Geng Zejun and his congregation belong to the reformed faith and have refused to accept the management of the Chinese Communist Party-controlled Three-Self Patriotic Movement Church. They never gave up on meeting together despite the government’s constant suppression. On December 5, 2021, they held a Sunday service in a remote single-story house in a local water plant in the Huinong district. Local state security personnel, police from the neighborhood police station, and personnel from the Religious Affairs Bureau raided their gathering. The authorities used “illegal Christian gatherings” and “severely disrupting the social order” as reasons to take the church attendees away for questioning. The next day, Geng Zejun was placed in administrative detention for 15 days in the name of “disrupting social order.” Police detained Geng’s wife Hao Ying and five other believers for 10 days and released them on bail pending trial. Two weeks after his release, Geng Zejun was summoned again by the police on January 4, and the authorities detained him on suspicion of “organizing illegal gatherings.” Geng was formally arrested on January 25 and has been detained to this day.
On July 13, officials conducted proceedings via video. Geng Zejun attended the trial in the detention center. The trial lasted nearly seven hours. He refused to cooperate with the authorities to plead guilty. His lawyer defended his innocence. The court suggested a sentence of 11 months. A verdict was expected to be issued half a month later. His wife Hao Ying was unable to appear in court.
Preacher Geng Zejun is 50 years old. He was diagnosed with rheumatic heart disease when he was 12. His mother, also a Christian, brought him to a large hospital in the capital Ningxia province for treatment. The doctor gave her a critical condition notice and gave up any further treatment. She did not give up on her son. She prayed to God and asked fellow Christians to pray for him. She prayed continuously day and night. On the morning of the 8th day, he was completely healed and energetic like he had never been sick.
Geng Zejun began to serve the Lord 15 years later in 1995. He quit his job to study the Bible and preach. Geng could not attend seminary because of the government’s continuous monitoring, so he bought many Christian books to study at home. Local police arrested him the next year during a gathering in a rural area of Yinchuan city. He was administratively detained for eight days under the charge of “disturbing social order.” His shoes and clothes were all robbed by other prisoners. But God was with him. Geng did not fear nor compromise in the detention center.
|Photo: Geng Zejun|
Authorities sealed Church of the Rock on December 27, 2019, after a pastor of local Three-Self Church reported them. Police officers, national security agents, staff of religious affairs bureau, and local community management office gave them a joint verbal notice to ban the church. Thanks to God’s protection, the church was able to continue to gather despite the pressure of the government and the COVID pandemic. The number of Christians even reached 130.
“Please pray for God to comfort and strengthen him,” Hao Ying wrote. She released a public prayer letter for her husband’s recent sentence:
Christ suffered for us, so we will follow his footsteps! Althoughwe are surrounded by hardships, God’s grace is enough! Also pray for ourchurch. The government has verbally banned our church, but God will protect his people! Pray God to give us firm faith and determination to follow Him!
~Yu Bing, ChinaAid Special Reporter