Shanxi Authorities Harass Church Members After Factory Demolition
On September 13, authorities in the Chinese city of Linfeng demolished a shoe factory under construction. It was being built by members of the Shanxi Linfeng Fushan Church, and many were living on site. Authorities claimed the members were building a church without a permit—a charge they deny.
Since then, members of the house church have been trying to negotiate with Linfeng city officials. According to U.S.-based Christian rights group China Aid, authorities agreed to rebuild church members’ homes and compensate them for damages resulting from the demolition.
At the same time, though, church members are reporting that officials are harassing them. Pastor Bob Fu of China Aid told Sound of Hope Radio that even nearby house churches have been targeted:
[Pastor Bob Fu, China Aid]:
“They were negotiating with the government, but on the other hand, the crackdown has continued, and is even worse. I know the last couple of days there the crackdown was very severe. Other churches nearby who support them have also had their water and electricity supplies cut off. Their members have been placed under surveillance and those in charge have been followed. They have stopped church members from gathering, including the service on Sunday…right now they’re in a very difficult position.“
The demolition on September 13 had drawn worldwide attention after members posted these images of their factory in ruins on the Internet. Last Thursday, local public security officers detained church member Shan Yongchang after he’d sent messages about the crackdown using his mobile phone.
Pastor Bob Fu told us that church members will now go to Beijing to appeal.