East Asia

Bibles seized in raid on Chinese church leader

Xi Jinping. Premier of China

Authorities in a community in Guangdong province, southern China, raided the home of a pastor, seizing a Bible and other Christian materials, on 9 November 2017.

They summoned him to their office and interrogated him for over four hours, demanding to know if he had had any foreign contacts or recent theological training abroad.

“They were fierce,” the pastor disclosed. They later threatened to ban his church and arrest him if he continued holding services and preaching.

The pastor had been arrested previously on 14 June, along with one of his congregation. Both were charged with “organizing and utilizing cult organizations and superstition to undermine law enforcement,” and twelve Bibles, 48 psalms, and over 1,000 church leaflets were confiscated.  On 13 July, they were granted bail for a year, partly in response to international outrage..

The church has resisted pressure from the local officials to join the state-run Three-Self Church.

The Chinese government and local authorities have been cracking down on Christianity in the country. In Zhejiang province, over 20 churches have been demolished, and over 1,000 crosses have been forcibly removed from buildings recently, and hundreds who have protested this have been detained.