House church fined 50,000 yuan



Tuesday, July 3, 2018

A picture of the Hanzhuang Village house
church. (Photo: ChinaAid)
ChinaAid

(Zongdian, Henan—July 3, 2018) Shi Xinping, leader of a house church in the city of Zongdian within Henan Province’s Qi County, received an administrative penalty notice and a fine of 50,000 yuan, which amounts to approximately $7,500.

Authorities from the the ethnic and religious affairs committee in Henan Province’s Qi County have accused Shi of “organizing illegal activities without reporting to the department of religious affairs.” A member of the church named Zhu also stated that the Hanzhuang Village house church received three government notices in the span of a single week. The first warned of possible administrative penalties, the second warned of a ban on the church, and the third threatened further administrative penalties.

Mr. Zhu likewise noted that church members were reluctant to join the official Three-Self Church designated by the government, and the reluctance of the villagers resulted in the financial punishment on account of Article 69 of the Regulations on Religious Affairs.

Local Christians also stated that “the police prevented us from gathering during the Christmas of 2017. A few days ago, the police and the officials from the religious affairs bureaus took pictures at the church. They even took pictures of the chairs, tables, and the air conditioners. Maybe they’ll confiscate them later.”

The Hanzhuang Village house church has more than a decade of history. The present structure was built in 2012 and up to 200 members attend each week. It also provides a convenient meeting place for villagers, who previously had to meet in their homes.

Mr. Zhu also stated that the church does not know how to deal with the 50,000 yuan fine.

ChinaAid seeks to expose abuses against Christian gatherings like that of the Hanzhuang Village house church in order to promote the rule of law, religious freedom, and human rights.

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