Police in Chengdu, Sichuan raided a Christian church in the midst of Sunday worship on March 7, seizing the pastor, his wife, and three other Christians and interrogating five more after disrupting the service.
In January, we reported on a Chengdu Christian homeschool associated with the Early Rain Covenant Church that was raided by authorities under the Communist Chinese Party’s increasingly antagonistic approach towards faith-based organizations that will not pledge sufficient loyalty to the government.
On Sunday, the Fountain of Life Church was the target of one such incident of CCP scrutiny; hardly the first for Elder Zha Changping and his wife, who were seized and transported by the officers, ChinaAid reports.
Fountain of Life Church, one of the earliest founded urban house churches, belongs to the southwest parish with Early Rain Covenant Church. One former state security officer who converted to Christianity at this church, later resigned from his state job. During one Christmas event, this reporter witnessed the former police officer constantly weeping while singing hymns.
Elder Zha of Chengdu Fountain of Life Church, one of the first core leaders of Chinese house churches signing the Pastors’ Joint Statement Pastor Wang Yi launched, For the Sake of the Christian Faith, stands with pastors and ministers who hold an authentic faith and refuse to “kowtow”* to hegemony. Since the 129 crackdown, state security agents routinely target these believers and often pressure them during interrogations. In the past, police had summoned Elder Zha multiple times to interrogate him. The east campus of Fountain of Life Church, targeted for the March 7 raid, meets at Elder Zha’s home.
The “129 Crackdown” was a December 2020 raid on the Early Rain Covenant Church on the part of 2,000 officers in which Pastor Wang Yi and hundreds of other congregants were arrested. Children, disabled individuals, and pregnant women were also assaulted and one woman tragically miscarried after being dragged out of her home by her hair at midnight and beaten, according to ChinaAid.
Elder Zhang Chunlei of Guiyang Ren Ai Church, the human rights organization notes, believes that the “religious environment in Chengdu has deteriorated since police raided and persecuted Early Rain Covenant Church.”
While the Chinese Communist Party allows more religious organization than the Soviets did, the nation keeps a close eye on practitioners of Islam, Buddhism, Christianity, and Falun Gong.
Religious leaders are required to pledge alliegance to Beijing and
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