China – Intimidation tactics changed

Baixiang Town church near Zhejiang in eastern China has been subject to a worrying new trend of violence through infiltration. Reports suggest that a group has been disrupting services by tampering with electrical and audio equipment, preventing churches from meeting and even attacking worshippers. The group is believed to be acting with state support. In the worst reported incident to date, church member Huang Lemin volunteered to fix the damaged wiring only to be set upon by several of the infiltrators. He was hit in the face and his glasses were knocked to the floor. Unable to see without them, he could not defend himself and was badly beaten about the head, suffering a broken nose and concussion. However, six weeks later Huang was himself accused by one of his attackers of intentionally causing injury and was consequently arrested and detained. This has happened against a backdrop of other concerning developments. A prominent Church leader has encouraged the faithful in China to stand firm in faith even to the point of martyrdom. This was in response to a perceived increase in pressure from the state and the state-sponsored church. An example of this is the obstruction by three different state agencies of the completion of a new church building that is being constructed in Menzhou, central China. • Give thanks that the Shouwang church in south-eastern China was allowed to start up a new website two months after the police closed it down. Pray that it can remain online serving the congregation and their community. • Pray for Huang Lemin, that his case can be heard fairly and that justice can be done. Pray for his lawyers as they meet with witnesses and for his church as they continue to suffer persecution.

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