Multiple churches banned across China

(China—October 20, 2022) The Chinese government continues to close down Christian house churches and other places of worship all across China. Religious freedom in China is getting worse by the day.

On September 26, 2022, the Civil Affairs Bureau of Putian, Fujian Province issued an announcement to ban “Berea Church”:

Upon investigation, “Berea Church” never registered and has been gathering as an unregistered social group, breaking Article 32 of the “Regulations on the Registration and Management of Social Organizations” and Article 2 of the “Interim Measures for Banning Illegal Non-Governmental Organizations.” According to the provisions of Articles 2 and 9 of the “Interim Measures for Banning Illegal Non-Governmental Organizations,” “Berea Church” was banned in accordance with the law.

Announcement of the Putian Civil Affairs Bureau banning "Berea Church”

 

Likewise, Wenzhou Canaan Theological Seminary was dismantled and all the church facilities were destroyed on September 20, 2022. Senior Pastor Huang Jianle, Teacher Liu Shitao, Teacher Shi and Teacher Sun were taken away by the police. All the seminary students were advised to return home.

 

Ealier in the month on September 7, 2022, the “Yangguangzhijia” Reformed Church in Changchun City, Jilin Province, was banned by the Changchun Civil Affairs Bureau. According to official information, the church was banned due to its “unregistered” status and because it was illegal to operate as a social group.

Announcement of Changchun Civil Affairs Bureau Banning " Yangguangzhijia" Reformed Church

 

On August 19, 2022, the Xi’an Civil Affairs Bureau issued an announcement on the dismantling of “Fengsheng” Church, stating:

Upon investigation, “China Gospel Association” (Zhonghuafuyin zonghui),” “China Gospel Association” Xi’an District Federation (Zhonghuafuyin zonghui xi’anqu lianhui), and “Fengsheng” were not registered. They carried out activities in the name of social groups without authorization, and are identified as illegal social organizations. In accordance with Article 32 of the “Regulations on the Registration and Management of Social Organizations” of the State Council and the provisions of Article 2(2) and Article 9 of the “Interim Measures for Banning Illegal Non-Governmental Organizations” of the Ministry of Civil Affairs, the Xi’an Civil Affairs Bureau has issued a decision to ban this illegal social group. The dismantle decision number is: Xi Min Qu Zi [2022] No. 2.

On August 5, 2022, the Civil Affairs Bureau of Lucheng District, Wenzhou City, Zhejiang Province issued an announcement on the shutting down of “Wenzhou Bowen Bible Seminary” and “Wenzhou Bible Seminary.” The contents of the announcement are as follows:

Upon investigation, “Wenzhou Bowen Bible Seminary” and “Wenzhou Bible Seminary” were not registered. They conducted activities in the name of social groups, or private non-enterprise units without authorization, and are identified as illegal social organizations. According to Article 32 of the “Regulations on the Registration and Management of Social Organizations,” Article 27 of the “Interim Regulations on the Registration and Administration of Private Non-Enterprise Units”, and provisions 2 and 9 of the “Interim Measures for Banning Illegal Non-Governmental Organizations” of the Ministry of Civil Affairs, this agency hereby banned “Wenzhou Bowen Bible Seminary” and “Wenzhou Bible Seminary.”

On July 11, 2022, the Civil Affairs Bureau of Tongguan District, Tongling City issued an announcement stating:

Upon a joint investigation, “Aideyuan Fellowship”, “Gongzuozu Fellowship” and “Mu’enge” were carried out in the name of social groups without registration. According to Article 32 of the “Regulations on the Registration and Management of Social Organizations” and provisions 2 and 9 of the “Interim Measures for Banning Illegal Non-Governmental Organizations,” this agency decided to ban these groups.

Announcement of the Civil Affairs Bureau of Tongguan District, Tongling City to Ban the "Aideyuan Fellowship"

 

On May 30, 2022, the Civil Affairs Bureau of Hukou County, Jiujiang City, Jiangxi Province issued an announcement to ban the “Hukou County Jiaxiang Church” The announcement stated:

Upon investigation, the “Hukou County Jiaxiang Church” was not registered and carried out activities in the name of a social organization without authorization, and was identified as an illegal social organization. According to the provisions of Articles 2 and 9 of the “Interim Measures for Banning Illegal Non-Governmental Organizations,” this agency decided to ban it in accordance with the law on May 30, 2022.

On April 21, 2022, the Dalian Civil Affairs Bureau issued an announcement on the banning of the “Anshanghong Church.” The announcement stated:

Upon investigation, the “Anshanghong Church” was not registered and carried out activities in the name of social organizations without authorization. According to Article 32 of the “Regulations on the Registration and Management of Social Organizations” and Articles 2 and 9 of the “Interim Measures for Banning Illegal Non-Governmental Organizations,” this administrative agency has decided to ban “Anshanghong Church” in accordance with the law.

On November 15, 2021, the Civil Affairs Bureau of Duji District, Anhui Province issued an administrative penalty announcement banning “China Hexing Church”. The announcement stated that, “The “China Hexing Church” is an illegal social organization without registration and conducts activities in the name of a social group. According to Article 32 of the “Regulations on the Registration and Management of Social Organizations” and provisions 2 and 9 of “Interim Measures for Banning Illegal Non-Governmental Organizations”, this agency has decided to ban “China Hexing Church”.

