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CHINA: Increased Pressure on House Church Gatherings

According to Christians in China’s central Henan province, the local public security bureaus and religious affairs bureaus have started targeting house church members with threats and fines since early February.

A new initiative in Nanyang, Henan, explicitly forbids any kind of religious gatherings in people’s homes. Anyone caught attending or hosting meetings outside of a registered religious venue will be subject to a fine of 30,000 yuan ($6,100 AUD). All Christians in the area are ordered to join an officially registered church.

China’s current religious policy dictates that only Buddhism, Taoism, Islam, Protestant Christianity, and Catholicism — which are officially recognised by the state — are legal for citizens to participate in, and they may only do so in churches, mosques, or temples operated by the government. The official Chinese Protestant church is known as the Three-Self Patriotic Movement, named for its principles of self-governance (no recognition of religious authorities from outside China), self-support (no financial ties to foreign organisations), and self-propagation (no influence from foreign missionaries).

Because most of these churches are instructed to teach loyalty to the Communist Party and the Chinese State and often teach propaganda over the actual tenets of these faiths, many faithful religious adherents choose to meet outside of the official religious system, in groups known as house churches or underground churches.

Communist Party officials are not allowed to believe in any religion, nor are children, students, or members of the Chinese military. In Shandong province, government agencies are investigating Communist Party members to ensure that they are not religious.

Source: China Aid

  • Praise God for the faithfulness of Chinese believers, pray they will not be tempted to give up meeting with one another but continue to encourage each another in the faith.
  • Pray the Lord will continue to spread the Gospel throughout China, even the to the highest state authorities.
  • Pray the Gospel will be preached faithfully in all churches across China.

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