Government cracks down on Guangdong house churches

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Officials raid Zhongfu Wanmin
Church. (Photo: China Aid)
China Aid
Reported in Chinese by Qiao Nong. Translated by Carolyn Song. Written in English by Brynne Lawrence.

(Foshan, Guangdong—July 12, 2016) Numerous Christians in China’s southern Guangdong province reported similar cases of persecution in the month of June, with many harassments stemming from refusals to join the government-run Three-Self Patriotic Movement (TSPM).

On June 19, authorities raided Vineyard Church in Foshan and confiscated religious supplies. An anonymous Christian said, “We never have freedom, and we’re always attacked [by the government]. What we came across [on June 19] wasn’t just a one or two day incident. We have endured this for a long time.”

“We served in this place for decades and experienced very many hardships,” one Christian said. “It wasn’t just once or twice. A few years ago, we renovated a place that could seat 300 people. After only a month, we received pressure [from the authorities] and had no choice but to move. If we didn’t move, we would have been banned….”

Officials also cut off Vineyard Church’s access to water and electricity last month.

In another Guangdong case, Zhongfu Canaan Church refused the authorities’ prodding to join the TSPM. Their landlord later terminated their rental contract five years early, after receiving pressure from government personnel. The landlord gave the church 15 days to move out of the building.

Similarly, local police officers and the religious affairs bureau told Zhongfu Wanmin Church in Guangzhou that it must join the TSPM or face closure. Additionally, officers stole 2,888 Yuan from the church’s donation box. The church’s pastor, Li Peng, went to the provincial complaints office and attempted to retrieve the cash. The office alleged that it was already dealing with the complaint.

The TSPM is one of two official Christian organizations in China, the Protestant counterpart to the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association. TSPM doctrine often focuses on loyalty to the Communist Party and isolation from foreign influence. Many house church members hold that joining the TSPM would compromise their beliefs.

China Aid reports on abuses, including those experienced by house churches in Guangdong province, in order to promote religious freedom and rule of law in China.

China Aid Media Team
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