By BosNewsLife Asia Service
BEIJING, CHINA (BosNewsLife)– A prominent member of a house church movement has been told to leave his home this week after Chinese officials and security forces raided his rented apartment in the capital Beijing, representatives told BosNewsLife Tuesday, September 15.
Xu Wenli’s apartment in Beijing’s Daqing district was raided Sunday, September 13, by a crowd that included officers and officials of the Public Service Bureau (PSB), National Security Bureau, and the Religious Affairs Bureau, said the ‘Tent-makers Christian Fellowship’ in Beijing.
Local officials “swarmed into the living room with overwhelming scolding, and commanded” that [Brother Xu] show his rooms to “about twenty people” who “entered the living room, some with uniforms and some without,” the group said in a statement.
The statement was distributed by advocacy group China Aid Association (CAA).
Some Chinese officials, without uniform, allegedly demanded he hand over Christian materials, although they had no search warrant.
The security representatives reportedly warned Xu “that printing Bible verses and messages on scrolls and tote-bags is illegal and threatened to confiscate them,” the Tent-makers Christian Fellowship added.
Xu reportedly refused to obey orders saying: “Who are you for me to obey you? I am a legal residence of Beijing and a child of God.”
He was “not intimidated and pressed on the issue of legality. Brother Xu demanded that they show him the warrant for the raid, which they could not furnish. Some left for an hour or so and returned without the warrant, while the others kept questioning brother Xu and threatening him with violence,” his group said.
After Xu refused them entry into the rooms with the materials the security forces eventually left without taking anything, but threatened to come back soon, Christians said.
Additionally, under pressure from Chinese authorities, the apartment’s owner told him to leave “within the next few days,” according to CAA investigators.
The Tent-makers Christian Fellowship in Beijing is led by internationally known Beijing house church rights defender Pastor Hua Huiqi.
Hua and members of his family have been detained and tortured “numerous times” for his leadership “in defending the basic rights and freedom of vulnerable people,” CAA said.
His 79-year-old Christian mother, Shuang Shuying, finished her two years sentence for involvement in her son’s work in February, 2009. Forced to leave Beijing in August, Pastor Hua is currently being held on a “forced vacation” in Shanxi province by the Beijing Public Security Bureau, Christians said.
Rights groups have linked the crackdown on these and other church groups to attempts by authorities to show the “stability of Beijing” during the 60th anniversary of Communist-rule in China.
Recently a secret directive was leaked ordering a crackdown on several house churches, including in Beijing and other areas. Chinese officials have denied they are limiting religious freedom. (With reporting by BosNewsLife’s Stefan J. Bos).