China Court Case Against Officials Banning Worship Services

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BEIJING, CHINA (BosNewsLife) -- In a unprecedented move, a Chinese court has agreed to hear a case filed by a pastor against government officials who prohibited worship services in his house church, observers familiar with the trial said Wednesday, December 31.

The Haizhu District People's Court reportedly accepted Pastor Wang Dao's lawsuit against the local State Administration of Religious Affairs Bureau (SARA) in Guangzhou city of China's Guangdong province on Christmas Day, in a case that is closely monitored by house churches across the country.

Some 50 officials of SARA and the Public Security Bureau, Cina's main law enforcement agency, raided Wang's Liangren Church during a Sunday service on December 14, Christians said.

ADMINISTRATIVE PENALTY

The agencies reportedly issued a "Notice of Administrative Penalty" accusing Pastor Wang of "organizing an illegal gathering" and demanding that the services be stopped.

On December 18, Pastor Wang filed an administrative lawsuit against SARA, in Guangdong province, demanding that the court overrules the prohibition of church services, Christians said.

US-based China Aid Association (CAA), an advocacy group supporting the pastor, described it as "unprecedented move by the court" to accept the pastor's lawsuit, challenging SARA'S decision.

CAA told BosNewsLife that it and "house church Christians across China, are watching to see how the court will respond in this case, which could set a precedent for other cases of persecution."

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