On August 7, nine officials of Golden Lampstand Church in Fushan County, located at the Chinese city of Linfen in China's Shanxi province, were detained, a report reveals. The arrested officials included the church's Pastor Wang Xiaoguang and his wife Yang Rongli.

According to ChinaAid, when Linfen authorities launched a major campaign in July against church leaders, they also called Chinese leaders from other churches connected to the Golden Lampstand Church for questioning.

The persecution watchdog also noted that Pastor Wang was previously incarcerated for three years, as was his wife, Preacher Yang, for seven years

According to the correspondent, authorities are mainly targeting Golden Lampstand Church and Christians who choose to "hold fast" to their faith, particularly those who refuse to budge despite facing another wave of persecution from the Chinese Communist Party.

More than a decade of growth and persecution

 In a little more than a decade, the church grew from less than 100 members to over 50,000. They refused to join the Three-Self Church or register with the Religious Affairs Bureau, as required by law. Consequently, leaders and members of the church have faced numerous persecutions in the years that followed.

Since 2004, local government authorities have routinely disconnected residents' water and electricity. On September 13, 2009, police brutally attacked Christians who were asleep in their homes at the time.

Preacher Yang and six other church leaders decided to go to Taiyuan to petition higher authorities, but police stopped them on their way. And, when they turned down a government offer of 10 million (1,541,782 USD) to purchase the Golden Lampstand Church, authorities reportedly put them under 24-hour surveillance or house arrest.

On November 25, 2009, Yaodu District Court sentenced them to jail after declaring them guilty of "illegally occupying farmland" and "assembling a crowd to disturb traffic order."

On January 9, 2018, a demolition team from the local CCP authorities destroyed their place of worship, causing it to totally collapse. Several members say that they were forced to watch the demolition from a distance while authorities put a line of police tape around the demolition site to prevent anyone from going too close to the site or taking photographs or videos of the incident.

According to ChinaAid, members of Golden Lampstand Church, a large house church in Fushan County, donated a total of 17 million ($2,621,029 USD) from their own pockets to build their church edifice.

About the founders

Pastor Wang and Preacher Yang formerly worked for Shanxi Normal University. They quit their careers and began serving as ministers full time in 1998.

Preacher Yang, who is well-known among house churches in the Linfen region, became a Christian at an early age.

Pastor Wang, on the other hand, has written more than ten bible-based books which give an in-depth presentation on the subject of house churches in China.

In his book, "Theology of the Cross," which was reportedly based on Martin Luther's "Theology of the Cross," he devised four theological concepts for use in China's house churches. Since 1998, the church has grown from less than 100 members to more than 50,000 members, thanks to the efforts of the couple and other church leaders.