Date: October 26, 2018
(Guangzhou—Oct. 26, 2018) Guangzhou police shut down a serially persecuted church on Oct. 16 and gave it a notice that referred to it as an “unqualified venue.”
Ma Ke, a pastor of Guangfu Church, said the church wasn’t hosting services at the time it was shut down.
“The property management office messaged us via WeChat,” he said.
The notice received by the church said that the measures executed against them were to “examine six items [Editor’s note: At this time, ChinaAid has been unable to ascertain what the referenced six items are] and close the unqualified venue” according to the rules of dealing with criminal administrative cases as set by the Baiyun District Public Security Bureau in Guangzhou. Churches refusing to submit to the Chinese government’s surveillance and become state-run churches are often labeled as “unqualified” or “illegal” and closed in the same manner.
The local public security bureau also requested to meet with the leaders of Guangfu Church on Oct. 17. ChinaAid does not currently know the outcome of that meeting.
The Guangzhou Municipal Religious Affairs Bureau also met with Ma last July, ordering the church to join the state-run network of churches known as the Three-Self Patriotic Movement [TSPM]. To do so, the church would have to agree to censorship and government-imposed rules. It refused to join, and officials then said that non-TSPM churches should “be overseen by the government.”
According to the local Christians, being “overseen by the government” often has multiple layers, including the church undergoing fire and venue safety evaluations, during which churches are sometimes arbitrarily closed, and not allowing people from foreign countries to preach in keeping with a baseless paranoia that religions are agents of foreign governments intent on overthrowing Communist Party rule.
Persecution also occurs in other areas of China, such as Wenzhou, a city in China’s coastal Zhejiang province, where authorities once raged a years-long cross demolition campaign. Even now, local officials struck a deal with a church, which then removed its own cross in secret, afraid of retribution from the congregation. A Christian woman who was on the scene called the removal “Satanic.”
ChinaAid exposes abuses, such as those suffered by Christians in Guangzhou and Zhejiang, in order to stand in solidarity with the persecuted and promote religious freedom, human rights, and rule of law.
ChinaAid Media Team
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