China has banned a church in in Fujian province for “collaborating with Korea” and “establishing religious sites.” The move comes at a time of heightened tension between China and South Korea over the United State’s THAAD anti-missile system. A lawyer involved with the case has said that the church is afraid to fight against the government, adding, “The mainland [government] has intensified the persecution against Christianity…The government often uses the excuse that Christians are ‘disrupting social order’ to persecute them, since that can be applied to every house church in the country.” Another pastor said the closure was in reaction to the United States, stating, “Since the government can’t accuse the church of collaborating with the U.S., the officers now use Korea as an excuse. Since religions are founded in different countries, the people are unavoidably ‘collaborating with foreign powers’ when they choose a religious belief.” China has been implementing a strong crackdown on religion and human rights activists in what is considered the strongest crackdown since Mao.
5/15/2017 China (China Aid) – Authorities in China’s coastal Fujian province banned a church, accusing its members of “establishing religious sites” without approval and “collaborating with Korea.”
In a notice, authorities accused the River of Life Berean Church and the Bereans Research Institute of Theology of having Korean connections and setting up illegal religious meeting places. The Huli District Ethnic and Religious Affairs Bureau also confiscated 1,346 Yuan (approx. U.S. $200) of donated money, claiming it was “illegal income.”
A lawyer who examined the case said that the church is uncertain whether or not they should take legal action against the government. “They are afraid of fighting against the government. I asked local lawyers to help, but they haven’t responded yet. The mainland [government] has intensified the persecution against Christianity. … It is ridiculous to arrest someone for attending house churches. The government often uses the excuse that Christians are ‘disrupting social order’ to persecute them, since that can be applied to every house church in the country.”