On 11 November, more than 30 officials entered Huoxing Church after painting over cameras at the church door in order to mask what happened. Some officials claimed they had come to close the church.
A Christian said, “They did not show their law enforcement identification or legal documents. [The Christians] continued their service, singing hymns, praying, praising [God] and reading the Bible.”
However, the officials continued to ask them for the identification numbers on their personal ID cards for nearly three hours.
Two weeks before, Huoxing Church’s sign was smashed and three days later, authorities questioned its pastor, Zhang Ganghua, for nearly three hours. The locks on its doors were also destroyed and government personnel interrupted its church service.
During that time, the church’s power supply was cut off and two church attendees were taken into police custody and released hours later. One plainclothes official also knocked another Christian man to the ground, and he suffered a chest injury that necessitated emergency treatment. Repeatedly, the church called the authorities to report one of the incidents, but they were ignored.
Zhang then went to the police station to address the issue.
Huoxing Church also issued a strong statement calling on all levels of government to enforce the law legally and civilly. It reaffirms Christians’ right to worship as guaranteed by the Chinese Constitution.
- Thank the Lord for the faithfulness of these believers who are willing to continue to worship the Lord even while being harassed by authorities. Ask the Lord to grant continued strength and healing.
- Pray they will continue to meet for worship and spur one another on in the faith. Pray their witness will be powerful.
- Pray for wisdom for the pastors and elders of Chinese churches as they lead their congregations and deal with the authorities.
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