Chinese officials continue to clamp down hard on unregistered (‘illegal’) churches across their nation.
Our partner China Aid reports that ‘dozens’ of Christians were detained or arrested across remote, northwestern Xinjiang province at the end of 2016, for holding church gatherings.
Meanwhile, in coastal Zhejiang province, Pastor Zhang Chongzhu has been stripped of his licence to be a minister and removed from his post – in an apparent attempt to stop him ministering in the house church movement.
Pastor Zhang had previously been imprisoned in an illegal detention centre in 2015 for crimes ‘against national security’, after protesting over cross removals and church demolitions in the area.
Meanwhile revised draft Regulations on Religious Affairs indicate how the authorities are wanting to severely restrict unregistered churches in the future. The proposed articles would ban all religious activities outside those approved by the State Administration for Religious Affairs (SARA).
‘These amendments to the administration of religion in China by SARA would in effect leave no space for the house or unregistered church in China,’ said one contact.
Pray for wisdom for the leaders of China’s unregistered churches as they face increasing persecution by the authorities.