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07/11/2023 China (International Christian Concern) – The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) government fined the pastor of an underground church in Xiamen, China, according to the U.S.-based Christian nonprofit ChinaAid.  Pastor Yang Xibo and his wife, Wang Xiaofei, face a fine of 400,000 Yuan, or approximately $55,100 USD. This fine follows several years of government persecution against the underground church in Xiamen. 

Pastor Yang leads the Xunsiding underground church, which is not affiliated with the Three-Self Church—the government-sanctioned authority over Protestant congregations in China. The CCP government initially targeted the Xunsiding church in 2019, levying a fine and imposing law enforcement surveillance for 30 days over the church and its members. Government officials “demolished private property and forced members to send their children to public schools,” according to a report from ChinaAid.  The church resorted to frequently changing its assembly location as a tactic to avoid government suppression and coercion. 

Xiamen local authorities issued a citation to Pastor Yang and his wife that charged the couple with “organizing and holding the Xunsiding Church religious activity…without the approval of the National Religious Affairs Bureau and providing for the illegal religious activity violates the provisions of Articles 40 and 41 of the Regulations on Religious Affairs.” 

The President and founder of ChinaAid raised concerns about the ongoing persecution by the CCP government, saying, “Their goal is not only to curate a ‘socialist-friendly’ church; they hope to erase it.  The international community needs to know about these trends and developments as China continues to rise on the global stage.” 

Amid increasing geopolitical tensions between the United States and China, it is uncertain whether external or internal pressure will cause the CCP to relent from pursuing totalitarianism at the expense of liberty and justice. As such, the fate of Chinese Christians remains dismal. Holding fast to faith in spite of persecution, Pastor Yang and his wife wrote on social media, “Thank God for allowing us to have a part in His affliction.” 

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