Date: March 24, 2021
July 2020: Police raid Xingguang Church.
(Xiamen, Fujian Province—March 24, 2021) On March 19, Siming District United Front Work Department sent a notice to each neighborhood committee, asking them to strengthen the screening of unregistered churches. Consolidating the prohibition of "illegal religious activities," the lead department asserts, will help prevent the recurrence of banned religious activities.
The notice specifically asked neighborhood committees to organize staff to patrol and check mixed-use (Residential-Commercial Hybrid) buildings and business hotels on Saturday evenings and Sundays when most religious activities occur. Once an individual discovers an illegal religious activity, they are to report this "crime" to the district's United Front Work Department (religious affairs bureau) to coordinate the investigation and penalty. Several neighborhoods explicitly listed in the notice, include Wucun, Binhai, Kaiyuan and Lujiang. The notice also directs staff to pay special attention to the following locations in their administrative regions: Huapu building, Kaixuan square, Huicheng business center, Shangli building, Huoshi building, Yuanyang building, Hongsheng building, etc.
|Notice Siming District United Front Work Department issued.
(Photo: ChinaAid resource)
The reportedly “illegal religious venues” refer to those house churches who adhere to their beliefs and refuse to join the government-sanctioned Three-Self churches and do not register with the Religious Affairs Bureau. Xiamen municipal government officials started cracking down on these house churches in 2019. Since then, authorities continue to strengthen their means to control churches.During the past two years, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) banned numerous house churches. To persecute and pressure churches, officials have:
- demolished the church buildings,
- sent police to raid the churches during Sunday service,
- beaten and arrested Christians,
- forced Christians to send their children to public schools, and
- destroyed foreign missionaries’ tombstones.
Report by Yubing, ChinaAid Special Correspondent .