Pastor of House Church in China’s Yunnan Province is Detained for Five Years After Refusing to Join State-Sponsored Church

DESIRE FOR UNITY: Catholics attend a Christmas eve mass at a church near the city of Taiyuan in Shanxi province in 2012. Catholic officials and missionaries in China say that many in their communities want to be reunited in a single church. REUTERS/Jason Lee

The leader of a house church in China’s Yunnan province who refused to join the state-sponsored church was detained for five days as his “administrative punishment” and hit with a fine amid an uptick in religious persecution by the regime. 

China Aid reports that Li Chunze, the leader of a house church in Panlong District in the city of Kunming, was detained from Nov. 16 to Nov. 21 after Changqing police raided his house and accused the fellowship he attended for disturbing the order of public places.

A local believer told China Aid, “The staff from the district religious affairs bureau said that it is illegal for believers to participate in religious activities at a venue not approved by the government. Numerous police officers transported all the attendees to the police station for interrogation.”

All Christians were released except for Li, who remained in administrative detention at Kunming Municipal Detention Center for five days. He was also fined an undisclosed amount.

The house church led by Li was established about 10 years ago, with most of the members being local senior citizens. Local police and officials from the religious affairs bureau have repeatedly pressured them to join the state-sanctioned Three-Self church, to which they refused.

The detention of Li comes as the ruling Communist Party seeks to “sinicize” every religious ideology in the country — meaning, to make beliefs, including Christianity, fall in line with communism.

Earlier in November, it was reported that a church plant affiliated with the heavily-persecuted Early Rain Covenant Church was raided by authorities in China’s Taiyuan, Shanxi province. Authorities then detained the pastor and six other members.

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SOURCE: Christian Post, Leah MarieAnn Klett