House Church Forced to Close by Chinese Authorities under ‘Anti-Cult’ Campaign

12/11/2015 Washington D.C., (International Christian Concern) – Another church has been shut down in China by local police under the guise of the communist regime’s ‘anti-cults’ campaign. Interaction between local government and police officials and the Huoshi church has been active since November 29 of this year when the church was ordered to cease all activities or face daily fines of $2,023. The Huoshi church is the largest unregistered church in Guiyang, Guizhou province which is located in the south central portion of the country.

According to Yang Hua, one of Huoshi Church’s pastors, on November 30 local government officials from three separate departments “tried to raid the church but were stopped by some church members. Later, they took some video footage of the pantry and library for evidence, and a verbal dispute happened between them and our church members.”

The most recent government action occurred on December 9 when police officers raided the church during a fasting and prayer session which included nearly 200 members in attendance. Those who reported the incident to news outlets described the confiscation of equipment without a court-ordered warrant.

The Chinese government has tolerated house churches in recent years. However, a new crackdown on Christianity in the country has placed many congregations under constant fear. An ‘anti-cult’ campaign was launched by Beijing June of 2014, in an effort to root out supposed ‘evil cult’ groups which the Communist Party believes to be in opposition to the state. Authorities have begun to use the campaign to limit the expansion of Christianity which is the fastest growing religion in China. In Zhejiang province, Christians have witnessed the destruction of over 1,500 crosses and nearly 400 churches since 2013. During the last week alone, two churches, including the Huoshi church, have been shut down while at least 6 pastors have been arrested and detained.

During a time when Beijing continues to promote itself as a society where freedom of religion is an important right, the actions of the Politburo clearly state the opposite. Historically, the actions of the government are nothing new and, in fact, coincide with the nation’s political ideology. Crosses and church buildings continue to be reduced to rubble in Zhejiang province while other churches are forced to either join the state-controlled church or face the same fate as the Huoshi church.

ICC President, Jeff King, stated, “It is appalling to see a nation which considers themselves a free and open society continuing to persecute the Christian community through intimidation and fear. We should not be surprised by their actions as President Xi Jinping is merely a wolf in sheep’s clothing, showing himself to be a moderate for the West’s pleasure. The Chinese Politburo is merely following the communist ideology of Maoism and Marxism. Both communist ideologies believe religion is a danger to the state and must be eliminated in order to have ultimate control of the populace. Western nations have been silent for too long on the plight of religious minorities in China. We call on President Xi Jinping to immediately end the intimidation and harassment.”  

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