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ICC Note: Last month, director of China’s State Administration for Religious Affairs (SARA) Wang Zuoan, published an article in a Communist Party journal banning religion for its approximately 90 million members. He accused that some foreign forces have used religion to infiltrate China, and extremism and illegal religious activities are spreading in some places, which have threatened national security and social stability. As a result, the government continues to tighten its grip on Christian churches, seen as under foreign influence. Yet, many house church Christians continue to gather despite the crackdown.

08/08/2017 China (Christian Daily) – A group of Christians in Beijing, China, still gather for “house church” services every Friday despite being questioned by police amidst the government’s intensified crackdown on religious freedom, a pastor has revealed.

Pastor Xu Yonghai and his wife has allowed their apartment to be used for a clandestine gathering of a dozen Christians every Friday. Chinese President Xi Jinping has launched a more intense crackdown on unregistered “house churches,” but Xu’s group continues to gather regularly to pray, worship, and read the Bible, SBS detailed.

“We’ve been questioned by the police before. Friday is a less obvious day for us to meet,” Pastor Xu shared. “A few decades ago there was no such thing as a ‘house church.’ We had never even heard of Christianity. Now I believe there are thousands in this city alone.”

Bob Fu of the non-government organization China Aid said the Chinese government has taken notice of the growth of house churches. The country only recognizes the state-aligned “Three-Self Patriotic Movement” church, so unregistered churches such as Xu’s congregation are seen as a threat to the government as they are beyond the control of the Communist Party.

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