Zhejiang officials shut down house church for ‘violating religious affairs regulations’

Thursday, November 26, 2015

House churches in China are often
persecuted and are sometimes shut
down or demolished. This photo shows
members of the Zhongfu Wumin
Church, a house church in Guangdong,
attending a gathering.
(Photo: China Aid)
China Aid
Reported and written in Chinese by Qiao Nong. Translated by Brynne Lawrence. Edited in English by Ava Collins.

(Wenzhou, Zhejiang—Nov. 26, 2015) Authorities in China’s coastal Zhejiang shut down a house church on Nov. 13 for “violating religious affairs regulations.”

Officials from the Rui’an Municipal branch of the Wenzhou Municipal Religious Affairs Bureau issued an administrative penalty hearing notice to Zhang Renai, the leader of Yaochi Garden Christian Church, indicating that the church had never completed the procedures establishing a location for religious gatherings.

China Aid’s reporter, Qiao Nong, spoke with a religious affairs bureau official regarding the incident who claimed it was “not convenient to talk about.” The official said that, “If our bureau wrote this notice, it is the truth,” and suggested the reporter speak with the Riu’an Municipal Propaganda Department.

The propaganda department did not answer the phone when called.

An employee from a different religious affairs bureau in Rui’an said that all illegal meetings would be suppressed. When asked for clarification on whether the suppression would be at the city or province level, the employee stated that question was “something [the reporter] needs to ask a specialized department.”

Pastor Zhang Mingxuan, president of the Chinese House Church Alliance, spoke with the reporter on Nov. 17 about the current state of house churches in the area.

“[This case in] Rui’an is about a house church,” Zhang said. “All of the churches that the officials want to crack down on are house churches. Government-sanctioned religion is very strict. Though there are some places that are more lenient, others are very severe. Currently, Christian churches face various degrees of coercion from the government in different locations. In some areas, believers dare not speak out, in others they do, and that is the current state of affairs.”

China Aid works to expose instances of government persecution often faced by house churches like Yaochi Garden Christian Church.

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