Bitter Winter reported earlier about the harassment from authorities that the House of Eternal Blessing in Fujian and the House of David Church in Guangdong have been suffering in the past few months. Since then, new information has emerged about the predicament of these two house churches.
TheHouse of Eternal Blessing, a meeting place of the Eternal Life Christian Church in Minhou county of Fuzhou, the capital of the southeastern province of Fujian, has been repeatedly attacked by the local authorities, seeking to close it down because the government did not approve it. On October 21, police officers raided the church and ordered its congregation to cease gatherings.
According to the new information, on the morning of October 27, the church’s water and electricity supply was cut off under the orders of the local Ethnic and Religious Affairs Bureau. The director of the Bureau said that the church would be closed down because it was carrying out “illegal religious activities.”
Members of the congregation informed Bitter Winter that the authorities had instructed the cleaning staff and security personnel of the property where the House of Eternal Blessing is located to monitor the believers and report on their activities. Additionally, plainclothes police officers conduct close surveillance of the meeting place. When holding gatherings, the church now arranges for some congregants to stand guard – as soon as they notice police officers, the believers leave immediately.
The House of David Church in Dongguan city of Guangdong Province in southeast China, has also been raided, fined, and consequently closed down in September this year. Pastor Wang and eight believers were taken to the local police station for interrogation.
One of the arrested believers disclosed now that before all nine of them had been released, the police installed surveillance equipment on their mobile phones.
Pastor Wang was kept in detention for ten days. Some days after her release, on the evening of September 27, more than ten police officers broke into her home and confiscated her permit for traveling to Hong Kong and Macau, her identification card, and passport, preventing her from leaving the country. Despite the pressure from the authorities exerted on Pastor Wang, she is committed to continuing holding gatherings for her congregation. Since the meeting venue has been closed down, believers intend to meet in other places to worship.
Other believers mentioned that they take special precautions against the surveillance and tracking by the police. For example, they remove SIM cards from their mobile phones before going to church, to avoid being monitored and positioned.
According to the latest reports, a house church in Liaoning Province’s Tieling city was closed down on October 19 on the grounds that it did not have a permit for holding religious gatherings.
Reported by Lin Yijiang