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01/22/2021 China (International Christian Concern) – On January 19, the Bureau of Ethnic and Religious Affairs of Lushan County, Henan province, issued a hefty administrative penalty punishment for a Christian man who was part of a Christmas gathering last December.

According to China Aid, Niu Guobao, along with more than 40 other Christians, gathered to celebrate Christmas on December 19, 2020. During the celebration, officials from the Lushan County Religious Bureau raided their venue, banned the Christians from celebrating Christmas, before confiscating materials used by Christians to preach the gospel, such as books, Chinese couplets, calendar and other items.

All the Christians in attendance were asked to register their information with the government staff. More than 20 minors at the scene were frightened by the government’s actions.

A month later, the Lushan County Religious Bureau issued a hefty fine of 160,000 yuan (US$ 24,760) to Niu Guobao, the organizer of the Christmas gathering, quoting Article 71 of the Regulations on Religious Affairs, “Where anyone aides illegal religious activities, the religious affairs department shall give it or him a warning; the illegal gains or belongings, if any, shall be confiscated, and if the circumstances are serious, a fine of not less than 20,000 yuan and not more than 200,000 yuan shall be imposed concurrently.”

Lushan County Religious Bureau gave Niu three days to apply for a hearing. Failure to apply within three days will be viewed as renouncing his rights.

Since 2018, Henan province has begun its renewed crackdown against Christianity. It has a goal to greatly decrease the number of churches and eradicate house churches. Even those state-sanctioned churches cannot escape from the recent wave of cross demolition instituted by the government.

For interviews, please contact Olivia Miller, Communications Coordinator: [email protected]