Churches in Henan Heavily Regulated

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

September 7, 2010
HENAN — Religious persecution in China very often takes indirect forms. Though local governments have publicly banned churches in the past, more recently the government has resorted to other methods of religious restrictions, such as citing breaches of “building codes” in order to evict faith groups from their houses of worship and destroy church buildings. Following the recent attack on the Taishan Christian Church in Zheijiang, ChinaAid obtained a copy of an internal government document from the Zhengzhou Municipal People's Government in Henan, explaining conditions which disqualify places of worship from being used for religious activities.    
Supplementary Notice on the Examination Plan of Creating “Harmonious Temples and Churches”
The document is primarily used to regulate Three Self Churches, but it can also be used against house churches.  It is a tool for government authorities who want to purge any gathering (such as house churches) by labeling them “inharmonious”  or disruptive to society. 
This document comes out of one of the worst areas of persecution in China. The following are a few examples from this year:
Because local authorities determine what constitutes a “harmonious” society, it is easy for them to label any house church inharmonious, or disruptive of the social order.  In some of the cases above, government officials in Henan accused house churches of “cult” activities without any proof. 

These unwarranted actions and other restrictive controls on the churches, such as regulating which speakers are permitted to attend to church meetings, and what they can speak about, directly violate the principles of religious freedom. Until the religious freedoms of the faithful in Henan and throughout China can be guaranteed, Chinese officials will continue to jeopardize the social harmony they seek to promote.

ChinaAid calls on the Chinese government to take measures to ensure religious freedom in Henan, insisting that local authorities ease their oppressive regulations against places of worship.  We urge the international community to stand with us as we continue to fight for the persecuted faithful. 

China Aid Contacts
Rachel Ritchie, English Media Director
Cell: (432) 553-1080 | Office: 1+ (888) 889-7757 | Other: (432) 689-6985