Chinese church leaders arrested; shocking video of church destruction

By February 18, 2004

China (VOM/MNN)–The persecution of unregistered house church Christians in China continues as three church leaders were arrested in the final week of January.

In addition, The Voice of the Martyrs has received shocking video tape of a Chinese house church being bulldozed into rubble by government authorities.

On the evening of January 24, Ms. Qiao Chunling, a 41-year-old resident of Fangcheng city, Henan province, was arrested during a house church service at Guanlin, Luoyang city.

Ms. Qiao is a very important house church leader closely associated with Mr. Li Tian’en, one of the most prominent house church leaders in China. Another church leader, Ms. Xu Yongling, age 58, was arrested about 11 p.m. Jan. 25 at Nanyang city, Henan province. She was asleep at the home of a local church member when police raided and arrested her.

“Deborah” Xu is the sister of prominent house church leader Peter Xu Yongze, who now lives in the United States. She has been arrested many times in the past. She is now the leader of the “Born Again Movement” church, which has millions of members throughout China. She has remained single her entire life in order to serve the Lord whole-heartedly.

Mr Zeng Guangbo, 35-year-old, was arrested in the evening of Jan. 25 at a house church at Zengzhuang village, Yuanzhuang town, Deng county, Henan province. However, Guangbo escaped from custody two days later, and is currently in hiding in China. Zeng is a former military policeman who worked in the Department of Broadcasting and TV in Beijing before he was expelled because of his relationship with Peter Xu’s house church in 1988. Since his first arrest, Mr Zeng has become a very active house church leader.

Meanwhile, shocking video of an unregistered Chinese church being destroyed has been smuggled out of China and received by The Voice of the Martyrs.

The Tu Du Sha Church at Xiaoshan District of Hangzhou City, Zhejiang Province was bulldozed to the ground last June 26. The church was started around 1930 by Hudson Taylor’s group, China Inland Mission, and had grown in size to a weekly attendance of 1,500 members.

Police first arrived before 4:00 a.m. expecting the church to be empty. Instead, they found 300 believers gathered for prayer. The police left, but returned just before 8:00 a.m. with 200 military policemen and more than 40 vehicles.

In spite of the protests of church members, the church was completely destroyed. A Chinese Christian covertly videotaped the entire scene, and the video was smuggled out of the country.

VOM’s Todd Nettleton explains the loss, “We’re talking about a church that’s been in existence for over 70 years, from before the Communists took control of China. The government clearly is thinking, “These are troublemakers; these are people who won’t come under our control.”” However, they are encouraged by what followed next. The church members proved that the loss of their building would not stop the church and their work. VOM team members have pictures of worship services held atop the rubble.

When asked why not just register and work within the parameters of the government, Nettleton says for many churches, registering with the government is not an option. “The government wants to control. The government wants to be the first priority for all the people of China, including those who claim to be Christians. As Christians, our first call is to be loyal to Christ. That’s unacceptable to the Communist government.”

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