Beijing closes Christian house church for conducting illegal activities

By Yin Han Source:Global Times Published: 2018/9/11 22:53:41

Beijing shut down the city's biggest Christian house church on Sunday for carrying out unregistered activities.

The Beijing Zion Church in Chaoyang district and its branches in the city were closed down in accordance with related regulations, according to a notice released by the Chaoyang Civil Affairs Bureau on Sunday on its website.

The house church was unregistered, and conducted activities as a social organization without approval, the bureau said.

An employee at the bureau declined to release further information when reached by the Global Times on Tuesday.

Founded in 2007 with only about 20 parishioners, the church reportedly grew into the biggest Christian house church in Beijing with hundreds of members, according to Christian Times, an online Chinese Christian news provider. House churches in China refer to those that are self-organized by Christians and are not approved by the government.

The church has two main gathering events every year, held after the Spring Festival and in May, the report said.

An association that engages in preliminary activities without any approval or carries out activities in the name of a social association without being registered "will be closed and its illegal assets would be confiscated," read China's Regulations for Registration and Management of Social Associations.

Another regulation on banning illegal civil associations released by the ministry in 2000 defines social groups that conduct activities without registration as illegal civil organizations.

Overseas media had previously reported that the church was "forced by the local government to install cameras."

However, the property management company of Long Bao Chen commercial building, where the house church used to operate in, told the Global Times on Tuesday that "any camera installed in public places is for safety reasons," and that "no official authority was involved in the installation."

"The country is ruled by law, where all social groups, including religious groups, should be brought into law-based governance," said Xiong Kunxin, a professor of ethnic studies at Minzu University of China in Beijing.

Posted in: SOCIETY

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