Ultimatum forces choice of truth or government monitoring for Guangdong church

Monday, July 31, 2017

Guangfu Church members gather for
a church service. (Photo: ChinaAid)

(Guangzhou, Guangdong—July 31, 2017) Authorities in China’s southern Guangdong province gave a house church pastor an ultimatum on Wednesday: join the state-run church or be subjected to extensive government monitoring.

On July 26, officials summoned Ma Ke, pastor of Guangfu Church, to the police station and told him the church could either become a government-run Three-Self Patriotic Movement or comply with specialized personnel sent to watch the congregation. The church refused the first option, citing a belief that house churches and Three-Self Churches followed different theological avenues and saying that their church already experienced surveillance.

Guangfu Church has been a constant target of government persecution over the past few years. After accusing the church members of “organizing illegal religious activities,” authorities banned all of the church’s meeting places in 2015 and confiscated some of its materials. Undeterred, the church members still met outside of their building’s walls, and Ma filed an administrative lawsuit in an attempt to get the officials to revoke their decision. His requests were rejected, which prompted him to seek the audience of higher officials, but those were declined as well.

Ma later reported that a recent attempt to renew his residential permit failed after a government computer locked him out. Other church members reported similar occurrences.

ChinaAid reports abuses, such as those suffered by the members of Guangfu Church, in order to promote religious freedom, human rights, and rule of law.

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