Court rejects Christians’ appeal, orders house church demolition

A religious service at Huaqiu Church,
which local authorities plan to destroy.
(Photo: China Aid)
China Aid
Reported in
Chinese by Qiao Nong. Translated by Carolyn Song. Written in English by Brynne
Lawrence.
(Huaqiu, Guizhou—Jan. 5, 2016) A
court in China’s southern Guizhou ruled in favor of seizing a house church declared
an “illegal building” on Dec. 29.
On
July 1, 2014, the Bureau of Land and Resources in Tongzi County issued a notice
to Huaqiu Church, a house church that was built two months prior, that alleged
that Christians constructed the building illegally, despite church attendees
obtaining the correct documents and government ratification, and called for its
destruction. The church members sued the Bureau of Land and Resources in April
and requested that the penalties be overturned, but the court upheld the
original decision. As a result, they decided to appeal, but their appeal was
rejected on Dec. 29.
A
Christian surnamed Mou revealed what he believes to be the real motive behind
the officials’ decision to confiscate Huaqiu Church: “They have been always pushing
us to register [as a Three-Self church], but we won’t.  Now, they have no way to deal with [us], and
claim to take away our property.” Similarly, authorities pressured other house
churches to join the Three-Self church after a new one was built in 2015.
The
court reiterated their intention to destroy the church by not including it in a
new village plan, and the church consulted a lawyer concerning plans bring
their lawsuit to the Guizhou High Court.
When
a China Aid reporter reached out to the local religious affairs bureau to
inquire about the situation, the officials insisted that religious institutions
must receive the approval of the provincial government before constructing a
building.
China
Aid seeks to expose religious freedom abuses, such as those experienced by
Huaqiu Church, in order to promote religious freedom and rule of law in China.


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

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