(Bitter Winter) — On June 19, over a dozen members of Fule Church, a place of worship that is not part of the state-run Three-Self Church in Jiamusi city in the northeastern province of Heilongjiang, were listening to an audio sermon by a South Korean pastor, when officials from the local Religious Affairs Bureau and police officers suddenly broke in. They combed the venue and registered ID information of everyone present.
According to a believer who requested anonymity, the imposters confiscated 80,000 RMB (about $ 11,200) of donation money, some valuables, and more than 200 copies of religious literature, including the Bible. The church pastor and two co-workers were taken away.
One of the officials proclaimed that believers are not allowed to listen to sermons by foreign pastors and that they should make donations to the Chinese government instead of South Korean churches. He added that the believers’ refusal to join the Three-Self Church means disobeying and challenging the authorities, which is deemed illegal.
The meeting venue was sealed off subsequently, and the rest of the congregation taken to the local police station to sign statements promising not to attend worship services in the future.