Historic churches face banning, demolition

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Officials from different
government departments
harass Xunsiding Church.
(Photo: ChinaAid)

(Xiamen, Fujian—May 21, 2019) Authorities banned a historic church in China’s southeastern Fujian province on Sunday and conducted a demolition attempt against another one located in Tianjin.

On May 19, 70 officials from various government departments dispatched to Xunsiding Church, claiming they needed to inspect it, and posted an administrative penalty notice. The notice, issued by the Siming District Ethnic and Religious Affairs Bureau, accused Pastor Yang Xibo of running the church without approval and therefore violating China’s Regulations on Religious Affairs. As punishment, the bureau is fining the church 25,000 yuan ($3,622.00 USD).

The notice also grants Yang the right to appeal within three days of receiving the notice, to which Yang said, “We will appeal, the government will convene a hearing, and we will persevere in walking according to legal procedures.”

He is, however, uncertain of the church’s future.

In order to assert their control over religion, China’s regulations require that all venues for religious practice register with the government and subject themselves to official monitoring. As a result, operation without approval charges are often leveraged against churches in an attempt to keep Christianity under government control.

The church previously underwent persecution on May 18, 2018, when a kindergarten it runs was urged to close, and many parents congregated by the school’s gates to pray. On Jan.14 of this year, the church and the kindergarten were raided simultaneously, the school was demolished.

The century-old Xigu Church in Tianjin faced demolition at the hands of the authorities on Sunday as well, and the church’s pastor was hit so badly he had to be hospitalized.

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