Beijing— The Yizhuang branch of Beijing’s Zion Church has faced continuous harassment from the government in recent months.
Not long after China’s revised Regulations on Religious Affairs went into effect nationwide on Feb. 1, the mistreatment of the church’s 1,500 members began, and the attendees predicted that further measures to curb their ability to worship would take place. They were correct in that assumption. In June, the church’s website was forcibly shut down and a sermon on the Gospel was deleted.
Additionally, a letter from Senior Pastor Jin Mingri claimed that authorities banned the congregation from gathering and slandered the church with a baseless accusation of being illegally controlled from overseas. Authorities also used the excuse of controlling fire hazards to get members to install cameras. They refused, and retaliation followed.
On June 14, the church’s landlord evicted it due to pressure from the government, claiming the lease would terminate in August. However, the church had already paid the rent for June and had leased it for another two years.
Beginning on July 5, the government locked the gate to the church and banned members from entering to conduct services. Six tattooed men forcibly prevented members from entering the church on June 8, claiming that they belonged to a cult. A church member stated that they called the local police, but they were still not able to get into the church to retrieve their belongings.
Pastor Wu Hongfei has also been continuously insulted.