Photo: An eviction notice sent to one of the three families (ChinaAid source)
(Chengdu, China—March 27, 2023) Officials continue to escalate their persecution of the Early Rain Covenant Church in Chengdu. They plan to evict three families from the church that reside in the same condo complex—Shu Qiong, Chen Yan, and Xu Jiali.
A plot from the authorities
Various departments of the Shuangliu District including the Political Security Department, the police station, the sub-district, and the community workers collaborated to harass the three families living at Blue Light Long Island International Complex.
On the afternoon of March 21, the three families received the Notice of Terminating the Lease issued by the landlords. Due to their involvement in “illegal activities,” the landlord claimed they all broke their lease agreement. Each family initially agreed to stay in their respective apartments for three years. Consequently, Xu Jiali and her family will be evicted after staying in the rental for one month and five days.
The property management company said they would evict the three families on March 24, threatening to throw out their belongings if they refused to leave. Some departments did everything possible including stuffing their door locks, puncturing car tires, and shutting off power and water to coerce them to move out.
Photo: Xiao Luobiao was banned from going out by the property management company (ChinaAid source)
Before the eviction
Two days before the eviction notice, Early Rain’s vice deacon Xiao Luobiao was stopped at his home and prohibited from going out while heading to the Sunday service. Brother Xiao Luobiao thinks that the property management company doesn’t have the right to confine him, so he shouldn’t give them the right and insisted on going out. In the process, they had some physical conflicts, and Xiao Luobiao’s left wrist was injured. Shuangliu Branch of Public Security Jiujiang Police Station dispatched police after receiving the report, but they didn’t document the scene nor process it. They took Xiao Luobiao, Chen Yan, and their three children to the police station to make a statement.
Abuse in the police station
During this time, the police officers at Jiujiang Police Station physically attacked Chen Yan and kept making insulting remarks about the name of God and the Christian faith. Some unidentified people even claimed that the family would be evicted and their possessions would be dumped if they did not leave by Friday.
Xu Jiali and her family
Xu Jiali’s family lives in the same condo complex and has been watched and prohibited from leaving. Her husband and younger brother are not Christians, but the unidentified individuals prohibited them from leaving just the same. Police came and collected statements about these unidentified individuals. However, they refused to help resolve the issue and threatened Xu’s family to leave.
This incident follows a pattern of persecution from Chengdu authorities. Many elders, deacons, and church coworkers were banned from leaving their homes in recent weeks. Authorities arrested Pastor Ding Shuqi and Early Rain member Shu Qiong and gave both of them a 14-day administrative detention.
Early Rain’s statement
Early Rain sent a prayer request on the morning of March 21, writing that they would help the three families advocate for their rights. Additionally, they will continue to disclose the truth and urge related departments in Chengdu to protect religious freedom.
Full eviction notice
All three families received a similar document detailing how they broke their lease agreement. Below is the fully translated document from Shu Qiong’s landlord:
I signed the Lease Agreement with you on June 4, 2022, which says that Blue Light Long Island International Complex I Suite 3 Unit 2 Room 601 located in Tongjiang Community, Jiujiang Sub-district, Shuangliu District (hereinafter referred to as “the rental”) is rented to you for 3 years.
On March 17, 2023, I received the Rectification Notice on Potential Hazards of Safety issued by Chengdu Municipal Bureau of Public Security Shuangliu District Branch Jiujiang Police Station, which says that you engaged in illegal events in the rental and disturbed public order. I notified you on March 17, 2023, that the Lease Agreement is terminated under the Lease Agreement Articles 9.4.3, 9.4.5, and 10.1 because you changed the use of the rental without authorization, used the rental to engage in illegal activities and harm the public benefits, which violates the Lease Agreement. In the meantime, it is mandated that you move out of the rental and put it back to the original situation by March 24, 2023, and the rest of the rent except the amount of the current month, plus the breach penalty will be fully refunded to you.
Again, below is the notification:
The Lease Agreement you and I signed on June 4, 2022, is terminated on March 17, 2023;
You are asked to move your stuff out of the rental and put the rental back to the original situation by March 24, 2023, and return the rental to me. If it is overdue, I will regard the stuff left in the rental as what you abandon and deal with it by myself (including but not limited to destroying and dumping, etc.), and you should be responsible for the cost.
Hereby is the notification!
Owner of Blue Light Long Island International Complex I Suite 3 Unit 2 Room 601
~Yu Bing, Special Correspondent for ChinaAid