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China: Guangdong house churches banned from meeting during games

Posted by sioespain en 18 noviembre, 2010

Officials in Guangzhou city and surrounding areas in south Guangdong province have forbidden house churches to meet during the Asian Games.

Church leaders and their congregations have been warned not to hold services during the games, which run from November 12 to 27 and which are being hosted by Guangzhou city.

Sources for Release partner China Aid said the ban is likely to last until January – which would have serious implications for Christmas celebrations.

Officials have told pastors that the closure is due to ‘security concerns’. A China Aid source said some churches were trying to get around the ban by splitting into much smaller groups and meeting at different locations.

In fact, it appears that the ban may well extend across the whole Pearl River delta area – which accounts for much of south Guangdong. This is certainly the understanding of Pastor Wang Dao, leader of the Guangzhou Liangren Church, who reports that a church in Jiangmen, further south, has also been issued with the ban.

Pastor Wang is dubious about talk of ‘security concerns’ during the games. ‘I think it’s just an excuse,’ he says, ‘so they can undertake a total crackdown (…) on house churches.’

Pastor Wang is currently on bail awaiting trial on charges relating to ‘credit card administration’ (Prayer Alert, August 24, 2010). His church has been thrown out of rented accommodation and moved on many times since May 2008.

(Sources: Release International)



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