Prominent House Church Leader Arrested Again Amid Ongoing Crackdown
CHINA – The deputy chairman of the Chinese House Church Alliance (CHCA) was seized again by Jiangsu police on the day he was released from detention ““ even before he reached home.
Pastor Shi Enhao had just been freed on Sunday after 12 days’ administrative detention when he was immediately rearrested and taken away to an unknown location, according to Release partner China Aid. He has not been heard from since.
Pastor Shi’s latest detention is in fact the third in three months. He was also arrested while preaching in Nanyang city on March 4 and was taken to Suqian city detention centre, where he was reportedly beaten.
This is just the latest incident in an ongoing, relentless crackdown on house church Christians and rights activists by the Chinese authorities.
One of Beijing’s largest house churches, Shouwang Church, continues its stand-off with officials who refuse to allow the congregation to meet in their premises in Haidan district (Prayer Alert, April 12, 2011).
Last weekend, for the tenth Sunday running, Shouwang members met outdoors to worship ““ and for the tenth consecutive week, police made arrests ““ 14 on this occasion. All 14 had been released by midday on Monday. As had happened on previous occasions, several Christians were put under house arrest over the weekend and a few were even taken away to guesthouses, leaving only a few dozen people to meet in the plaza near their church.
China Aid reports that members of the state-sanctioned Three-Self Patriotic Movement (TSPM) Church visited many of those detained this week and last while they were in custody, to try to persuade them to join the official, registered TSPM church.
‘Even though we’ve been through two months of battles and are feeling tired in body and soul, our desire to worship God is unchanged,’ Shouwang Church said in a statement this week.
China Aid has also received a letter from the wife of Beijing activist Chen Guangcheng detailing the brutal treatment they received from officials in February during their ongoing house arrest (Prayer Alert, February 11, 2011).
The couple have been held captive in their home in Shandong province since September, when Chen, who is blind, was released after serving more than four years in jail on criminal charges. The letter from Chen’s wife, Yuan Weijing, reveals that up to 80 men stormed their house in February and beat both of them for more than two hours, leaving Chen unconscious and Yuan with suspected broken bones. Neither has received medical treatment. The assault was apparently in retaliation for a video about their house arrest posted on YouTube.
Yuan also says that officials have confiscated much of their property and that their windows were sealed with metal sheets in March, she says. They remain under tight surveillance.
(Sources: China Aid, Compass Direct, Radio Free Asia)
- Pray for the immediate release of Pastor Shi Enhao and ask God to protect him and other CHCA members from state persecution.
- Pray for wisdom and protection for Shouwang Church.
- Pray that officials will relent and release from house arrest activist Chen Guangcheng and his wife, Yuan. Pray that they will know Jesus’ miraculous healing and His love.