(Taiyuan, Shaanxi Province) On the morning of June 9, Pastor Wang Yingjie of Zion Reformed Church and his wife Wang Ying suddenly could not be reached by their friends. Fellow Christians looked for them everywhere, even checking surveillance footage for the apartment complex. Eventually, they found out police took the couple to the station due to an administration dention decision in April of 2022.
Police Raid in 2022
On April 3, 2022, Zion Reformed Church was raided during its Sunday church service. Police took away seven Christians in the name of pandemic prevention. Preacher An Yankui’s wife Yao Congya, Zhang Chenghao’s wife Guo Juan, Pastor Wang Yingjie, Wang Ying, and three other Christians were arrested. At that time, An Yankui and Zhang Chenghao were imprisoned. The seven Christians were taken to a detention cell in handcuffs.
Two male Christians were handcuffed to stakes in the ground. Three Christians were confined to stools. The entire group refused to sign a waiver stating to never attend any service at Zion Reformed Church. Police were planning to give each of them a 15-day administrative detention and a fine of 500 yuan (~$70). However, police could not enforce administrative detention because of the pandemic. Because the Christians refused to sign the document, police confiscated their cell phones. The church members were released between midnight and 5 AM.
On the morning of August 5, 2022, a court trial was held against An Yankui and Zhang Chenghao. The day before at around 11:40 am, Taiyuan City Yingze District police station took away An Yankui’s wife Yao Congya for interrogation and told her that her administrative detention issued in April started on that day. She was detained for 15 days. The administrative detention that was unable to enforce in April became enforceable one day before her husband’s trial most likely to prevent her from attending her husband’s trial. Authorities also took away Zhang Chenghao’s wife Guo Juan for a 15-day administrative detention.
Zion Reformed Church persecution
Yao Congya and Guo Juan’s detention was postponed for four months, while Pastor Wang Yingjie and Wang Ying’s detention was postponed for over a year. After the new “Regulations on Religious Affairs” took effect, Zion Reformed Church suffered from continuous persecution because it refused to join the Three-Self Church and register with the government.
Raid in 2020
On November 15, 2020, Zion Reformed Church was raided during the Sunday service. Seven Christians were arrested, including An Yankui and Yao Congya. They were released after 10 pm. On the evening of December 30, 2020, An and another five Christians were arrested during a bible study group at his home. All other Christians were released at around midnight, but An was administratively detained for 15 days.
In January 2020, An and another six Christians traveled to Malaysia for one week to attend a Christian conference. They all entered and left the country via standard procedures and through customs with valid visas and passports without any violation of the law. However, they were arrested and sentenced under the charge of “illegally crossing the border” a year later. Zhang Ligong, Wang Runyun, Wang Shiqiang, Zhang Yaowen, and Song Shoushan were sentenced to six to eight months. An Yankui and Zhang Chenghao were sentenced to one year and a fine of 5,000 Yuan (~$701). On November 21, 2022, Fenyang City People’s Court approved An and Zhang to be released on bail.
Zhao Weikai, another co-worker of Zion Reformed Church, was arrested on May 17, 2021. On December 30, 2022, he was sentenced to 2 years and a fine of 30,000 Yuan (~$4,208) under the charge of “illegal holding of materials promoting terrorism and extremism.”