Court rejects Christians' appeal, orders house church demolition

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

A religious service at Huaqiu Church,
which local authorities plan to destroy.
(Photo: China Aid)
China Aid
Reported in Chinese by Qiao Nong. Translated by Carolyn Song. Written in English by Brynne Lawrence.

(Huaqiu, Guizhou—Jan. 5, 2016) A court in China’s southern Guizhou ruled in favor of seizing a house church declared an “illegal building” on Dec. 29.

On July 1, 2014, the Bureau of Land and Resources in Tongzi County issued a notice to Huaqiu Church, a house church that was built two months prior, that alleged that Christians constructed the building illegally, despite church attendees obtaining the correct documents and government ratification, and called for its destruction. The church members sued the Bureau of Land and Resources in April and requested that the penalties be overturned, but the court upheld the original decision. As a result, they decided to appeal, but their appeal was rejected on Dec. 29.

A Christian surnamed Mou revealed what he believes to be the real motive behind the officials’ decision to confiscate Huaqiu Church: “They have been always pushing us to register [as a Three-Self church], but we won’t.  Now, they have no way to deal with [us], and claim to take away our property.” Similarly, authorities pressured other house churches to join the Three-Self church after a new one was built in 2015.

The court reiterated their intention to destroy the church by not including it in a new village plan, and the church consulted a lawyer concerning plans bring their lawsuit to the Guizhou High Court.

When a China Aid reporter reached out to the local religious affairs bureau to inquire about the situation, the officials insisted that religious institutions must receive the approval of the provincial government before constructing a building.

China Aid seeks to expose religious freedom abuses, such as those experienced by Huaqiu Church, in order to promote religious freedom and rule of law in China.

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