Update: Chinese authorities step up campaign against Christians
November 27, 2009
(christiansunite.com) - The central government in China has reportedly intensified its campaign against Christian activity in the country, targeting both registered and unregistered churches.
On November 2, Judge Sun of the Linfen Intermediate Court instructed the families of the five remaining imprisoned leaders and pastors of the Linfen-Fushan Church in Shanxi province to hire lawyers to defend them in an immediate trial. Even though the believers have been detained for over 50 days, their families had not received prior warning or notification of arrest. One of the imprisoned leaders, Pastor Yang Rongli, has been transferred to the Taiyuan City Detention Center, a high-security prison directly controlled by the central government. Local sources have expressed particular concern for her safety.
On the evening of November 12, Public Security officials sealed the doors and locked down the Wanbang Missionary Church in Shanghai, which was earlier banned by authorities on November 2. While officials were barring the church entrance, believers banded together to protect the associate pastor as he escaped into the crowd. Two days earlier, a formal notice of abolishment was issued to the senior pastor of the church.
The seven pastors also received notices stating that they are "self-claimed illegal preachers" and ordering them to cease their "illegal religious activities." Many of the 2000 members of the church have been severely questioned and threatened in recent weeks by members of multiple agencies. The senior pastor's cell phone number has been terminated and the church's website forcibly shut down.
Pray that the detained Christians from the Linfen-Fushan church will be found innocent and be released. Ask God to protect and encourage Pastor Yang Rongli. Pray for strength and endurance for the members of the Wanbang Missionary Church. Pray that religious freedom will be respected by Chinese authorities.