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China: Government threatens to close one of country’s largest house churches

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Chinese government has threatened to close one of the largest house churches in the country. Reportedly the church had refused to install cameras inside the church building which led to harassment of the church members.

Chinese Churches

Head Pastor of Zion Church, Pastor Jin Mingri told the media that church received an official letter from the government, directing the church authorities to install 24 close-circuit cameras in the church building. “They wanted to put cameras in the sanctuary where we worship. The church decided this was not appropriate.Our services are a sacred time,” he stated.

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Government had directed the church authorities in April, earlier this year. Every Sunday hundreds of believers gather in the church building built in North of Beijing. Followed by refusal of the authorities to comply with the orders of the government, state officials and security officials started harassing the church goers followed them to their work places.

The officials forced the church goers to make a promise not to go to the church, details reveal. Recent reports say that the church administration has been asked to evict despite an assurance from the landlord that the building will not be rented to other party until 2023.

Wang Yu, a rights lawyer who was recently baptized in Zion church, said that she could anticipate trouble “given the authorities have started describing the church as a ‘cult’ when pressuring churchgoers. In one of its statements, Zion also says authorities have called the church a cult,” she told the Reuters, adding “Being labelled a cult was how it all started for the Falun Gong in 1999”.

“In 2017, China advanced its so-called “sinicization” of religion, a far-reaching strategy to control, govern, and manipulate all aspects of faith into a socialist mold infused with “Chinese characteristics,” United States Commission for International Religious Freedom stated in its annual report.