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ICC Note: Chinese government and state-run religious organizations are enforcing more restrictions on unregistered Christian churches. Under the new program, Christian churches will be banned, unless they register with a state-run Three-Self-Patriotic Movement (state-sanctioned Christian institution). Furthermore, the government is enforcing harder restrictions on house churches which would forbid Christian gatherings and them using private homes for church services.

09/25/2017 China (Christian Times) – An organization with ties to the Chinese Communist Party has unveiled new plans on how the government can enforce its restrictions on churches, including forced registration with state-run Christian institutions.

On Sept. 8, the Association of Christian Students, an institution sympathetic to the Chinese government, published a report describing plans to launch a specialized management program targeting private churches, “illegal” religious organizations, and preachers who have not been ordained by the state.

Under the new program, churches will be forced to register with the state-run Three-Self Patriotic Movement, and smaller house churches will be forcibly combined with registered churches.

According to the report, churches that refuse to register will be banned, and those that have been labeled by the public security and religious affairs bureau as “illegal religious organizations, organizations influenced or controlled by foreign powers intending to infiltrate [the country], or [religious] gathering places that broke the laws or are under the control of cults,” will be shut down.

In order to implement the new program, the government will be working with state-run religious organizations to run indoctrinating speaking tours and encourage Christians to resist supposed “heresy” as well as “illegal” religious institutions.

In the province of Henan, Christians were forced to meet illegally in their homes after local officials banned their gathering place in May following accusations of “heresy” from members of the Three-Self Church.

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