ChinaAid (03.06.2018) – https://bit.ly/2HrVoMK – As of the end of May, almost 100 house churches have been shut down in China’s central Henan province. Additionally, authorities have also ordered official churches to remove the crosses from their buildings.
Henan has been the site of a widespread crackdown against Christians, both within official government-run churches of the Three-Self Patriotic Movement and the unregistered gatherings of underground house churches.
According to a Christian named Chen from Ningling County, the local government ordered all local churches to take down their crosses, otherwise the government would send crews to forcibly demolish them.
Another Christian named Wang confirmed the story. “The government aimed at the Three-Self churches this time. Most house churches do not have their own church buildings. The Three-Self churches feared that the officials would demolish the crosses by force, so they chose to take them down on their own. No one dares defy the orders.”
Li, a member of a house church with more than 100 members, said that officials are also destroying decorations. “The officials from the brigade will show up at your door and ask you to remove or cover up Christian decorations. They will damage your house if you dare to say no. Porcelain tiles that said ‘Jesus loves you’ embedded in the wall were gouged out. They also forbade us from singing hymns.”
Li also spoke of the restrictions enacted against the local churches to keep them from meeting. No more than five people can meet together at a time without government permission. He also says the government has posted guards at some churches to keep members out.
Two months prior, the town of Shiqiao in Ningling County held a Conference of Ethnic and Religious Affairs. According to the official reports of this conference, the town’s officials conveyed the wishes and priorities of the Communist Party in regulating religious matters in 2018.
At this conference, Yan Yunfeng, the Party committee secretary for Shiqiao said that religious affairs in the town had “become complicated” and emphasized that “there is nothing insignificant” in administering ethnic and religious affairs. Staff members were urged to unify their ideologies and be willing to take on additional responsibilities. Conferences like this one are likely the cause of the new intensity with which religious persecution has been carried out across Henan.
ChinaAid reports on instances of religious persecution, such as the forced demolition of crosses and closure of house churches throughout Henan, in order to expose abuses by the Communist Party and promote religious freedom and rule of law.
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