After court hearing, government forces church to pay fine



Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Huang Xiaoning, pastor of Bible Reformed
Church, poses with his family.
(Photo: ChinaAid)
ChinaAid

(Guangzhou, Guangdong—July 31, 2018) Yesterday afternoon, authorities informed Bible Reformed Church that it is upholding a decision to fine the congregation 50,000 yuan [$7,453.75 USD] just two weeks after they combatted the penalty in court.

On Monday, law enforcement officers delivered the ticket from the local religious affairs bureau to the church’s pastor, Huang Xiaoning. Upon receiving it, Huang said that someday the government would be held accountable for its illegal actions.

Last month, officials broke into Bible Reformed Church in the middle of a service, ordered the attendees to stop gathering, and took down information from their ID cards. Huang and three other Christians were taken to a government office and interrogated for hours.

Five days later, the authorities imposed the fine, and the church requested a hearing to fight it. On July 15, just a day before the hearing, agents from the religious affairs bureau, the State Food and Drug Administration, and a law enforcement group raided the church again, and the Panyu District Religious Affairs Bureau issued him a Rectification Notice, which asked that they stop holding religious activities. The hearing was held on July 16, and local religious affairs personnel maintained that the church violated rules and regulations regarding venues, pastor obligations, and offerings. However, the church argued that the government had acted illegally during the collection and hearing of evidence.

Article 36 of the Chinese Constitution mandates that all citizens have religious freedom and forbids government bodies or individuals from interfering with this right. As such, Huang said that they would fight for their rights by applying for administrative review.

ChinaAid exposes abuses, such as those experienced by the Bible Reformed Church, in order to stand in solidarity with persecuted Christians and promote religious freedom, human rights, and rule of law.


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