China’s clampdown on Christians continues, as the authorities step up enforcement of tough new anti-religious regulations. Please sign Release’s online petition
Release partner China Aid reports that police in Sichuan arrested more than 20 Christians who were sharing their faith on the streets. The Christians were members of the Early Rain Covenant Church in Chengdu.
Police took more than 20 Christians into custody at two police stations – but that didn’t stop them from speaking about Jesus.
The believers took turns sharing their faith while at the station, while fellow church members prayed they would ‘be filled with the power of joy, peace, and grace.’
The pastor of Early Rain Covenant Church, Wang Yi, posted a message on social media, saying, ‘The Gospel has been proclaimed. We gave out all the leaflets. Those brothers and sisters who were waiting at the police station brought more and distributed them all.
‘We encountered another police station and got to know a group of people who believe in Christ. May the Lord’s love be with these law enforcement officers.’
When the Christians were released, more than 100 fellow church attendees greeted them, and they walked home together.
Meanwhile in Zhanjiang, Guangdong, government officials have closed a church and forbidden the landlord from renting it out for worship.
Members of Renew Church were studying the Bible when local officials broke in and ordered them to stop. The Religious Affairs Bureau told them to cancel all church events and took the names and phone numbers of every Christian present.
Another congregation in Anhui was made to sign a pledge that ‘elementary schoolers and middle schoolers should not participate in [church] service activities’, and ‘non-local Christians should not preach at this venue’. They were also required to agree that ‘the number of Christians should be controlled’.
Churches across China are facing increased persecution since the tough new religious regulations came into force this year.
Release International has launched a petition calling on China to repeal its new religious law, which is in violation of the country’s own constitution.
‘We, the undersigned, wish to express our deep concern at the growing and sustained campaign of repression being waged by government officials against the Christian church in a number of provinces in China under regulations introduced in February 2018.
‘As you will be aware churches have been destroyed or seen their crosses torn down, pastors arrested and imprisoned and those trying to represent them in the courts detained and even tortured.
‘As fellow Christians in the UK we do not understand why the state is so fearful of believers that it has to monitor and imprison them, when a nation as developed as China in the 21st century is strong enough to allow those with differing beliefs to exist side by side.
‘We respectfully call on your Government to rethink and repeal its new religious ordinance, which is even in violation of PRC’s own Constitution. It targets citizens who want nothing more than to live out their faith in peace, and lawyers who desire only to uphold the rule of law. Both groups want the best for their nation and pose no threat to the Government, the state or the people of China.’
You can sign the petition online here