SHANGHAI--On November 2, more than 30 officials from Shanghai Municipal Public Security Bureau, the State Administration on Religious Affairs (SARA) and two other government agencies forced entry into the Wanbang Missionary Church of Shanghai. They singled out Cui Quan, the senior pastor of the church, and the leaders from the different agencies interrogated him one by one. They accused the church of holding an illegal gathering and ordered the members to cease their meetings indefinitely. Meanwhile, Shanghai Municipal Public Security Bureau police stations around the city conducted interrogated other major church partners affiliated with Wanbang Missionary Church. They police officers unanimously concluded that the church was meeting illegally, and they subsequently threatened the church leaders, banning the church, and forbidding them from meeting in the future.
Wanbang Missionary Church came under fire by the local authorities earlier this year, when SARA officials tried to disband the 4th Seminar of the Chinese Urban House Church Pastors Fellowship, hosted by the church in February. Under the threat of cancellation, Wanbang Church moved their conference to another location, and later discovered their landlord was being pressured to terminate their rental contract withing the following 30 days. View the Press Release from February 14, 2009.
Wanbang Missionary Church of Shanghai has a congregation of about 1,200 and is one of the most influential urban house churches in China. The brazen persecution of the church by the government is a sign that the government’s persecution of house churches is escalating.
[Source: China Aid Association]