2018, a More Arduous Year for House Churches in China

ADHRRF – Since the new Regulations on Religious Affairs came into effect, the control and repression of religious belief by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has been ever-escalating. Christian house churches across China are all subjected to unprecedented persecution, and the precarious situation of Christians is further exacerbated.

A Christian from a village in Yongji City, Shanxi Province who wishes to remain anonymous disclosed to reporters that a group leader of that village told her, “The government will soon arrest a group of believers in God, and also Falun Gong practitioners. This time, all those who believe in God will be arrested, and an arrest list has already been made.” The Christian added that on the group leader’s mobile phone, she saw the list of people who are targeted in this arrest operation. Two Christians of this village who were arrested before because of preaching the gospel are also on the list. The group leader said, “These are the first group of people to be arrested, and there will be the second and third groups.… The state will round up a large number of believers in God this time.”

In addition to the arrests of Christians, the CCP keeps Christians under constant surveillance through drop-in interrogation, taking photos, registration of identity information and so on. Many Christians and their family have experienced the police’s harassment, surveillance and persecution. A Christian from a village in Shuangkou Town, Beichen District, Tianjin City revealed to reporters that two police dropped in at 10 a.m. on March 13, 2018, to investigate and interrogate their belief status, register their personal information and ask the Christians to follow the Communist Party.

To expedite the full implementation of “Sinicizing” religions, under the plan for the reform of Party and government institutions announced after the National People’s Congress in 2018, the CCP made the State Administration of Religious Affairs subservient to the United Front Work Department, which now has absolute oversight of all religious affairs. Analysts viewed that the situation of house churches in mainland China would be growing more perilous.