A prominent Protestant house church pastor in Beijing is reportedly denied of his pension amid the government imposed crackdown on faith.
Xu Yonghai, a prominent pastor of a house church in Beijing has been denied his state pension, Radio Free Asia reported.. Officials of the Beijing municipal government service center allegedly turned the pastor of an unofficial Protestant house church away after trying to claim his COVID-19 state pension. The officials instead cited him for his criminal records.
Xu, who just turned 60 and is now supposed to be entitled to a state pension, headed towards the service center to claim his first pension. However, he went home without the aide that he sought for his personal and medical needs.
"What am I supposed to do now?" Xu said. "I don't have any money to live on, nor to get medical treatment if I need it," the former head of Beijing Sheng'ai Protestant Family Church Fellowship added.
The government previously filed a lawsuit against Xu for allegedly leaking state secrets overseas. The claim came out after the prominent pastor campaigned for a jailed Chinese Christian back in 2004.
Police officers repeatedly detained Xu over the said claims. Authorities would only hold Xu shortly and release him afterwards.
Ni Yulan, a church elder who is also a Beijing-based housing rights activist said that a citizen in the country can only get a retirement pension upon the approval of the ones in power. This meant that Xu's family had to rely on his wife's income for their needs.
Ni, who was also denied of her state pension, said Xu's wife resigned from work and had to find a different job. She resigned after being moved to a different place when Xu was arrested. Now Xu and his family rely on his wife's salary alone for their sustenance.
"A lot of my income from employment during [my working] years was given over to the state, to my employer, to contribute to my pension," the pastor said. "That money should be mine, and now they've taken it away from me," Xu added, thinking if he will still be able to get the money he worked hard for and expecting to provide for his retirement needs.
Xu and Ni's experiences are just some of the recent reports on Christians undergoing oppression due to their faith. News surfaced online one after the other about churches and church leaders experiencing harassment.
In the provincial capital, Chengdu, police officers raided a homeschooling group handled by members of Early Rain Covenant Church. The banned church confirmed the raid through a Facebook post on Jan. 14.
"The police are now raiding the home. There are a large number of police officers outside and inside of brother Liang Huali and Sister Shu Qiong's home, and they are currently removing brother Liang's personal belongings. Please pray!" the church pleaded in the post.
"They took away many of Brother Liang's personal belongings and brought him to the police station," Zhang, a Protestant church member said. "They didn't release them until the same evening, and slapped [Liang] in the face," the post said.
Liang Huali and Shu Qiong occupied a sub-divided apartment in Chengdu where children go to play during homeschooling. They allowed the children to play in the place as the city implemented the COVID 19 restrictions.
Meanwhile, the government issued an ordinance ordering churches in Beijing to stop gathering. Christians now resorted to online gatherings and people are encouraged to report violators to the authority.