Fears Grow That China Will Class House Churches as Cults

Authorities Urged to Determine Whether Cults are 'Harmful to Society' by Alex Buchan LONDON (Compass) -- The Chinese government sponsored an International Symposium on Evil Cults in Beijing November 8-10 that urged local authorities not to inquire too closely into the beliefs of accused cults. Instead, authorities were encouraged to assess whether they are "harmful to society" -- a catch-all criterion that some house church leaders fear could lead to their own movements being classed as cults. Nearly 60 academics from all over the world attended the Beijing Symposium, and it was full of predictable denunciation of the Chinese folk ... Read more

On Cults, Leaders and Politics in China

Letters from Chinese Christians Detail Local Problems and Persecution ANHUI "Here we only have one registered church, which is packed out with people standing in the courtyard. However, since the church was opened, none of the accounts listing all the believers' donations have ever been made public to them. The pastor has dismissed several Christians who originally were responsible for the finances. He also hands over the donations to the Religious Affairs Bureau to use. Not long ago, several elderly believers formed a church, but the Three Self pastor asked the Religious Affairs Bureau not to grant them a license ... Read more

High Profile Prisoner Released, but Others Arrested in China

Zhang Rongliang, also known as David Zhang, is at large in China despite receiving a three-years' hard labor sentence in December 1999. Reliable reports from central China say he was able to buy himself out of jail. But Born Again movement leader Xu Yongze remains incarcerated, despite having completed his three-year sentence on March 15, and 10 more house church leaders were arrested in southeast China in May.

Two Chinese pastors in labor camp for holding meeting

Two Chinese Protestant pastors accused of organizing an unauthorized Christian meeting are being held in labor camps near Beijing, a London-based religious rights group reported Thursday. Wang Li Gong, 34, and Yang Jing Fu, 36, are in two separate camps in Tianjing serving administrative sentences of one year, and one and one-half years, respectively, Christian Solidarity Worldwide said.

House approves divisive U.S.-China trade pact

24 May 2000 (Newsroom) -- The United States House of Representatives approved a China trade bill on Wednesday that has divided human rights and religious freedom advocates. The House voted 237-197 to grant permanent normal trade relations to the communist nation, taking the place of Most Favored Nation (MFN) status, which required an annual review of China's adherence to international standards. The Senate is expected to approve a similar pact in early June.

Executions of Christians Suspected in North Korea

by Alex Buchan LONDON (Compass) -- Credible reports of seven Christians executed for their faith inside North Korea have reached reliable sources in China. The seven, all men ranging in age from 15 to 58 years of age, were executed in April. The circumstances surrounding their deaths cannot be revealed. North Korea, a fanatically communist state, continues to hound all religious believers. The U.S. Department of State's 2000 Annual Report on International Religious Freedom said there were unconfirmed reports of 23 Christians executed between October 1999 and April 2000. Some say that a number of Christians were rounded up and ... Read more

Six More Chinese House Church Leaders Arrested and Sentenced

Five house church leaders from the "Born Again" movement of Xu Yongze were arrested at their homes in China's southern Henan province on December 27, 1999. Each was sentenced in February to two years hard labor, according to reliable sources inside the province. Another full-time evangelist -- not with the same movement -- was arrested in Guiyang and also given two years hard labor. Relatives asked that the names of those sentenced be withheld.