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Li Yingqiang and his wife. - Photo: WeChat via ChinaAid www.chinaaid.org
Li Yingqiang and his wife.
Photo: WeChat via ChinaAid

In December 2018, security forces raided the Early Rain Covenant Church in Chengdu, Sichuan. More than a hundred members were arrested, including Pastor Wang Yi, who has since been sentenced to nine years in prison. The location where the congregation met has been demolished and authorities have officially banned all future gatherings. Despite these measures, members of the church have sought alternate ways to continue meeting for worship and share the message of the Gospel. In response, security forces have continued to intimidate church members.

On October 11th, Xuewei Jia was taken for interrogation because he had participated in a retreat service. According to his social media account, he was forced into a van, verbally abused, and interrogated for eight hours. To avoid reacting in anger, Xuewei chose to respond with silence, despite the relentless physical and verbal abuse he encountered. He was eventually allowed to return home.

Li Yingqiang, an elder of Early Rain Covenant Church, was often responsible for releasing updates on the situation since the initial arrests in 2018. On the morning of October 25th, police entered his home, as well as the home of a fellow church member, Xiao Luobiao, and his family. At the time of the raids, these Christians were participating in online worship. Both Li and Xiao were detained until that afternoon. Li was forced to delete all tweets from his Twitter account and ordered to remove the listed names of all his followers.

In an effort to intimidate Li and his family, police also forced them to leave their home in Chengdu, escorting them to the city of Leshan which is about 180 kilometres away. Before arriving to the city, Li signed a lease in hopes of avoiding expulsion. Nevertheless, the harassment of officials resumed a week later.

On November 3rd, police arrived at Li's new location, demanding "demographic information." The next day, they called him several times, asking for details about the lease. Despite Li's refusal to provide the names of his new landlords, police made contact with them and ordered that the lease be rescinded. Having been forced again to leave their home, Li is requesting prayer for him and his family: "May the Lord provide us a place...(helping) us lean on His grace and guidance as we take each step...so we can bear witness to His justice and mercy." To learn more about the ongoing persecution experienced by the members of the Early Rain Covenant Church, visit our list of reports.

Please join us in praying for Li and his family, asking the Lord to provide them protection and a safe new home. As they wait on God leading, may they be filled with renewed strength and encouragement moment by moment. Also remember to intercede for the other members of the Early Rain Covenant Church during this season of heightened persecution, including the imprisoned Pastor Wang. While praising God for their unwavering faith in the midst of difficulty, continue to prayerfully uphold them so that they will have the courage and resolve to remain obedient to our King. Finally, ask God, in His mercy, to touch the hearts of His opposers, in hopes that they too will walk in the love and salvation of Christ.

Current Ministry Projects

The Voice of the Martyrs Canada continues to help distribute Bibles to Christians in the country, making it possible for them to have their own printed version of God's Word. Additionally, VOMC works with various mission partners to facilitate a Biblical understanding of persecution and discipleship, while presenting ways to effectively respond and minister within the context of hostility.

Project Funds: Bibles, Equipping the Saints, Underground Church

Country Information

Designation
Persecuted

Population
1,394,015,977 (July 2020 est.)

Ethnicity (%)
Han Chinese (91.6), Zhuang (1.3), Other (7.1)

Religion (%)
Buddhism (18.2), Christianity (5.1), Islam (1.8), folk religion (21.9), Hinduism (<0.1), Judaism (<0.1), other (0.7), unaffiliated (52.2)

Leader
President Xi Jinping (2013)

Government type
Communist party-led state

Legal system
Based on civil law system; influenced by Soviet and continental European civil law systems

Sources: CIA World Factbook

Pray for China

Pray that the Gospel will be proclaimed throughout China without government interference so many more names can be added to the Lamb's "Book of Life." May there also be a spirit of unity demonstrated among the country's growing churches, further strengthening existing believers and spurring them on in their ministry service and evangelistic outreach within the country's numerous communities.

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