|Huoshi Church pastors Su Tianfu (left) and Yang Hua pose for|
photo before Yang's arrest. (Photo: ChinaAid)
(Guiyang, Guizhou—June 9, 2017) Splintered into small congregations meeting secretively in the homes of fellow church attendees, the members of a house church in China’s southern Guizhou province penned a letter describing how government persecution obliterated their finances, imprisoned and tortured their leaders, and fractured their thriving church body.
Beginning with the church’s founding, the members of Huoshi Church traced its entire history with the government, insisting that the Communist Party abused them despite their attempts to comply with the law, which included reporting on all of their activities to the local religious affairs and public security bureaus. As the church quickly swelled into the largest house church in Guizhou’s capital, Guiyang, officials told the church it must join the China’s state-run Three-Self Church, which is subject to government censorship, or they would be banned. The members refused.
According to the letter, “From then on, the hard days of Huoshi Church in Guiyang began. The government officials often interrupted the regular gatherings, sometimes cutting off the building’s power supply. The police frequently intruded and demanded [the Christians show] ID cards. Many believers were pressured both by their companies and family members and could not attend the regular meetings. The neighborhood committee dispatched workers to persuade the church members to quit. The government workers even spread the rumor among the family members of the believers that Huoshi Church was an anti-government cult.”