Earlier this month, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), police and religious bureau officials raided a church and forced a pastor and elder to stop preaching.
The incident, which happened at Shenzhen Trinity Gospel Harvest Church in Shenzhen city on July 11, took place during a Zoom church service. A church member, who fled to America in April, was present during the virtual service as authorities surrounded the church building.
According to ChinaAid, the church had already faced an incursion in April after authorities raided the church during a Sunday service without proof of legal documents. At that time, the police escorted Pastor Mao Zhibin, Pastor Cao Yuan, Elder Chu and seven other Christians to the police station.
“Today, joint force officials from the religious affairs bureau, personnel from the public security department and authorities from the national security agency banned our church,” Pastor Mao said in a statement. following the incident.
He noted that the church had not faced “a situation as serious as this” since its founding four years ago. Many CCP dissidents have since joined the young church as it advocates for justice in China.
Recently, Pastor Wang Yi’s pastor, Pastor Mao, and Elder Shen Ling signed “A Joint Statement of Pastors: A Statement for the Good of the Christian Faith.” The statement was created by Pastor Wang Yi, the founder of the Early Rain Covenant Church.
The recent church raid comes after the CCP’s 100th anniversary, which led to the arrest of hundreds of Christians and the forced inclusion of parts of President Xi Jinping’s centenary celebration speech in pastors’ sermons.
In May, the Chinese government also deleted Christian accounts on Chinese social media platform WeChat. Additionally, Bible apps on the Chinese App Store have been removed.
According to Open Doors USA’s 2021 Global Watchlist, China is ranked 17th on its list of countries where Christians face the most persecution.
Photo credit: ©Getty Images/Igor Ilnitckii
Milton Quintanilla is a freelance writer. He is also the co-hosts of the For Your Soul podcast, which seeks to equip the church with biblical truth and sound doctrine. Visit his blog Blessed Are The Forgiven.