Police in Shenzhen, China, interrupted a house church's fifth anniversary event and interrogated participants because they thought new believers might be baptized.
Trinity Gospel Harvest Church in Guangdong province marked its anniversary earlier this month with a group excursion to Huizhou beach, The Christian Post noted.
According to China Aid, on September 5, the church organized a tour to Huizhou Beach for the 5th anniversary of the Church and reserved a hotel for that weekend. Before the trip, however, several members of the State security staff had advised against participating, thus decreasing the number of the party.
On September 4, as the party was ready to check into their hotel after enjoying lunch, the owner abruptly told them that he would reimburse their money and could no longer accommodate them. He had been told that Pastor Mao Zhibin and four other Christians could not stay at any hotel by the nearby police station.
Despite the help of the restaurant owner, who generously gave them a villa, the five Christians on the blacklist struggled to locate accommodations. All area hotels have been informed of their status by the police. Fortunately, they quickly found a place in a farmhouse.
Police officers paid a visit to those staying at the villa around 10 p.m. Two policemen examined everybody's ID and ordered those without one to go find another place. Two policemen examined everyone's ID and told those who didn't have one to go somewhere else. Before being questioned at the police station till 4 a.m. the following day, the owner transferred them to different rooms.
On September 5, the Huizhou beach was packed with police, because Shenzhen and Huizhou municipal officials erroneously believed that the church was baptizing on the beach.
The incident was initially recorded in Chinese and published by the International Christian Church in English.
On July 12, the ICC reported that Chinese Communist Party (CCP) authorities disrupted a church service being conducted remotely via zoom. The service was presided over by Pastor Mao Zhibin and Elder Chu Yanqing. Authorities ordered the two church leaders to cease preaching as more CCP officials circled the church.
On April 25, CCP officials stormed the church's Sunday service. They shut down the church without providing any legal documentation, forced those in attendance to leave, and took church leaders and seven members of the congregation to the Bantian police station.
Pastor Mao later stated:
"Today, joint force officials from the religious affairs bureau, public security department personnel, and national security agency authorities banned our church. We have not faced such a serious situation as this since we founded our church four years ago."
The CCP has been aggressively targeting church members after Pastor Mao and Elder Shen Ling backed Early Rain Covenant Church Pastor Wang Yi's "A Joint Statement by Pastors: A Declaration for the Sake of the Christian Faith."
ChinaAid reported at the time that a video uploaded on Twitter showed a struggle developing during a meeting between two plain-clothes CCP officials and Pastor Mao and Elder Chu on July 11. Pastor Mao and Elder Chu exited the room with the two authorities at the conclusion of the clip.