(Linfen, Shanxi province) Police summoned Li Shanshan, the wife of imprisoned Linfen Covenant House Church preacher Li Jie, to the police station. They threatened her for two consecutive days to “admit guilt” for the so-called accusation of fraud. Authorities ended up releasing her on bail but promised to continue their harassment. Reports are unclear whether Wu Tingting, another Linfen Covenant House Church woman, is also being threatened.
Linfen Covenant House Church’s reaction
The church sent out an urgent prayer request letter in the early morning of February 8: “We admit to God we are all sinners, but we will never admit guilt for such a ridiculous ‘fraud’ charge.” Preacher Li Jie, Preacher Han Xiaodong, and Wang Qiang were charged on suspicion of “fraud” and their cases have been returned by the Procuratorate, who recently resumed their investigation.
New Round of Persecution
On February 4, their cases were returned to the public security bureau by the Yaodu district Procuratorate requesting further investigation. ChinaAid sources speculate that Linfen Covenant House Church members will face a new round of persecution.
Linfen Covenant House Church is a house church. The government persecuted them because they refused to join China’s Three-Self Patriotic Movement, the state-sanctioned protestant church. More than 100 police officers interrupted a family church event on August 19. Church congregants and children were rounded up and sent to the police station. Afterward, police issued notices for “residential surveillance at a designated location” (RSDL) to Li Shanshan and Chen Ying, the wife of Han Xiaodong. They were eventually released on bail, but authorities sent their husbands to the Yaodu Detention Center for “fraud.”
Like Li Shanshan, many Christians of the church have been summoned to the local police station. Officials used many means to force them to provide false testimony and evidence against the preachers charged with fraud. These Christians faced pressure from their families, communities, employers, and police. Along with false confession, authorities forced Christians to sign an affidavit, agreeing that they would never again attend Linfen Covenant House Church.
Call to prayer
In the February 8 prayer request letter, Linfen Covenant House Church asked fellow Christians to pray for Li Jie, Han Xiaodong, Wang Qiang, Wu Tingting, and Li Shanshan:
“Pray for God to strengthen them. Currently, [they] are imprisoned in the detention center. They don’t have any information about the outside world or their family. Pray for God to strengthen them and not to admit guilt or accept punishment.”
The prayer request letter mentioned that national security agents threatened Li Shanshan that they would summon her every day if she does not “confess.” Reportedly, Wu Tingting’s mother cried until she lost consciousness at the police station.
~Yu Bing, Special Reporter for ChinaAid