15 June 2020

Chinese pastor compares second raid on church to “violence of Mao’s Cultural Revolution”

Authorities in China raided a “house church” (i.e. an unregistered congregation) in the city of Xiamen for the second time in six weeks on 11 June, in an operation the pastor said echoed the violence of Mao Zedong’s Cultural Revolution.

A worshipper’s ribs were broken by police when they raided and forcibly shut down a worship service of Xingguang Church on Sunday 3 May 2020

A worshipper’s ribs were broken by police when they raided and forcibly shut down a worship service of Xingguang Church on Sunday 3 May 2020

Officials entered Xingguang Church and drove out church members before stripping the building of furniture and internal fixtures, including panelling and glass room dividers.

The pastor said the church had bought the property and received permission from city officials to build a loft conversion. He said the authorities breached regulations when they dismantled the interior.

“This incident in Xiamen is just a snapshot of the way things are in China now,” he said, adding that the targeting of religious groups echoed the political violence of the Mao era, especially from 1966-1976.  “It is very similar to a fascist regime, or to the Cultural Revolution,” said the pastor.

“The [ruling Chinese] Communist Party would have at least pretended to follow correct procedures before, but now it’s not even pretending,” he added.

On 3 May, around 100 police raided a meeting of Xingguang Church members at a private flat in Xiamen city, breaking the ribs of one church member as they stopped the worship service by force.

The raids come amid a continuing nationwide crackdown on the Church by the authorities in China. Hundreds of “house churches” and official, state-sanctioned, “three-self” churches have been forcibly shut down. Increasingly repressive measures have included arrests and imprisonment of pastors, the installation of surveillance cameras inside churches and the removal of religious symbols and texts from display.


China