China works to eradicate house churches, persecution increases

A paper seal over the doors of a
Guangdong house church.
(Photo: China Aid)

China Aid
Reported and written in Chinese by Qiao Nong. Translated by Carolyn Song. Edited in English by Ava Collins.

(Guangzhou, Guangdong—Dec. 11, 2015) An increased crackdown on house churches and Christians has resulted in various incidents over the past week, including raids, threats and pressure to join government-sanctioned churches.

An anonymous pastor from an official Three-Self Patriotic Movement church said that as of December, Chinese authorities will increase efforts to stop house church activities and list religious work as “of primary importance among current priorities.” The goals of this new effort will limit the growth of family churches, reduce the number of churches in cities, prevent gatherings of more than ten people, and restrict the immigration of international pastors seeking to engage in religious work in China.

“[The authorities] came to see me once—three people: one from the public security bureau, one from the religious affairs bureau, and one from the sub-district office,” an anonymous house church pastor in Guangdong said. “They said that we aren’t allowed to meet until Feb. 22. One of them added that if we met together tomorrow [Dec. 8], he would bring 100 men and 200 policemen to stop us.”

Another house church in downtown Guangzhou said authorities posted a banner over their church’s entrance. The pastor, who also insisted upon anonymity, said that the banner instructed citizens to “carry out religious activities according to the law and resolutely resist illegal religious acts.”

In response to escalating attacks against house churches, pastors from both Three-Self and unregistered churches in Zhejiang, Fujian, Hubei, Liaoning and other provinces met in Yiwu, Zhejiang, to discuss the current situation. During the meeting in mid-November, Three-Self pastors disclosed that the central government would be strictly banning house churches.

“Right now there are some people who have talked to me, saying that [government officials] have begun looking for them,” a member of these meetings said. “There is no specific action yet. Central authorities have just launched this thing, and we don’t know what the extent of it will be.”

China Aid seeks to expose abuses of religious freedom faced by house churches like these and works to aid those who face persecution for their beliefs.

China Aid Contacts
Rachel Ritchie, English Media Director
Cell: (432) 553-1080 | Office: 1+ (888) 889-7757 | Other: (432) 689-6985
Email: [email protected]

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