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07/28/2021 China (International Christian Concern) – The recent deadly floods in central China’s Henan province have taken away dozens of lives and caused immense damage to several cities, yet the officials in Xinxiang City are banning Christians from providing much needed aid.

According to China Aid, the Xinxiang Municipal Bureau of Ethnic and Religious Affairs recently issued an order via phone banning Christians from participating in flood relief work in the name of churches or Christians. The ban orders Christians and workers not to mention the name of their churches and forbids them from sharing their faith or revealing their Christian identity. The local authorities warn that they will force the volunteers who do not comply with this rule to leave the flood-ravaged area.

After Henan was hit by the unprecedented flood on July 20, Christians, as well as individuals from local rescue NGOs and other provinces rushed to Zhenzhou and participated in relief work. Some videos circulating online show that police and fire fighters acknowledge Christians’ work and cooperate with them. A Christian team from Wuhan was warmly welcomed by Zhenzhou’s chief commander.

However, after Christians and other rescue groups rushed to cities like Xinxiang and Weihui to provide relief, the authorities in Xinxiang sternly warned them not to violate their “rules.” In order to provide aid, Christians had no choice but to avoid mentioning their faith and could not share the Good News with the flood victims.

Xinxiang has been cracking down on Christianity in recent years, with hundreds of crosses removed and churches shut down, whether they were state-sanctioned or not. Bishop Joseph Zhang Weizhu of Xinxiang, who was appointed by the Vatican, was arrested on May 21 and still has not been released.

For interviews, please contact Addison Parker: [email protected].