CHINA—Chinese communist authorities forcefully demolished an influential house church in Changchun City, in northeastern China. Hundreds of police were involved in the demolition. Authorities did not offer any compensation or any plan for to resettling the church.
The Nongda House Church was a two-story building with several adjacent houses. The church was located inside the Changchun Agricultural University. At 4 p.m., on Oct 26, authorities sent out a large contingent of police officers to demolish the houses.
Pastor John, who currently resides in the United States and who used to do missionary work in Changchun, described what he knew about that day.
He said that there were over a thousand police and civil workers. About 800 were armed police, riot police, and police officers. Within a short time, many police cars, fire trucks, ambulances, and reporters' vehicles showed up. The police ordered everyone out of the houses. Some residents didn't even have time to put on their clothes. Large back-hoes quickly tore down all the houses leaving just a two-story building standing.
In the beginning, the house church could only hold 20 people. As the congregation grew, they started holding meetings in the adjacent houses in order to accommodate up to 100 people.
Pastor John said that the authorities had informed people to move before they pulled the place down and had given them a deadline. They told people that if they did not follow orders, they would have to face the consequences. Authorities warned them many times but never offered any compensation or another place to relocate.
One of the buildings torn down was the Chenxing supermarket. There were a lot of goods stored in the supermarket, and the owner lost over 100,000 yuan (approximately US$12,500.) Money, goods, and refrigerators inside the store were all demolished.
The Nongda House Church had existed for 10 years and had many members. There were many brothers and sisters involved in the church. It was very influential in the local area and was respected by many other churches. Its members had refused to join the state-run Three-Self Patriotic Church system and had been threatened and harassed many times.
Nonetheless, people from other house churches said they didn't think the authorities could ever demolish the Nongda House Church. The church was known far and wide, as far away as Heilongjiang Province and Inner Mongolia.
The China Aid Association (CAA), a Christian group headquartered in Midland, Texas, sent out a press release on Oct 26 condemning the incident and asking the Chinese regime to arrange a meeting place for the Nongda church members as soon as possible. CAA President Bob Fu said, “That church was very influential. Without the meeting place, they will have to be separated.”