|A government official takes video|
footage of Huoshi Church.
(Photo: China Aid)
Written in Chinese by Qiao Nong. Translated by Carolyn Song. Written in English by Brynne Lawrence.
(Guiyang, Guizhou—Dec. 3, 2015) More than 30 officials from several government departments attempted to raid a weekly gathering of a house church in China’s inland Guizhou province and ordered the church to stop meeting and pay a 100,000 Yuan (U.S. $15,650) fine on Nov. 29.
Yang Hua, one of Huoshi Church’s pastors, described the incident to a China Aid reporter on Nov. 30: “Yesterday, there were more than 30 personnel from the Guiyang Municipal Planning Bureau, Nanming District Urban Management Bureau and [a local] police station. Some were in plainclothes, and they did not show identification … While I was preaching yesterday, they tried to raid the church but were stopped by some church members. Later, they took some video footage of the pantry and library for evidence, and a verbal dispute happened between them and our church members.”
According to Yang, the officials warned that, if the church fails to stop their services, a fine will go into effect. The fine is the result of a Nov. 18 notice that claimed the church members changed the intended use of their privately owned property. The notice claimed that failure to revert the space to its originally intended use would result in a fine of 20 Yuan (U.S. $3.12) per square meter per day that was to begin accumulating on Nov. 22. At the time of the officials’ attempted raid on Nov. 29, the fine had reached more than 100,000 Yuan (U.S. $15, 650).
“We said we don’t agree with this punishment,” Yang said. “… We believe that they interfered with our regular church service. This is an act of religious suppression. Specifically … the Constitution stipulates that we have freedom of religion."
Church attendees stated they intend to file an administrative repeal in an attempt to overturn this action.
China Aid works to expose abuses of religious freedom and infringement of legal rights, such as those faced by Huoshi Church.