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ICC Note: Chinese Christians pressed to meet in smaller groups as the government reinforces its crackdown on underground churches. Chinese government will implement a set of new rules which will impose stricter restrictions and stronger punishment on Christian religious activities. The rules will come into effect in February 2018. Under the new rules, unapproved religious activities could be subject to fines of almost 45,000 dollars.

09/12/2017 China (Christian Times) – Chinese Christians have now resorted to meeting in smaller groups in person and online as the government intensifies its crackdown on underground churches.

Last week, the Chinese authorities announced that a new set of rules regulating religious affairs has been passed, a year after the proposed amendments were released to the public.

The new rules, which will be implemented in February next year, will impose stricter restrictions and stronger punishment in an effort to curb religious activities outside official institutions.

Enoch, a 22-year-old Christian in southern China, noted that the church he attends in a flat in Zhuhai, Guangdong province used to have a door plate bearing its name, a cross on the front wall and rows of chairs in the living room.

But in November last year, members of the church decided to remove the door plate and the cross, and replace the chair with a couch, in an effort to avoid being reported to the authorities.

“We are trying to look more like a family that are here to chat and drink tea so no one will report us to the police,” he said, as reported by South China Morning Post.

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