Henan Demands Religious Practitioners to Register with the Residents’ Committee
ICC Note: On April 4, local authorities in Pengyuan district of central Henan province demanded residents who follow the officially recognized five religions to register with the residents’ committee. Whether or not this is a local initiative, or part of a nation-wide crackdown on religions remains unclear.
04/13/2018 China (UCA News) – Moves by China’s all-powerful Communist Party to gain tight control over religion have been ramped up in the Pengyuan district of the populous central province of Henan.
On April 4, local authorities posted a notice that demanded those who follow the official religions to register with the residents’ committee.
Followers of Buddhism, Daoism, Islam, Catholicism and Protestantism should register, the notice from the committee read.
Authorities in Henan, which has an estimated 300,000 Catholics, have been noticeably tightening their grip since September 2017. It has become the third province to dismantle crosses following Zhejiang and Jiangxi.
A reporter from Chinese media called the committee and a staff member confirmed the notice, saying it was just following instructions from its superiors.
A Henan-based priest in the so-called underground Catholic Church loyal to Rome but not part of the official state-run Catholic association told ucanews.com that the authorities were not only targeting underground or house churches — the Protestant name for churches that are not members of the Beijing-run Protestant Three-Self Patriotic Movement — but were also including those who worship in government-controlled “official” churches.
What remains unclear in a country where government is opaque and information difficult to extract is whether these efforts are localized and the initiative of local officials or a test run or broader campaign across one of China’s most Christian provinces. Up to now, it appears to be localized.
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