ICC NOTE: Chinese Christians are fearful of their status within the communist nation as the Chinese Communist Party has begun a large scale crackdown on ‘evil cults’. As the Communist Party considers anything which can lead to disloyalty to the party as against the state, underground churches and even registered churches could be targeted. On the surface, local authorities are stating those in which they are closing and arresting are cult members not affiliated with any major religion. However, it is merely a cover to further intensify the states’ persecution of the church.
11/18/2015 China (Christian Today) – Chinese Christians are being unjustly targeted by police and other community members as part of a crackdown on “evil cults,” according to a report by Chinaaid.com.
On Oct 28, the Tongzi County along with officials from various organizations, including Chinese communist groups raided a house church, interrupting Christian members’ morning training session in attempts to disperse the gathering and pressure church leaders to register with government-sanctioned Three-Self Patriotic Movement, said the report.
“The [Tongzi] County Religious Affairs Bureau and local police station called [Chinese Communist] Party Secretaries from 14 villages to suppress our church members, who are no longer allowed to gather,” China Aid quoted the church leader “Mou” as saying.
He said the police are using a crackdown on evil cults as cover to intensify their persecution of the country’s underground church.
Since June, high profile “anti-cult” campaigns have been rolled out by authorities after five cult members reportedly beat a woman to death in McDonald’s restaurant after she rejected their attempts to recruit her.
Two members of the notorious Eastern Lighting cult were sentenced to death earlier this month. More than 100 members of the group known as Church of Almighty God were captured between June and Sept, state media reported.
Members of “house church” movement have also been caught up in the police station, said Mou. The movement, which is officially illegal and generally tolerated by the community is made up of tens of millions of christians.
The Chinese christians said the formation of the Three-Self church apparently made a great deal on authorities who are hoping to recruit more members into their team.
Currently, the Three Self church has only around 50 members, which is too low to meet the criteria, said Mou.
He also expressed belief that Huaqiu House Church, with a membership of more than 200, was pressured to join with the Three-Self church in order to boost numbers.
“They commanded us to join with the [Three-Self], which currently has 50-60 people. The Religious Affairs Bureau wants to build a large church, but they don’t have enough members, so [the authorities] are forcing us to join their government church,” he claimed.
Huaqiu House Church was part of a lawsuit with the local ministry of land and resources, regarding the self-financed construction of the church’s building on private land, said China Aid.