Reported and written in Chinese by Qiao Nong.
Edited in English by Ava Collins.
(Guangzhou, Guangdong—Sept. 14, 2015) In China’s southern Guangdong province, Guangfu House Church members were intercepted by 20 police at the airport on the afternoon on Aug. 30, on their way to Beijing to make a petition contesting unfair treatment by officials.
The petitioners, led by the Guangfu House Church’s pastor, Ma Chao, hoped to protest the local authorities’ recent confiscations of church belongings, meeting venue closures, and refusal to acknowledge church members’ petitions. Ma said that he and two others were placed under house arrest in a building near the Baiyun District Police Station. One church member who intended to go with the group of Christians was also put under house arrest in his village and had his cell phone confiscated.
“We were heading to the gate with the boarding passes,” Ma said. “More than two dozen police officers were waiting for us—two in uniform, the others in plainclothes—with officials from the Baiyun District government. They took us to the back of the Baiyun District Police Station and did not say how long we had to wait. Nobody talked to us. I saw the chief of the local religious affairs bureau named Yu Guigang, who had taken our things before.”
Ma Chao said that the church petitioned the Guangzhou municipal government and the provincial government regarding the closure of their church and the confiscation of church belongings but received no answers. “We went to the Guangdong Provincial Bureau for Letters and Calls three times and twice to the Guangzhou Municipal Bureau for Letters and Calls. We have no avenue to solve these problems. Yesterday, we went to the office and again received no answer. We decided to go to Beijing to petition because the local government paid no attention to our problems.”