Wang Zhiyong preaches to a congregation in this undated
picture. (Photo: ChinaAid)
(Guangzhou, Guangdong—May 5, 2017) Authorities in the capital city of China’s southern Guangdong province raided a biblical seminar on April 25 and evicted the Chinese American pastor hosting the event from China.
Wang Zhiyong, a Chinese American pastor who leads a Chinese church in Virginia, hosted the “Religious Reformation and Life Transition” seminar for more than 140 Chinese house church pastors at Huayuan Church in the Panyu district of Guangzhou, Guangdong. The seminar was meant to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the Reformation.
About an hour into the proceedings, however, a large group of officers from the local public security bureau, religious affairs bureau, and national security bureau broke into the meeting hall, declaring that the event was an unsanctioned, illegal gathering.
All of the attendees’ ID cards were registered by the authorities, and Wang was taken away and interrogated for 4 hours before being ordered to leave China immediately. Authorities also confiscated several hundred copies of the meeting’s printed materials.
After his release, Wang posted on his Facebook page, translated from Chinese: “Thank God. Arriving in Malaysia safely and embracing freedom again! Even as a Chinese (person) in China, I have no basic right to freedom of religion.”
Liu Yi, the pastor of the Chinese Christian Fellowship of Righteousness based in San Francisco Bay expressed his disapproval of the turn of events and said that his church would be praying for Wang.
“I saw Pastor Wang’s post online,” Liu said, translated from Chinese, “that the government officers confiscated the publicity materials (from the event) and interrogated him. This kind of thing, especially the suppression of house churches, is almost becoming a routine in Mainland China. The government does not even spare its own official Three-Self Churches, much less the small-scale house churches that refused to join the Three-Self or surrender to the religious bureau.”
Liu continued, saying that the recent cases of religious suppression sprouting up in different parts of China are indicative of an increasing intensity of government oppression. “The churches are suppressed and closed,” he said. “The clergy are being arrested. The so-called freedom of religion stipulated by the Communist Party is merely empty talk.”
ChinaAid reports on government raids and crackdowns, such as the raid on the “Religious Reformation and Life Transition” seminar in Guangdong in order to expose abuses by the Communist Party against Chinese citizens and their right to religious freedom.