A state-sanctioned Protestant church in Zhejiang Province has been harassed on many occasions, once the authorities sent 500 people to demolish its cross.
In February 2016, local government officials came to the church and declared that they have an official document demanding to remove its cross; those who resisted would be severely punished. The church’s preacher, Zheng Mingliang (pseudonym), did not comply, and the congregation took turns in guarding the cross every day. Over the following month, government officials came to the church four times seeking to dismantle the cross, but each time their attempts were unsuccessful.
At midnight of March 19, 500 police officers from Pingyang county were deployed: some blocked all the intersections near the church, while others rushed into the church and locked the believers who were guarding it in separate rooms. Members of the congregation watched hopelessly as the cross was demolished.
The persecutions did not stop, and at noon on March 23, 2017, the government sent more than ten people to install three monitors next to the podium and the entrance of the church. The churchgoers knew from their experience that as soon as the monitors were connected, the preacher’s sermon would be entirely controlled by the Communist Party. Previously, a preacher at the church had been monitored and recorded and later arrested because the content of his sermons failed to comply with the CCP’s requirements.
Several believers came forward to stop the monitoring equipment from being installed to protect the preacher. In the process, a 65-year-old worshiper was ruthlessly pushed to the ground and broke her rib. She was treated for over a month at Pingyang County People’s Hospital, for which she spent nearly 20,000 yuan in medical expenses.
In the summer of 2017, local government officials came to the church and demanded that preacher Zheng Mingliang shut down the Sunday school, but were opposed. Subsequently, the authorities deployed people to monitor Zheng Mingliang and threatened to revoke his preaching license and prohibit him from giving sermons. They repeatedly have sent other pastors to the church to preach
Reported by Lin Yijiang
Lin Yijiang (uses pseudonyms for security reasons), whose ancestral hometown is Hangzhou, Zhejiang, lived in Spain with his family at a young age. His father is a human rights activist. Under his father’s influence, Lin Yijiang also began actively following human rights conditions in countries around the world, especially China’s harsh persecution of human rights. In 2016, in order to gain a deeper understanding of the persecuted groups in China, Lin returned to his hometown and became a freelance journalist, giving a voice to persecuted groups. He joined Bitter Winter in 2018 and became a special correspondent covering Zhejiang Province, Jiangxi Province, and some other regions.