Two teachers who were arrested last year for teaching at a church-founded Christian school have had their trial date set for 25 November.
On 27 May 2021, the Xuande School, run but Mount Carmel Church, a house church in Wuhu, was raided. A few dozen national security officers, police officers, and government personnel from the Bureau of Ethnic and Religious Affairs broke into Xuande School’s classrooms and confiscated mobile phones, computers, and books.
They also arrested several teachers, who were tutoring students at the time. The next day, the teachers were criminally detained on suspicion of “illegal business operations”. While six of the teachers were released on bail, two of them, Han Yanlei and Xie Zhifeng, were held in a detention centre for nine months.
One day after the raid, the Wuhu Municipal Bureau of Civil Affairs announced that the Xuande School was shut down. The Bureau stated:
“It is found through investigation that Mount Carmel Church organised events in the name of an NGO without authorisation, so it is determined that the organisation should be shut down in accordance with Regulation on Registration and Administration of Social Organisations Article 32 and Interim Measures for Banning Illegal Non-Governmental Organisations.”
Earlier this year, two of the school’s teachers, Wan Hongxia and Wang Minghai, were officially sued by the government and transferred to the court system. Their trial will be held on 25 November.
Wan Hongxia was a successful businesswoman who later devoted herself to serving the children of the Xuande School. Wan guided the children with her skills and knowledge, as well as her faith. She had a reputation for being gentle in spirit.
Wang Minghai is the associate chief physician in the Gastrointestinal Department at a hospital in Wuhu. In his spare time, Wang volunteered at the church’s school, and with his help, many students who had disliked school became enthusiastic about their learning. Wang was renowned for his work ethic, generosity and humility.
Wan and Wang’s families shared that they pray constantly and have held their faith dear during their imprisonment. They both receive enormous comfort from Jesus Christ, and they plan to testify in court without pleading guilty.
Wan and Wang also say they are willing to bear the cross and be imprisoned with other Christians who are jailed for the sake of the gospel.
Pray for the Lord’s continued comfort and protection over Wan and Wang during their imprisonment.
Pray that their upcoming trial will be conducted fairly and that their bold witness for Christ will have a profound impact on all present.
Pray for Chinese house churches facing extreme forms of persecution. Pray that they will find wisdom, encouragement and strength in Christ.