China seals the doors, cuts off power & water to persecuted House Church

Chinese authorities placed its official seal on the doors of a persecuted branch of Guangfu Church in southern Guangdong June 23 after forcibly shutting it down.

According to China Aid, authorities from the local Public Security Comprehensive Management Commission sealed and cut off the power and water supply of Taihe Hall, a branch of the persecuted Guangfu Church in Taihe County.

A cross on an underground Catholic church is silhouetted in Tianjin November 10, 2013. | REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoo

Ma "Mark" Chao, head of Guangfu Church, produced the church building's contract and claimed he already spent about 500,000 Yuan (U.S. $75,000) on renovations. However, authorities succeeded in pressuring the building's landlord to prematurely terminate the contract on charges that the landlord lacked the proper certificates.

"I want to tell them that they have to use their power according to proper procedures, even if we have actually violated laws," Ma told China Aid. "We will not only refuse to follow orders, but also sue officers if they don't do things the right way."

A branch of Guangfu Church in the Baiyun District of Guangzhou also suffered a slew of harassments when a dozen officials raided their house church and declared their gatherings "illegal" in May last year. The officials also cut off the church building's water and electricity supply and forced the landlord to terminate their contract prematurely.

They then forced Ma to sign a written notice agreeing to terminate the house church's religious activities.

Ma refused and told them, "You people, you do things that are illegal and go against the will of the people. I say you should follow your own laws and regulations in enforcing the law, and I'll act according to my own religious beliefs."

Ma lodged an official complaint over the forced closure of the house church in Baiyun after authorities sealed off the church's doors. This, however, only led to clashes between the police and church members who continued to hold services in the building's hallway.

Members of Guangfu Church faced reported continued persecution throughout the years regardless of the location they chose to hold their religious meetings.