April 6, 2010
REVISED: April 19, 2010
SHANDONG-Jinan Seventh-day Adventists were shaken when local officials barged into their rented building, disturbing members as they met for worship, and forced them to terminate their lease.
On February 27, 2010, Director Zhang Jie of Jinan Office of Religious and Ethnicity Affairs, heading up a group of officers from the Bureau of Religious Affairs and Public Safety, burst into the church. They abruptly rebuked the members, threatened to ban the church, and ordered them to stop all activities by March 5, 2010. The 200 members filed out of the church in tears and gathered in the yard.
The office director of Huaiyin Religious and Ethnicity Affairs believes the church should be banned altogether because it did not “register and join the Three Self Church.”
Currently the church does not have a building, and its property has not been returned. But members continue to meet in open spaces to worship and fellowship, refusing to be daunted by persecution or lack of a building.
Jinan Seventh-day Adventist Church was founded in 1971 and has baptized 700 members since. Their original church building and school occupied nearly an acre of land, but it was confiscated by the government. When the Open Door Policy was implemented in 1978, many church properties were returned. However, the Jinan officials did not carry out the policy, and until now the church has been forced to rent a place for fellowship.
China Aid urges the Chinese government to take measures in protecting the religious and property rights of their citizens. We encourage Christians to pray for Jinan Seventh-day Adventist Church as they persevere despite persecution.
Read the original Church Statement in Chinese, February 2010.
CORRECTION: In the initial release, the article stated that Jinan 7th Day Adventist Church currently has 700 members. This has been corrected; the church has baptized 700 members since it was founded in 1971. We do not know the exact number of Jinan Church members, but recent reports indicate the membership to be close to 200 people.
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