China bans Christians from all church activities – China Aid
Chinese authorities in Central Henan province have reportedly issued a warning forbidding any Christian gatherings in the area and placing Christians under house arrest. China Aid reports that Chinese officials are also tearing down couplet door decorations that use Christian language. According to an anonymous source in Shangqiu, Henan, Christians in the province have been placed under house arrest without charge, with police officers watching their residence. we gathered that the Christians are also required to report where they are going every time they wish to leave the house. “I heard that many churches in Sheqi County also received a notice that believers cannot gather anymore. “Christians are afraid of gathering and they don’t have anywhere to gather either. It feels like the Cultural Revolution,” a Christian in Nanyang, Henan said. The Cultural Revolution refers to the period between 1966 and 1976, when Mao Zedong attempted to destroy all influences besides Communism in China, and was a period of great economic and societal hardship, especially for citizens who practised religion. Atheism began to be enforced as the official religious belief of the Communist Party. Another Christian simply identified as Wan*g reportedly explained that a notice had gone out to all churches in the cities of Zhumadian and Zhoukou, as well as Gushi County, announcing that all religious activities in the area are cancelled until further notice. The warning allegedly stipulates that any Christian who refuses to comply will be punished but does not specify the nature of that punishment. In Tanghe County, authorities reportedly forcibly disbanded house church meetings and ordered all participants to register with a government operated Three-Self Church instead. The Christians were reportedly warned that anyone who continued to meet would be fined 30,000 yuan (the US $4,700). It was learnt that during the celebration of Chinese New Year, also known as Spring Festival, authorities inspected Christian households and removed any decorations which referenced Christian religion. Couplets, which are banners with paired poetic phrases hung on both sides of the door to a house, are very common decorations for the Spring Festival. However, officials reportedly tore down all couplets which used the term “Emmanuel” and replaced them with couplets wishing for “good fortune and wealth” instead. we previously reported that a popular Christian mega-church reportedly built with nearly $3 million raised from local worshipers was demolished by the Chinese authorities. The demolition reportedly re-ignited a long-standing tension between religious groups and the officially atheist Communist Party. Witnesses and overseas campaign groups claimed that the Golden Lampstand Church in the city of Linfen in the northern Shanxi province was destroyed with dynamite and heavy machinery on Tuesday, January 9.