Members of a house church in the Guangdong province of China were harassed and interrogated by communist authorities while on a trip celebrating the church’s fifth anniversary.
According to China Aid, congregants with Trinity Gospel Harvest Church planned a trip earlier this month to stay at a hotel in Huizhou beach, however, police warned some members not to go because they didn’t want them to baptize any new believers.
The Chinese government had been monitoring the church members after leaders signed a statement titled, “A Declaration for the Sake of the Christian Faith” which was written by Pastor Wang Yi with Early Rain Covenant Church.
The declaration advocates for religious freedom.
The day before the celebration, church members were eating lunch at a restaurant when the hotel owner informed them that their reservation was canceled and he would refund their payments.
He said their church pastor, Mao Zhibin, and five Christians were confronted by police officers and told not to gather and celebrate.
Then the restaurant owner offered a villa to the other Christians in the group while the rest stayed at the home of a local farmer.
Police eventually came to the villa and questioned the remaining church members. Officers verified everyone’s credentials and told those without an ID to leave.
On the day of the anniversary celebration, police reportedly swarmed the beach in an effort to prevent any baptisms from taking place.
This incident is just the latest example of China’s ongoing persecution of Christians, including many extreme measures taken by the country’s communist regime to crack down on religious groups.
China has a long history of oppressing religious minorities, and Christians have been targets of violence and imprisonment for decades.
CBN News recently reported that the government ordered pastors of Three-Self Churches to adjust their sermons to include parts of a speech made by President Xi Jinping on July 1, celebrating the centenary of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).
Bible Apps have been eliminated from China’s App Store this year and hard copy versions are no longer able to be purchased online.
And citizens were coaxed to turn in anyone distributing printed religious material or holding worship gatherings. Informants could be eligible to receive 1,000 yuan ($150) for their snooping.
China’s Christians say it is the worst persecution against them since Communist Chairman Mao Zedong’s brutal reign.
Open Doors USA’s 2021 World Watch List ranks China 17 on its list of countries where Christians face the worst persecution.