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China: Christians Attacked with Stones During Baptism

For background on Orthodox Christianity in China, see here.

For previous coverage of the persecution of Christians in China, see here.

“Christians Attacked with Stones During Baptism,” by Yu Bing, China Aid, September 21, 2022:

(Shenzhen, China—September 21, 2022) During China’s mid-autumn festival, members of Shenzhen Trinity Harvest Gospel Church were attacked as they baptized believers. Passing bystanders threw stones, scolded, and threatened church members on the beach. Wu Lixin and Pastor Mao Zhibin baptized four Christians despite persecution.

Shenzhen Trinity Harvest Gospel Church originally planned to hold the baptism on September 3. However, they postponed due to zero-COVID quarantine measures. Church leadership decided to hold the baptisms on September 10 during the mid-autumn festival.

Authorities previously harassed Trinity Harvest at different baptisms last year. This time, church members tried to keep the event a secret. They did not post on any social media apps, and everything was arranged solely by Pastor Mao Zhibin.

The church arrived at the beach in the morning, and everyone was required to scan their COVID health codes before entering. Consequently, the government became aware of their location. Shenzhen locked down several times throughout this year, everyone was family with constant COVID tests. The church was excited to gather despite the hardships of quarantines and strict regulations. They swam and chatted with each other until noon. Several people approached Pastor Mao Zhibin and said, ”I know you. Don’t perform religious activities here!” Pastor Mao knew the government was aware of the baptism, but he didn’t pay much attention.

After everyone arrived, Pastor Mao gathered everyone for a group picture. Suddenly, more than 20 people showed up. They were not in uniform nor showed their identification, and these individuals tried to stop church members from taking photos.

After taking group pictures, Pastor Mao Zhibin and Wu Lixin walked into the water to baptize believers. More than 10 bystanders started to throw rocks at them. Reports indicate they were instructed by a supervisor at the beach. Countless stones fell around Pastor Mao and Wu. Many congregants took videos, and, fortunately, nobody was injured. Some onlookers tried to block video cameras with their hands.

After the baptism, church members went to a restaurant to celebrate, although they were still monitored by the mysterious crowd. Pastor Mao Zhibin posted on his Facebook page:

Today is the mid-autumn festival of 2022. Our Trinity Harvest Gospel Church baptized believers on the beach, but we were attacked by stones. Thanks to God’s protection and grace, we were able to baptize 2 Brothers and 2 Sisters. I’m deeply moved that the 4 believers were so brave. Although they were faced with threats and stones, they finished the baptism with faith. This reminded me of Jesus’s words: ”Whoever acknowledges me before others, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven (Matthew 10:32).” One sister said after the baptism: ”This is such an unforgettable experience. I feel I’m different now. I no longer fear many of the things I used to fear.”…

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