07/08/2022 China (International Christian Concern) – Located in the southwestern province of Sichuan, China, members of Early Rain Covenant Church (ERCC) have recently undergone several cases of harassment.
Beginning in May, officials began to summon the house church members for interrogation and demand them to sign a pledge renouncing their church. Although congregants of ERCC have refused to sign, officials continue to try and break up the church.
A case that surfaced in early June reports of national security officers summoning Shen Bingdi, a congregation member, to inquire about his previous detainment and ERCC’s worship services. After three hours of interrogation, the man was released.
Soon after this incident, reports of the detainment of Long Kehai, a man in the process of moving to Chengdu in hopes of becoming an ERCC member, surfaced. News of the incident came three days after the man’s arrest when an ERCC member was finally able to contact a national security officer. The man is currently detained in his hometown of Gansu province.
Mr. Long is known for courageously standing up to injustices and sharing the gospel. His detainment comes after receiving two penalty decisions where he was accused of watching violent videos on the communications and social media platform, WeChat, and allegedly spreading fake news on his WeChat account in May, respectively. Due to pandemic concerns, officials did not enforce the penalties but warned Mr. Long to be careful.
The most recent harassment incident at ERCC came at the end of June when local police raided a worship service held at the church. Officials found Elder Li Yingqiang near the worship venue and subsequently detained him. The elder returned home safely after a couple of hours of interrogation. According to reports, the church was able to carry out Sunday service following this incident smoothly.
According to China Aid, house churches such as ERCC “have fought on the frontline” for the Christian faith since Protestantism was first introduced in China. Incidents of persecution have become common, especially in light of the Chinese government’s upcoming 20th National Congress.
Despite challenges faced by ERCC, congregation members remain strong. Please pray for the continued protection and safety of all Chinese Christians.
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