[CRLW (Civil Rights & Livelihood Watch), January 24, 2024]
A family church in Suizhou, Hubei, was accused of being a cult by the government due to its refusal to join the Three-Self Church. Several individuals, including a 70-year-old and students in their teens, have been arrested. Currently, lawyers have intervened for defense and upon reviewing the case materials, they believe it is a family church and not a cult.
Since July 1, 2023, a local family church in Suizhou, Hubei, has been labeled as a “cult,” leading to the arrest of many believers, including elderly individuals in their seventies, students, and individuals suffering from severe depression.
Apart from those who were coerced into confessing, believers insist that their faith is based on Christian doctrine, primarily centered around the Bible.
Lawyers who have intervened for defense and reviewed the case files all believe it is a family church and it’s clear that this church is not a cult. The primary reason cited by law enforcement employees for the accusations is the believers’ refusal to join Three-Self churches, their emotional prayers, and the display of an ornament reading “What God has paired, let no one separate.”
In one believer’s home, several books with content consistent with the Nicene Creed were confiscated and arbitrarily deemed to contain cult content by law enforcement employees who clearly lack understanding of Christianity and family churches.
The nature of this case is extremely egregious, and with such logic and means of handling the case, all of China’s family churches could be defined as cults. This is absurd.
In addition, the Guangzhou Bible Reformed Church’s preaching center in Xinhui District, Jiangmen City, was recently raided, and four Christians, including Preacher Chen Zuopeng, were taken away by the police and have not been heard from since.
On the morning of Sunday, January 21, 2024, preacher Chen Zuopeng and three other brothers from the Xinhui branch of the Guangzhou Bible Reformed Church were taken away by the police during a gathering and have not been heard from since.
Reportedly, this is the second time that the church’s branch has been raided since the beginning of the new year.
(Responsible editor: CRLW Editor)