Date: September 11, 2018
Chinese authorities shut down one of the largest unofficial churches in Beijing on Sunday 9 September.
Although unregistered, the church has been (in practice) permitted to operate for years with relative freedom, but since church leaders refused a request from authorities to install CCTV cameras inside the building in April the church has come under growing pressure.
District officials announced on 9 September the church had been banned because it had “not registered and [had] carried out activities in the name of social organisations without authorisation”. The government introduced new religion regulations governing church registration in February.
As many as 1,500 people attend the church’s five weekly services. Police officers are now guarding the building. Prior to the church being shut down the congregation had been threatened with eviction.
In June, 34 “house churches” (unregistered church groups) issued a statement calling for Chinese authorities to respect freedom of religion and not view religious believers as a “dissenting force”. They stated, “House churches have a strong desire to contribute to a necessary dialogue to achieve better relations with the government in the new era.”
China’s Communist government only recognises state-registered churches, which are closely monitored.
Please join us in prayer: Praise God for the growth of His church in China and ask that Chinese Christians strive for peace with everyone (Hebrews 12:14), including the government. Pray that the Lord who establishes all rulers (Romans 13:1) will incline the authorities to be open to dialogue and that love will prevail to cast out fear and distrust.