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China: 2,000 Church Members in Shanghai Hunted, Interrogated and Threatened after Stand-off with Police

Posted by Author on November 13, 2009

China Aid, November 13, 2009 –

SHANGHAI–Tensions reached a high when Public Security officials sealed off the doors and locked down Wanbang Missionary Church the evening of Thursday, November 12. Church members banded together at the doors as  officials barred the entrance to protect the associate pastor as he tried to leave the premises. PSB officials blocked their way, creating a standoff until church members agreed to leave after meeting for a short prayer service. Under the protection of the crowd, the associate pastor of Wanbang Church was able to escape.

Preparing to welcome President Obama, local Shanghai authorities have  launched a city-wide man-hunt for the members of Wanbang church, endeavoring to disband all religious meetings with the efforts of multiple agencies, including PSB, RAB, SSB (State Security Bureau) and Offices from District, Building management, and more. Already, many of the 2000 members have been severely questioned and threatened. These attacks followed the PSB’s unsuccessful attempts to break up the church gathering the morning of Sunday, November 8th, in their building and the first attack on November 2nd. Authorities broke in and banned the church on Sunday, November 2 (See the press release), (the first attack since banning the church in February) and issued the formal Notice of Abolishment to senior Pastor Cui Quan on Tuesday, November 10. All of seven church pastors also received official notices declaring their pastoral status as “self-claimed illegal preachers” and were ordered to stop their “illegal religious activities.”

The church website was also forcibly shut down by government censorship services the morning of November 8, to prevent any negative reporting on human rights prior to President Obama’s visit to China. Pastor Cui’s cell phone number is “no longer in service.” These restrictions are another step in clamping down on all communication of churches in the days before President Obama visits China, illustrating how bold the Chinese have become in blatantly ignoring religious freedom and human rights. Due to the intense central government-led crackdown, ChinaAid has been unable to obtain a copy of the Notice of Abolishment or any formal documentation of these attacks. Click here for a translation of the Chinese report on the incident, 11/12. …… (more details from China Aid)

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