Christian “family churches” in Yunnan, Xinjiang, and Henan provinces have all been disrupted and invaded within one week. The news of the arrest of Christians was in strong contrast with the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) Chairman Jia Qinglin's speech emphasizing “harmony between religions and nationalities” at the CPPCC session.
The head of the Family Church Union, Zhang Mingxuan told reporters that on March 3, Yunnan's Sunday School for minority students was attacked. Students and staff were threatened and were not allowed to participate in their church anymore. People involved in the attack included local officials from the Public Security Bureau.
Zhang Mingxuan says, “When Sunday School started on March 3rd, local authorities sent men over to intrude. They drove the students out and arrested one man, who was later released. They also sent people over to research information about me, such as how many times I have been there.”
On March 2 in Xinjiang Province, Xinyuan County of Yili City, a “family church” was disrupted and invaded. As a result, there are two males and four females being held for 15 days for participating in “illegal organizations,” including two students arrested at Huo Cheng Province's Church music class.
Ms. Shi, a Christian who is the host of the church's music class, said, “Currently they have six of our people under arrest. We hope that the outside community will put some pressure on them to release these people as soon as possible.”
On the previous Thursday (February 28) when the church in Huocheng County was attacked, 11 teenagers and two staff members were arrested and held for one night. Afterwards, eight of them were released, but three from Xinyuan County were taken back to their hometown and two of those three are yet to be released.
No Peace or Harmony Allowed for Christian 'Family Churches'
At the same time, the Henan authorities are currently furiously hunting down and arresting members of “family churches.” On February 28, eighty of 200 participants in a Christian meeting were captured. Fifty of those arrested are now being illegally held with the excuse that they were breaking the law by “engaging in the practice of a cult.” This is in violation of freedom of religion guaranteed in the Chinese Constitution. Authorities are still hunting down ministers in each county.
An anonymous Christian tells us:
“Ning Ling's Detention Center currently holds 50 people who were arrested and are accused of being “cult members.” Currently the authorities are attempting the capture of staff members responsible for the meeting who were not at the scene and the ones who recommended others to participate. Family members of those searched are afraid to even turn on their cell phones. This is happening in all the nearby counties.”
At a CPPCC session on March 3, CPPCC Chairman Jia Qinglin emphasized “peace and harmony between religions and nationalities.” Members of Chinese “family churches” feel that their current situation does not compare to this speech. A Christian from a church group in Xinjiang province said, “We were just watching the live CPPCC session on television. Jia Qinglin's speech on religious freedom was very good. But however good it sounds on the outside, our situation has not changed one bit.”
Zhang Mingxuan, a priest who is being harassed in many ways by local authorities, says that with the support of his beliefs, he does not fear the pressure.
“I believe that God will protect me, for all my life I have been honest and righteous.”