 

On April 16, 2021, the Sanya Civil Affairs Bureau of Hainan Province issued an announcement to ban “Liehuo Feiqunying Church”.

 

Announcement of the Sanya Civil Affairs Bureau to ban the "Liehuo Feiqunying Church"

 

On April 8, 2021, the Shaoxing Civil Affairs Bureau of Zhejiang Province issued an announcement to ban “Jiaxi Church (Good News Church)”. The announcement claims the Shaoxing Civil Affairs Bureau received case clues from the City Public Security Bureau, “Jiaxi Church (Good News Church)” related personnel are active in organizing and secret engagement in infiltration behavior through online collusion. Upon investigation, “Jiaxi Church (Good News Church)” carried out activities in the name of social groups without authorization, and are identified as illegal social organizations. According to the relevant provisions of the “Regulations on the Registration and Management of Social Organizations” and the “Interim Measures for Banning Illegal Non-Governmental Organizations,” the bureau banned the “Jiaxi Church (Good News Church)” in accordance with the law and publicly announced the decision in a timely manner.

 

The person in charge of the Shaoxing Civil Affairs Administrative Law Enforcement Detachment said, “Jiaxi Church (Good News Church)” is not only an unregistered and illegal social organization, but also poses greater social danger with its strong religious overtones.” He stated it was the first instance of collabpation between his department and the Public Security Bureau, Ethnic and Religious Affairs Bureau to deal with and ban ‘illegal social organizations of this nature in accordance with the law”.

 

He continued, “In the next step, we will intensify efforts to rectify illegal social organizations, especially for illegal social organizations that are harmful to society. With the coordination and cooperation of the Public Security Bureau, Ethnic and Religious Affairs Bureau and other departments, each one found will be banned. At the same time, we will intensify the notification and exposure to the public, give full play to the role of social supervision, effectively squeeze the activity space of illegal social organizations, and maintain national security, social stability and the general public benefit.”

 

In 2021, the Sichuan Provincial Bureau of Ethnic and Religious Affairs alone announced a list of 16 “illegal social organizations that have been banned.” They are the Faith and Love Fellowship of Jianshan Christian Church in Anyue County, Jiange Branch Church of the “Church of God”, Wuhuang Ningwei Church, The Church of God in Korea Canggi Branch Church, Chengdu Early Rain Shengle Reformed Presbyterian Church, Chengdu Xuanchuan Church, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Ruxing Fellowship, Langzhong Church, Antioch Church, Elim Church, Anju District Raofo Group , Dazhou Haotudi Mission Center, Disciple Association, Deyang Qingcaodi Reformed Presbyterian Church, Bazhong Mount Olive Reformed Church, South Korean Christian “Xintiandi Church” Chengdu Area.

 

The Sichuan Provincial Ethnic and Religious Affairs Bureau also announced two “lists of illegal social organizations to disperse”, namely the Christian Hefeng Township Mission Point and the Bailong Township Christian Mission Points.

 

On April 7, 2021, the Civil Affairs Bureau of Lizhou District, Guangyuan City, Sichuan Province issued an announcement to ban the illegal social organization “Baolun Cedar Church”. The announcement stated:

Upon investigation, “Baolun Cedar Church” carried out activities in the name of social groups without registration, violating Articles 3 and 9 of the “Regulations on the Registration and Management of Social Organizations” and Article 2 of the “Interim Measures for Banning Illegal Non-Governmental Organizations” issued by the Ministry of Civil Affairs, and is an illegal social organization. In accordance with Article 32 of the “Regulations on the Registration and Management of Social Organizations” of the State Council and Article 9 of the Ministry of Civil Affairs’ “Interim Measures for Banning Illegal Non-Governmental Organizations,” it was decided to ban the “Baolun Cedar Church”.

On March 30, 2021, the Civil Affairs Bureau of Cangxi County issued an announcement to ban the illegal social organizations of “Wuhuang Ningwei Church” and “Cangxi Branch of the Korean Church of God”. The announcement stated:

Upon investigation, “Wuhuang Ningwei Church”, and “Cangxi Branch of the Korean Church of God” are not registered and conducted activities in the name of a social groups without authorization. According to the provisions of Article 32 of the “Regulations on the Registration and Management of Social Organizations,” it was decided to ban relevant institutions such as the “Wuhuangningwei Church” and the “Cangxi Branch of the Korean Church of God”.

In addition to closing house churches and seminaries, many Christian schools were impacted and closed across the country. At the same time, many pastors and preachers were arrested, even disappeared, charged and sentenced to various trumped-up charges. The Internet’s control over the speech of Christians has also become increasingly strict. An online website “Jonah’s Home” that has served Chinese Christians for 21 years was shut down in May 2022. Its domain name server in mainland China has been blocked, and the website has been officially shut down. Since announcing the closure of operations, users cannot access the site.

 

On July 5, 2021, the Shanghai Civil Affairs Bureau announced the list of illegal social organizations to be banned and persuaded to disperse in 2021, and the Xinguang Presbyterian Church was included in the list of banned illegal social organizations. In April 2022, the Xinguang Presbyterian Church was included in the list of 10 illegal social organizations whose websites were shut down in the second batch in 2022, their websites and new media accounts were shut down, and relevant associated webpages were cleared. In mainland China, the situation for Christians is getting more and more difficult.

~Yu Bing, ChinaAid Special Correspondent