China Funds Campaign to Eliminate House Churches
Christian Solidarity Worldwide and ChinaAid released a report Sunday entitled, “China: Persecution of Protestant Christians in the Approach to the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games.” The report details the persecution of house churches and reports that the government of China is funding the Ministry of Public Security to step up its efforts to eradicate the house churches.
View the report: http://www.csw.org.uk/indepth/chinareportjune2008.htm
6/9/08 China (ChristianPost) A new report released on Sunday, exactly two months ahead of the Beijing Olympic Games, details the current Chinese government’s crackdown on unregistered Christians, including funding a campaign to eradicate house churches throughout China.
The report, entitled “China: Persecution of Protestant Christians in the Approach to the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games,” by U.K.-based Christian Solidarity Worldwide and U.S.-based China Aid Association, provides information on different tactics used by the government to restrict the religious freedom of Christians.
CAA said that in May, two independent sources informed it that the Chinese Central Government provided funding to the Ministry of Public Security to escalate its campaign of eradicating house churches in China.
“While Chinese house churches have long suffered persecution, this is believed to be the first time that the authorities have systematically cracked down on the ‘third wave churches,’” the report noted. “These are churches amongst the more educated and wealthy sections of society with greater awareness of their rights, which generally meet in urban areas and have been tolerated, even though operating under certain restrictions.”
Tactics used to crack down on unregistered Christians include: targeting well-established unregistered churches; sending landlords directives ordering them to not rent space to those engaging in religious activities; charging Christians in the Xinjiang region of separatism; expelling foreign Christians; targeting repression at the Chinese House Church Alliance; and carrying out the largest mass sentencing of house church leaders in 25 years.
The report also highlights the “disturbing news” that some house church Christians were arrested and fined for trying to help victims of the massive earthquake in Sichuan Province.
China has an underground Christian population estimated to be as high as 100 million, although experts are quick to point out the difficulty in obtaining the real count.