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Christian Daily: House church harassed by Chinese officials in expanded crackdown

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Christian Daily
Lorraine Caballero
22 June, 2016 7:13 pm

■ A house church in the southern province of Guangdong, China is being harassed by authorities in a growing crackdown on unofficial churches.

Pastor Zhang of Zhongfu Canaan Church was summoned by authorities over the possibility of transferring their church, the minister told China Aid on June 7. The officials, who inquired about their funding and church members, also asked Zhongfu to stop their "illegal gatherings" and become part of the state-sanctioned Three-Self Patriotic Movement (TSPM).

However, Zhang refused to join the TSPM and told the authorities that Zhongfu has existed for a few decades already. After that, their house church started experiencing harassment from officials of various government departments who insist that they need to move out of their location immediately.

Believers take part in a weekend mass at an underground
Catholic church in Tianjin, November 10, 2013.
(Reuters/Kim Kyung-Hoon)
Some government officials accused Zhongfu of operating with inadequate firefighting system. This method of harassment has led Christians in Guangdong and Shenzhen to worry about a growing mission to suppress religious expression.

"The town government [that operates] in the village hasn't come to find us yet, but the landlord said today that officials from the public security, firefighting and various other industry and commerce departments will soon enforce the law here," Pastor Zhang told China Aid. "No [official] has come yet [to enforce], but the landlord is already very frightened. He said, 'You need to move out immediately ...' This is our current circumstance," he continued.

A recent China Aid report reflects that Christian persecution in the communist country has soared sevenfold since 2008. The government is trying to take control of Christian churches and replace Jesus Christ as the head of the church with the authority of the Communist Party, Christian Today details.

The report also reveals that the province of Zheijiang is the worst hit by the anti-Christian crackdown. At the end of 2015, the state has forcibly demolished more than 20 churches, removed 1,300 crosses, arrested more than 500 Christians, and charged at least 28 pastors in the said province.

China Aid Media Team
Cell: (432) 553-1080 | Office: 1+ (888) 889-7757 | Other: (432) 689-6985
Email: media@chinaaid.org
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