China Aid Association
(Bozhou, Anhui—Nov. 19, 2014) A house church in China’s coastal Anhui province was threatened by their local religious affairs bureau and neighborhood government in late October. They were warned against hanging crosses on the church’s walls and told not to gather again, lest they be arrested.
“Four or five people from the religious affairs bureau and the neighborhood office came and said that we failed to preach the Gospel at the Three-Self Patriotic Movement (TSPM) church,” said Guo Dejin, an elder at the Jiulingguo House Church in Bozhou, Anhui. “They came to notify us that we must not hang crosses on the wall, we mustn’t gather together here, and that we can go to the Three-Self church if we want to gather together. They wanted us to register our church.”
On Oct. 29, the day after Jiulingguo House Church was harassed, a China Aid reporter contacted the Bajiaotai Neighborhood Office. The person who answered first claimed to know nothing of the incident, but later confirmed that one person from the neighborhood office accompanied individuals from the religious affairs bureau on their trip to threaten the church.
“When they come again, I will ask them to show me the government’s stipulations in black and white,” Guo said. “I’d like to see what stipulations they have.”
“The [church is made up] a group of people coming from a TSPM church,” said Chinese House Church Alliance President Zhang “Bike” Mingxuan. “They live by the life of Christ. They are not living a religious life—it is a church of God, not Christianity.” Zhang told China Aid that Jiulingguo House Church separated from the local TSPM church two years ago, and it is home to 30-40 believers.
“People from the religious affairs bureau and the office went to persecute [the church] and want them to stop gathering. They even took down all the crosses in their church. This is simply religious persecution and will cause disharmony in the society. Their conduct violates the law and regulations on the state of religion.”