Tuesday, May 5, 2020

China: Violent Police Raid on House Church

By Timothy Gamble

 5-5-2020 - The Chinese government continues its crackdown on Christianity. In the most recent incident, which ocurred on Sunday, May 3, police and local authorities violently raided a house church in Xiamen, in Fujian province, during the worship service.

Several Church members were injured during the process as police wrestled them to the ground and dragged them across the floor. Injuries included cracked ribs and multiple contusions to heads, arms, and chests. 

At 9:00 am, dozens of police officers and other government officials raided Xingguang Church, as the members sang worship songs. Without any legal documentation, the authorities disrupted the service, calling the gathering “illegal.”

Several male church members blocked the entrance, but were only able to resist for a short period of time. It did not take long for the authorities to rush in through the door, yell at the members, while demanding them to stop recording with their cell phones.

Seeing the resistance, the police dragged several members out of the door and snatched their cell phones. In a video (link is to the video on Facebook) shared by preacher Yang Xibo from Xunsiding Church, the police can be seen pressing members’ heads down to the ground. Others yelled, “Stop filming!” to church members and neighbors who were recording the violent intrusion.

In another video (link is to the video on Twitter) shared by the Chinese Christian Fellowship of Righteousness, a church member accused, “You have entered my house, you grab our cell phones, you beat up people, you intrude violently. This is not allowed!” Xingguang Church meets at a residence, since they have refused to join the state-vetted Three-self Church.

China, which remains under strict communist control despite opening up to capitalism in recent decades,  has a population of over 1.4 billion people. The Communist Party in China, which is officially atheist, has approximately 70 million members. However, the strong growth of evangelical Christianity in China has resulted in slightly over 100 million Chinese Christians. The Chinese Christian population consists of approximately 75 million Evangelicals and 27 million Catholics. Also, the Chinese Orthodox Church, an autonomous Eastern Orthodox church, has about 15,000 members.

This situation of Christians outnumbering official Communist Party members is at least partially behind government crackdowns on Christianity over the last several years, as they seek to exercise control over Christianity in China. Communist governments, and all other collectivist regimes, demand that the citizen's top loyalty be to the State, not to God, the Church, or even the family. The State essentially sets itself up as God, and hates competition for that slot.

Sources: 1) press release by International Christian Concern dated 5-4-2020; 2) additional information from China Aid, via their website; 3) statistics from the China entry of Pray for the World, a resource from Operation World, and 4) original analysisby Timothy Gamble.

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