A group of intimidating “thugs” have been hired by China’s communist government to intimidate local Christians. The group appeared outside Zion Church, the largest house church in Beijing, and proceeded to accuse believers of being part of a “cult.”
Persecution charity International Christian Concern reported that the gang turned up Zion’s Yizhuang campus on July 5 and proceeded to block members from accessing the third floor, where a worship service was being held.
“The latest crackdown against house churches in China is reflective of President Xi [Jinping]’s disregard for religious freedom. China is experiencing the worst Christian persecution since Mao Zedong’s Cultural Revolution,” said Gina Goh, ICC’s regional manager.
“The U.S. and international community should not turn a blind eye to the injustices committed against Chinese Christians,” Goh added. “Let us continue to pray for strength and wisdom for the Church in China as they navigate through intensified oppression.”
More from International Christian Concern’s detailed report:
“Six individuals guarded the entrance to the church and prevented church members from attempting to unlock the government-imposed padlocks. They also prevented the church administrator from entering the church to retrieve computers and church documents.
Yizhuang campus recently prepaid the rent for another quarter, with its lease up for renewal in 2020, yet churchgoers were barred from worshipping in their own church.”
The enormous house church boasts around 1,500 members over eight separate campuses. House churches have become an integral part of the modern-day revival that has seen millions come to faith in the historically atheist Asian nation. Christians have, however, come under increased persecution from the ruling communist party, which has laid out strict requirements for its state-sanctioned houses of worship.
In addition to the campaign of intimidation launched by the staunchly atheistic government, church officials have also been asked to install surveillance cameras inside and outside of their buildings, which has resulted in believers being spied on and questioned.
Zion Church’s pastor, Guo Xijun, vehemently opposed the installation of cameras.
“This is an extremist act by authorities who do not control their power. The rationale is to intimidate and dominate. Some Christians said that we need neither worry nor fear. True, we fear nothing because we have already committed our lives to the Lord,” Guo said after the order was made, as reported by China Aid.
“Nevertheless, if we obey the notorious evil without thinking and seeking God’s wisdom, it would be dangerous and irresponsible,” he noted.
Chinese house churches continue to risk being wiped off the map as they resist government censorship and endeavor to faithfully preach the gospel. And their persistence is working. Many believe that the vast nation will boast the world’s largest population of Christians by the year 2030.
According to The Beijinger, there are roughly 70 million practicing Christians in China today, which accounts for 5 percent of the total population.
Please keep our Chinese brothers and sisters in your prayers.
(H/T: China Aid)