|Photo: Members of the Zhongfu Wumin
church attend service.
(Source: China Aid)
By Ava Collins
(Dongguan, Guangdong—Sept. 25, 2015) A church pastor in China’s coastal Guangdong filed an appeal claiming the “Notice to Cease Illegal Religious Activities” given to his house church was unlawful.
Dongguan officials issued a notice to Zhongfu Wumin Church on Aug. 23 prohibiting further meetings. On Sept. 8, the church’s pastor, Liu Peng, filed an appeal, disputing the validity of the notice.
After filing the appeal, Liu was summoned by a subsidiary of the Dongguan Municipal Ethnic and Religious Affairs Bureau to discuss its contents. During this time, authorities asked Liu various questions about the operations of his church, such as how many members currently attend, whether their venue is rented or purchased, how many full-time and part-time employees are on staff, and why the group has not registered with the official church, the Three-Self Patriotic Movement.
The church’s appeal states that the articles that the notice claims the church violated are invalid, as they defy the Constitution of the People’s Republic of China, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
The appeal claims that under Chinese law, religious meeting places should have the option to be registered but should not need to obtain licenses or permits and that authorities who demand such documentation are in violation of the constitutional protection of religious freedom. The document also points out that Article 5 of China’s constitution states that “No law or administrative or local rules and regulations shall contravene the constitution.”
China Aid provides legal aid to churches that experience persecution, such as Zhongfu Wumin Church, in order to expose the abuses and encourage the abused. To help churches fight unjust persecution, please consider giving a gift.