Guangzhou Bans Prayer Meetings
Local pastors, congregations warned not to hold meetings during 16th Asian Games
11/15/2010 China (ChinaAid) – Authorities in the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou have banned unofficial Protestant “house churches” from holding meetings, as the city prepares to host the Asian Games later this week.
Local pastors and their congregations have been warned not to meet during the 16th Asian Games, which run from Nov. 12 to 27, according to rights lawyer and Protestant house church member Tang Jingling.
“This situation is fairly widespread among all the house churches I have dealings with,” Tang said.
“[The authorities] have been seeking out the pastors of these groups and ordering them to stop holding meetings.”
He said some of the groups had responded by splitting up into much smaller groups and meeting at locations which never remain the same.
He said that police had approached the leaders of his own church group over the ban, which Tang said was likely to remain until January.
“We have switched to small group meetings because of this, meeting at a different person’s house each time,” Tang said.
Wang Dao, pastor of the Guangzhou Liangren church, said that local police had tried to call on him while he was out of town, and that the order was apparently extended to all house churches in the entire Pearl River Delta region.
“The day I came to Shanghai on Oct. 31, some of my brothers and sisters told me that the police had come to my house to speak to me,” Wang said.
“It’s not just in Guangzhou, but it includes the whole Pearl River delta areas,” he added.