Officials in China lured a pastor of the house church, Guangfu Church, into the police station for questioning last week. The authorities gave him an ultimatum to either become a government-run Three-Self Patriotic Movement or comply with specialized personnel sent to watch the congregation. However, the church is already under surveillance and both churches have theological differences, so Pastor Ma Ke and his congregation refused the first option. The Chinese government has been after Pastor Ma Ke and his church for years. In 2015, they banned all of the church’s meeting places and confiscated their materials. This did not stop the church from meeting, but when Pastor Ma Ke filed a lawsuit, his requests were denied.
08/01/2017 China (China Aid) – Authorities in China’s southern Guangdong province gave a house church pastor an ultimatum on Wednesday: join the state-run church or be subjected to extensive government monitoring.
On July 26, officials summoned Ma Ke, pastor of Guangfu Church, to the police station and told him the church could either become a government-run Three-Self Patriotic Movement or comply with specialized personnel sent to watch the congregation. The church refused the first option, citing a belief that house churches and Three-Self Churches followed different theological avenues and saying that their church already experienced surveillance.
Guangfu Church has been a constant target of government persecution over the past few years. After accusing the church members of “organizing illegal religious activities,” authorities banned all of the church’s meeting places in 2015 and confiscated some of its materials. Undeterred, the church members still met outside of their building’s walls, and Ma filed an administrative lawsuit in an attempt to get the officials to revoke their decision. His requests were rejected, which prompted him to seek the audience of higher officials, but those were declined as well.