China: Crackdown and closure of house churches continues

Tuesday, November 29, 2022 | Tag Cloud Tags: , ,

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by Karen Faulkner, Worthy News Correspondent

(Worthy News) – China’s ruling Communist Party is continuing its crackdown and closure of evangelical house churches: earlier this month, the Covenant Home Church in Shanxi province was issued with an official notice that it has been banned and must close, reports Bitter Winter, a news outlet focused on religious liberty and human rights in China.

On November 16, 2022, the Civil Affairs Bureau of Yaodu District, Linfen City, officially informed the Covenant Home Church that the congregation can no longer meet for religious activities, and its school can no longer operate as an educational facility for children of church members, Bitter Winter reports.

The official notice said the Church did not have authorization to carry on its activities.

As part of its nationwide Sinicization program, the Chinese Communist Party has stipulated that only churches which register as state-approved Three-Self Movement congregations can be open to the public; church activities are closely scrutinized, sermons are reviewed, and pastors are instructed to include communist teachings and propaganda in their messages.

“In accordance with instructions coming directly from Xi Jinping house churches, i.e., Protestant churches that operate independently from the government-controlled Three-Self Church, should gradually disappear,” Bitter Winter explained in its report.

“House churches that refuse to submit and join the Three-Self Church should see their leaders prosecuted under various pretexts—heterodox teachings, fraud, unauthorized gatherings—and be finally liquidated. The plan is being faithfully implemented in most provinces,” Bitter Winter said.

China ranks 17th on the US Open Doors World Watch List 2022 of the top 50 countries where Christians are persecuted.

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