Date: March 12, 2019
(Zhengzhou, Henan—March 12, 2019) Crosses of more than 90 percent of all churches officials allow to conduct religious services in China’s Henan province have been removed since last year.
The pastor, who prefers to remain anonymous, said that there are more than 5,000 churches in Henan that authorities allow to organize religious events, and it is estimated that more than 4,500 of them have had their crosses forcibly demolished.
In addition, officials often shut down churches that do not register with the government (also known as house churches), which many churches opt not to do because of government censorship that occurs in registered churches.
“We have no solution,” one Christian said. “Many [Christian] brothers and sisters do not dare to worship together and must privately and secretly gather. Nowadays, many house churches conduct irregular services for the sake of avoiding the surveillance of local officials. If a meeting place is discovered, the lightest punishment will be a summons from public security [that results in a] warning, and the most serious one is detention.
One of the churches, Panshi Church, was just closed last week after the Jinshui District Ethnic and Religious Affairs Bureau accused it of violating China’s Regulations on Religious Affairs by organizing “illegal” religious events. The church received orders to immediately stop all events, their venue was shut down, authorities inspected the building and removed all signs and pictures related to religion, and the gate of the church was officially sealed.
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