Anhui officers threaten house church’s Christmas celebration, raid another church’s elder’s home

China Aid

By Rachel Ritchie
(Bozhou, Anhui—Jan. 8, 2015) Authorities in China’s coastal Anhui province threatened one house church’s Christmas celebration but backed off after church leaders said they would notify the media. Later, in January, police in another part of Anhui, raided a Christian’s home without following legal procedures.

A house church in Mingguang, part of Bozhou, was told by the Mingguang Public Security Bureau that they would not be allowed to celebrate Christmas or sing hymns, according to Zhang Mingxuan, the president of the Chinese House Church Alliance.

Worshippers from the church told Zhang that after they threatened to expose the restriction to the media, the officials’ attitudes were less harsh, and they allowed the Christians to proceed with their Christmas plans.

“In the past few years, our church has been suppressed by the government on a continuous basis,” Pastor Lu, the house church’s leader, said. “Our former Party Secretary told the public security bureau leaders to harass us. Yet, all the harassment has not reduced the number of our worshippers. Instead, the number of church members has increased.”

More recently, on Monday, Domestic Security Protection Squad (DSPS) officers from the Bozhou Municipal Public Security Bureau raided the home of Liu Yongju, an elder at a house church in Liuji township, Bozhou.

“Four DSPS officers from the public security bureau came to my home at 4 p.m. on Monday,” Liu said. “After they entered the home, they turned everything over, looking for what they wanted. They confiscated one USB drive.”

“[They searched my home for] half an hour. When they were there, I was not at home. Only my family members were there. The [officers] didn’t show any identification papers… They simply said they were doing some investigating, and they asked my family some questions. They didn’t leave any receipts [of what they had confiscated],” Liu said.

“I will surely go the DSPS to ask them what law I have violated,” the church elder added.

The house church Liu is part of is small and gathers at different locations every week. The church hasn’t had trouble with the authorities in the past, he said.

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