|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 Carolyn Song. Edited in English by Ava Collins.
(Zunyi, Guizhou—Nov. 9, 2015) Guizhou officials from various organizations, including Communist Party Secretaries from 14 villages, raided a training held by a house church on Oct. 28.
Members of the Tongzi County police, the local religious affairs bureau, and the public security bureau interrupted the morning training session in an attempt to disperse the gathering and pressure church leaders to register with the government-sanctioned Three-Self Patriotic Movement.
“The [Tongzi] County Religious Affairs Bureau and local police station called [Chinese Communist] Party Secretaries from 14 villages to suppress our church members, who are no longer allowed to gather,” the leader of the church, surnamed Mou, told China Aid’s reporter on Nov. 8.
Mou said that the county government established an official Three-Self church five years ago, but that their membership of around 50 was too low to meet criteria. Mou believes the Huaqiu House Church, with a membership of more than 200, was pressured to join with the Three-Self church in order to boost numbers.
“They commanded us to join with the [Three-Self] church in Tongzi County, which currently has 50-60 people. The Religious Affairs Bureau wants to build a large church, but they don’t have enough members, so [the authorities] are forcing us to join their government church,” Mou said.
Huaqiu House Church was also part of a lawsuit with the local ministry of land and resources, regarding the self-financed construction of the church’s building on private land. The building was closed down for allegedly not having proper certification. Though the courts ruled against the church in the first trial, the church’s lawyer, surnamed Liu, said the facts in court were unclear and insufficient. The church is currently awaiting another administrative reconsideration trial.