Illegal Church Activities
In China, new religious laws have made it a lot harder for Christians to gather. There is now a list of nine Chinese government rules that are being strictly enforced for all registered, legal churches:
- No one under 18 years of age is allowed to attend church.
- Communist Party members are not allowed to attend church, except for work.
- Without the permission of “The National People’s Congress of the People’s Republic of China” and “The Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference,” no one is allowed to host any overseas preacher.
- No one is allowed to do any religious activities outside of registered church buildings.
- No one is allowed to possess illegally spread or sold religious books, magazines or goods.
- No one is allowed to do any religious activities in any unapproved location.
- No one is allowed to have illegal religious wordings and pictures on the internet.
- No one is allowed to have religious signs on the streets or along roads.
- No one is allowed to have any unapproved religious meeting or seminar.
Many Chinese Christians have experienced police raids, interrogations and imprisonment. Police broke up Christmas services in two churches, one with 150 people and 80 in the other. The worshipers were detained by police and threatened against continuing their illegal church activities.
In another incident, 50 policemen raided a secret Bible school. Forty-five elders were detained and questioned. Their Bibles and religious materials confiscated. The school was declared illegal and disbanded.
One minister was imprisoned for printing Bibles illegally. The police uncovered the operation and the minister was arrested, spending three years in jail. Several of those who helped him were beaten and imprisoned.
Another Christian was arrested for receiving three boxes of Bibles. He received a two-year prison sentence. He has now been free for some time, but is regularly harassed by the police, who monitor his movements and activities.
During one of his harassment interrogations, this Christian told the police, “You can threaten me as much as you like. Yes, you can even take my life, but I will never stop proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It is time you learn from history! Opposition and persecution have always caused an increase in the number of Christian believers. Consider the Cultural Revolution. Countless Christians were imprisoned, tortured and killed, while their numbers only increased. You can never force me or anyone else to keep quiet, even if you put me in prison again!”
This is the kind of boldness that is behind China’s revival. Of course, our Chinese brothers and sisters are not super-human. They experience fear and anxiety just like you and me. Yet, despite human limitations and very unfavorable conditions, they boldly proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ. New churches are springing up in the countryside of China, in Chinese cities and in the Chinese mega cities. Jesus is truly doing an amazing work in the world’s most populous nation.