Date: January 18, 2018
(Ningxia, China—Jan. 18, 2018) More than 20 government agents from various agencies in China’s autonomous Ningxia region banned an unregistered church on Sunday, alleging it “engaged in illegal religious activities in non-religious places.”
Officials from a patchwork of local bureaus and departments interrupted a church service led by local Christian Lou Siping. They informed the Christians gathered there that they had conducted religious activities in a non-government approved building, which is illegal according to arbitrary Chinese regulations, even though the regulations trespass on religious freedom clauses in China’s Constitution. Lou recounted the events to a ChinaAid reporter: “After their arrival, they first asked 30 of us to take out our ID cards and register them. We cooperated and registered them. Then, the police took us to the station for investigation. They said our church did not go to the National Religious Affairs Bureau to register, violating the regulations, and must be stopped immediately.”
When an official accused the church of violating the Chinese Constitution, Lou replied, “The Constitution gives citizens religious freedom. Our behavior does not go against the Constitution,” to which the official reiterated the church was an “unlawful gathering.”
In addition, the authorities contacted the church’s landlord and demanded the cancellation of the church’s lease, even though the contract has not expired. The Christians have been threatened with coercive measures if they fail to vacate the building by tomorrow.
Founded in 2003, the church currently consists of about 40 people. Since 2014, the local police have hounded them, requesting that they cease holding services. They also ordered that they join the Three-Self Patriotic Movement, a Christian offshoot of the government that allows authorities to police church services.
ChinaAid exposes abuses, such as those suffered by Christians in Ningxia, in order to stand in solidarity with persecuted Christians and promote religious freedom, human rights, and rule of law.
ChinaAid Media Team
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