China Aid Association
(Lichuan, Jiangxi province– August 15, 2012) On August 7, 2012, three staff members of Houcun house church in Lichuan County, Jiangxi Province, were summoned to the county government by the Religious Affairs Bureau and the police, and were coerced to join the ‘“Three-Self” Patriotic Commission.’ The purpose of the summons is to force church staff to annually submit all names of believers being baptized to the government, or suffer the church being banned from gathering. The government also threatened to incarcerate believers in detention and labor camps if the church continued to meet after being banned. Submitting the names of baptized believers is allegedly a “legal” requirement for joining the government-controlled ‘“Three-Self” Patriotic Movement.’
On June 6, 2012, the summer camp held by this church was raided and banned by government agencies including the police and the Religious Affairs Bureau. A computer and overhead projector were confiscated, and three teachers were taken into custody for interrogation. The regular worship activities of the church were severely disrupted. The three teachers were released later that day. ChinaAid called the police station to have the confiscated church property returned, thereafter the computer and overhead projector were returned to the church and the church was able to resume its regular gatherings。
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China Aid Association is greatly disturbed by the government’s attempted coercion of the house church, and condemns it. ChinaAid urges the government agencies of Lichuan County to stop coercing the church immediately and to respect citizens’ right to religious freedom; ChinaAid will keep close watch of further developments.