(Linfen, Shanxi province – September 8, 2022) Authorities criminally detained Linfen Covenant House Church’s preacher Li Jie on suspicion of “fraud” at Yaodu District Detention Center. His wife Li Shanshan received the detention notice issued by Linfen public security bureau. Li Jie’s family and another preacher Han Xiaodong were previously placed under residential surveillance at a designated location. His wife remains in residential surveillance, and there is no update on preacher Han Xiaodong’s wellbeing.
On August 19 at 10 PM, 70 Christians of Linfen Covenant House Church held an outdoor family event. More than 100 police officers suddenly showed up and took them away, confiscating cell phones. Police released some of the children around 2 AM, but all adults were still detained. Officers from the local police station searched Han Xiaodong and Lie Jie’s home. Linfen Covenant House Church sent out a prayer request letter the next day, asking fellow Christians to pray for God to protect the detained Christians and comfort their children.
Linfen public security bureau issued a notice to Li and Han’s family on August 23, punishing them with residential surveillance at a designated location due to the suspicion of “fraud.” Preacher Li Jie and his wife were both forcibly disappeared without their young children.
Linfen Covenant House Church is a brother church of Zion Reformed Church in Taiyuan. The church was persecuted by the government because they refused to join China’s state-sanctioned protestant church. In fall of 2018, Li Jie signed “A Joint Statement by Pastors: A Declaration for the Sake of the Christian Faith” initiated by Early Rain Covenant Church’s pastor Wang Yi. The statement urged the Chinese government to stop all suppression and persecution against Christians and to respect every citizen’s religious belief and freedom. All the pastors and preachers who signed the statement have become targets of religious persecution. Authorities frequently threatened and harassed signatories.
Religious affairs bureau officials often bring more than 20 strong men to raid Linfen Covenant House Church and threaten them. Police cut Li Jie’s power and water and forced his family to move during the coldest month of winter.
Early Rain Covenant Church also sent a prayer request letter, asking fellow Christians to pray for Li Jie, his wife Li Shanshan, and Linfen Covenant House Church.
~Yu Bing, China Aid Special Reporter