China “Liquidates” House Church

“Authorities in China on Aug. 19 officially ‘liquidated’ an historical house church in Xi’an, Shaanxi Province, as part of a crackdown on churches that refuse to join the state-controlled Three-Self Church, rights advocates said. The Church of Abundance, which began about 30 years ago, had been targeted as a ‘cult’ that allegedly collected illegal donations, but officials closed it as an ‘illegal social organization’–that is, one that refused to join the Chinese Communist Party (CCP)-controlled Three-Self Church, according to Italy-based religious rights organization Bitter Winter. The closure appeared to be part of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s call in December 2021 for action against ‘non-Sinicized’ and ‘illegal’ religious groups, Bitter Winter reported. ‘Xi Jinping’s plan of compelling all Protestant Christians to join the government-controlled Three-Self Church or face arrest and liquidation of their churches as xie jiao or illegal religious groups is being ruthlessly implemented,’ the group stated. The Church of Abundance was ordered to cease activities or its members and pastors would be subject to arrest and detention. Bitter Winter reported that Church of Abundance Pastor Lian Changnian and his son, Pastor Lian Xuliang, were placed under ‘residential surveillance at a designated place.’ The wife of one of the arrested pastors stated, according to China Aid, that Pastor Lian Xuliang had a large bruise from a beating on his forehead. ‘His eyes were bloodshot, and there was dried blood in the corner of his eyes,’ she stated. ‘His face-mask also had blood streaks. His arms and hands were bruised and swollen. There was undoubtedly physical abuse by these so-called law enforcement officers during their law enforcement.’” [In August, Chinese authorities raided Covenant Home Church, Changchun Sunshine Reformed Church, and Zion Church in Beijing.]

“China ‘Liquidates,’” Morning Star News, Aug. 26, 2022