|Chinese churches are often closed for
not complying with demands.
(Photo: China Aid Stock Photo)
Reported and written in Chinese by Qiao Nong. Translated by Brynne Lawrence. Edited in English by Ava Collins.
(Zunyi, Guizhou—October. 23, 2015) A house church in China’s inland Guizhou province faces closure after the local court rejected the church’s administrative reconsideration appeal.
Members of the Huaqiu House Church raised 500,000 Yuan (U.S. $79,000) and constructed a church building in May 2014 after receiving a certificate of approval for the self-financed project. On July 1, 2014, officials from the local ministry of land and resources issued a notice that the construction did not have the correct legal certification and filed a lawsuit against the church to close it down.
The court decided against the church in the first trial, prompting Huaqiu House Church to appeal for reconsideration in April 2015. In August, the court ruled to uphold the initial decision, leaving the church in danger of being closed down once more.
An official from the Tongzi County Religious Affairs Bureau told China Aid’s reporter Qiao Nong over the phone that the church needed to get government verification and approval at the provincial level, even when building on their own land.
A church employee surnamed Mou said government officials told him that the only way to protect the church was to register with the Three-Self Patriotic Movement, the state-approved Protestant church. “They wanted me to go to the religious affairs bureau and register. They tried to force us.”
Mou told the reporter that the church has a lawyer representing the case, and they will continue to appeal this decision. “I believe their ruling is erroneous, and it isn’t truly in accordance with the truth or the law. Closing down the church is wrong.” Mou also said that the next court date has not yet been determined.