(Reading time: 1 - 2 minutes)
Lin Kezhen - Photo: China Aid www.chinaaid.org
Lin Kezhen
Photo: China Aid

In a continuing campaign against unregistered churches around the country, Chinese authorities have taken action in recent weeks by shutting them down or blocking access to congregants.

On October 16th, police shut down the Guangfu Church in Guangzhou, declaring it an "unqualified venue." The church has faced opposition numerous times in the past. In July, the Religious Affairs Bureau met with Pastor Ma Ke and ordered him to join the state-run Three-Self Patriotic Movement. When the church refused, congregants were informed that they would be "overseen by the government."

Also, in Guangzhou, police have cordoned off a church which was first started in the 1950s. At that time, the pastor, Lin Xiangao, was eventually arrested and spent more than 20 years in prison. After his release in 1978, Lin restarted the church which has since grown to thousands of attendees. Despite having reached an agreement with the local religious affairs bureau, police blocked off all access to the Rongguili Church on October 14th. This action forced the Sunday school and other meetings to be cancelled.

On October 21st, a group of police officers entered the Yongfu Church in Fujian Province while the worship service was taking place. Since the service was still ongoing, Pastor Lin Kezhen asked if they would be willing to speak with him after the service. However, the officers shouted that the service was ordered to stop, and no one should be attending.

The police officers then proceeded to harass several of the Christians. When members attempted to leave, the doors were blocked while authorities gathered identification and personal information. When departing the church premises, the officers announced their intention to return the following week.

For more reports on the persecution facing Christians in China, visit our country report. There is also an excellent brief interview with Bob Fu, president of ChinaAid, and VOMC's Minister-at-Large, Greg Musselman, available from 100 Huntley Street.

Pray for the tremendous number of churches throughout China that are facing harassment and intimidation from government authorities. Uphold their church leaders, asking God to grant them wisdom when dealing with government officials and responding to their accusations. May the country's Christians be given opportunities to share the Gospel and shine the light of our Lord Jesus, even among their accusers, so that many more precious souls will come to faith in Him.