Contact: Annee Kahler, Media Coordinator, 267-210-8278, Annee@ChinaAid.org; Jenny McCloy, Directory of Advocacy (Washington, DC, 202-213-0506, Jenny@ChinaAid.org; both with ChinaAid; www.ChinaAid.org, www.MonitorChina.org
GUANGDONG, China, May 5 /Christian Newswire/ -- On the morning of May 2, Guangzhou Public Security officials forced Liangren House Church's landlord to terminate the church's rent, sealing and locking the doors with an iron chain. Guards blocked the congregation from entering the facility, forcing them to worship outdoors on Sunday morning. In order to save another landlord from being harassed by the PSB, the church plans to move next week's worship service outdoors to Guangzhou People's Park.
According to members, authorities have serially forced the church to migrate from hotel to hotel in the Haizu District, subsequently banning the church from meeting at each location. Sunday's crackdown marked the more than 10 times this year the church has been forced to migrate due to government pressure.
Liangren House Church first drew the attention of the Guangzhou Public Security office in May, 2008, after launching a youth education and relief program in the earthquake-devastated province of Sichuan. Since then, Liangren Church has been repeatedly disbanded, harassed, and chased while forced to flee from church meetings.
Head Pastor Wang Dao has been repeatedly kidnapped and interrogated in the last two years--the latest incident occurring on March 4, when police officers seized him during his noonday meal at a restaurant. Pastor Wang was later released, but authorities threatened the church not to meet in the future, seeking to intimidate the members by harassing the pastor.
Liangren House Church members issued an appeal to the world for prayer and deliverance on May 3. "...We call on Guangzhou the authorities to respect their citizens' freedom of belief, as the freedom of belief is the most basic human right. Christians of house churches only want the right to worship God in our legally rented houses, that is, in our own houses."
They remain undeterred in seeking a legal space to gather for worship. "Our bottom line is we must abide by God's commandment of 'You must not stop gatherings!' We hereby appeal to all fellow members in Christ and ask you to give us support! We also ask you to continue to pray urgently for our rulers!"
Read the Full Appeal by Liangren Church.
ChinaAid calls on the international community to pray for Liangren Church. We urge the Guangzhou authorities to respect the religious rights of its citizens and to restore the church's legal status and right to worship.
See the full CAA press release for ways to get involved.