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ICC NOTE: The Chinese government continues to expand and harass Christian churches throughout the country as church in Guangzhou was the most recent target. The Zhongfu Canaan Church pastor was told to speak with local authorities to discuss moving the church and to have it join the Three-Self Patriotic Church. This of course should not and will not likely happen for the church as the Three-Self Patriotic Church is the government controlled church which follows the party line. Unfortunately the government has begun to consider the church an “illegal gathering”, likely resulting in the future demolition of its building and the detention of the church leaders. China will likely use trumped up charges of embezzlement or threats to national security in order to legitimize their detention. 

6/21/2016 Guangzhou, China (China Aid) – Officials in China’s southern Guangdong province began harassing a house church recently as part of an ongoing crackdown on unofficial churches.

On June 7, Pastor Zhang from Zhongfu Canaan Church informed a China Aid reporter that authorities summoned him to discuss the possibility of moving the church. During the conversation, they asked him about the identity of his church members and the funding of the church. The authorities also requested that the church—which they termed an ‘illegal gathering’—join the government-sanctioned Three-Self Patriotic Movement (TSPM).

“I made my position clear,” Zhang said to the reporter. “I told [the authorities] that the church was by no means a recent establishment; it had been there for a few decades … We cannot join the Three-Self Patriotic Movement. The town government [that operates] in the village hasn’t come to find us yet, but the landlord said today that officials from the public security, firefighting and various other industry and commerce departments will soon enforce the law here. No [official] has come yet [to enforce], but the landlord is already very frightened. He said, ‘You need to move out immediately….’ This is our current circumstance.”

Additionally, government personnel accused the church of having an inadequate firefighting system.

Various government agencies are carrying out similar measures throughout Guangdong and Shenzhen provinces, leading Christians to worry that these are the initial steps of a rampant suppression of religious expression. Pastors who attended the National Work Conference on Religions, which was held earlier this year, reported that the majority of the conversations centered on how to deal with house churches.

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