A government-controlled Three-Self church was closed for a month after its pastor was arrested, fined, and placed under surveillance by the authorities for protecting a South Korean preacher.
The China Protestant Three-Self Patriotic Movement unifies all Protestants loyal to the Chinese Communist Party. The Church is characterized by the “three selves,” i.e., “self-administration, self-support, and self-propagation,” meaning that no help should be received from foreign missionaries and international bodies. As soon as anyone violates this rule, they face the danger of arrest; foreigners are deported to their home country and are forbidden from entering China again.
As per an informed source, in the spring of 2016, a Three-Self church in Chengyang district of Qingdao city was holding a revival meeting and invited a South Korean preacher to give a sermon. Someone reported this to the authorities, and officials from the municipal National Security Brigade, the Religious Affairs Bureau, and the United Front Work Department came to the church intending to arrest the guest preacher. They also threatened to arrest members of the congregation if they disobeyed them.
The church pastor was arrested for protecting the South Korean preacher and detained for several days. He was later fined 5,000 RMB (about 720 USD), and the church was sealed off by the authorities for one month.
Following the pastor’s release, the police monitored his mobile phone and frequently sent him harassing and threatening messages on social media platform WeChat, such as “Stay put and don’t go anywhere. We always know where you are.” Fearing the risk of being arrested, the pastor and his wife had to leave their home and go into hiding.
Reported by Jiang Tao