100,000 RMB (about $ 14,300).
Some seizure operations also result in arrests of believers. On June 23, more than 20 police officers, carrying iron rods and electric batons, burst into a basement that belongs to a preacher in Nujiang prefecture’s Fugong county in southwestern China’s Yunnan Province. Claiming that it is illegal to operate private meeting venues, the officers confiscated all Bibles, hymn books, and other items on the premises; they also arrested two preachers and three church co-workers for holding “illegal religious activities.” Three of them remained in custody for more than 20 days. The same day, the police also raided three other meeting venues run by the church and took away eight deacons.