Religious Affairs Bureau Orders Closure of "Grace Holy Love" House Church in Inner Mongolia

Saturday, May 11, 2013

China Aid Association

(Alashan, Inner Mongolia–May 11, 2013) Local religious affairs authorities in Inner Mongolia have banned a house church, giving it a deadline to shut down and to register with the local government-sanctioned Three-Self church to participate in its activities.

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The full text of the two-page April 13 document issued by the Alashan Left Banner Religious Affairs Bureau of Alashan (Alxa) ordering the closure of the Grace Holy Love (Enhui Shen'ai) House Church reads as follows:

"In accordance with the requirements of administering and reorganizing Christian 'house churches' in Alashan Meng [prefecture], the Banner's Religious Affairs Bureau has conducted a serious and careful investigation and examination of religious sites throughout the Banner. It has found out that a privately established Christian gathering site headed by Huriledai has been in place for a long time, with frequent activities and a large congregation. They disregard the relevant stipulations in the Regulations for Religious Affairs and are not willing to accept the correct guidance and management of the government's religious affairs departments. They have have shown a tendency of illegal expansion, causing extremely negative social impact, seriously disrupting the otherwise normal religious activities in the entire Banner and obstructing the normal administration of religious affairs by the departments in charge of religious affairs. To ensure a good situation of religious harmony throughout the entire Banner and pursuant to Article 43 of the Regulations on Religious Affairs that states: “Where a site for religious activities is established without approval,…the religious affairs department shall ban such site …,” the order is hereby given that, upon receipt of this notice by the believers of Grace Holy Love Church, they shall immediately stop their illegal meetings and must go together before April 17 to register with the Christian church in Bayanhot in accordance with the law to participate in its activities. Alashan Left Banner Religious Affairs Bureau. April 3, 2013."

It is clear that this Inner Mongolia document bears a lot of similarities with the document issued by the United Front Work Department of Jiaozhou, Shandong province that ChinaAid obtained and reported on last month ( Both require serious and careful investigations of house churches and verification of whether these house churches are willing to accept management by the government's religious affairs departments. They also formulated and adopted measures to handle suggestions. Both of these documents reflect the Chinese government's plan formulated in 2011to “abolish the house churches in 10 years."

In September 2011, at the State Administration for Religious Affairs's first training class for “Patriots in the Christian Community,” a secret document jointly issued by the State Administration for Religious Affairs and the ministries of Public Security and Ministry for Civil Affairs was circulated with the stated aim of eradicating house churches, primarily through:

1.Phase One: from Jan. to June 2012, conduct thorough, intensive and secret investigations of house churches throughout the country and create files on them.
2. Phase Two: in two to three years, concentrate on cleaning up the “house churches” that have been investigated and have had files created.
3. Phase Three: in 10 years’ time, completely wipe out “house churches.”

Phases One and Two took place in 2012, as confirmed by reports collected by ChinaAid. Throughout China, many house churches and their leaders have been examined and investigated, and their information has been archived and they have been the target of suppression. Based on the facts observed so far this year, Phases One and Two are still being implemented.

Though some overseas observers of China's churches once took a wait-and-see and doubtful attitude toward the facts reported by ChinaAid, naively thinking that the Chinese government would not have such a plan of eradicating house churches, these new documents and the implementation measures further prove that this plan is still being carried out at the local level.


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