Administrative Review of Xiamen’s House Church Rejected

09/25/2019 China (International Christian Concern) – A prominent house church in China’s Xiamen city had its administrative review rejected by the government, after the church received an administrative penalty notice and a $3,500 USD fine last May.

On May 19, the Ethnic and Religious Affairs Bureau of Xiamen city’s Siming district issued an administrative penalty notice to Xunsiding Church, stating that preacher Yang Xibo is suspected of violating the new Regulations on Religious Affairs for establishing the church without authorization. The church was ordered to be shut down, and Yang Xibo was fined 25,000 RMB (about $ 3,500).

Yang Xibo filed an appeal the next day, requesting the Ethnic and Religious Affairs Bureau (ERAB) to hold a hearing, set to take place at 10 a.m. on May 31, but the church’s appeal was rejected, and the decision to shut down the church was sustained. That evening, police officers surrounded the church and prohibited anyone from entering.

Local government claimed that the appeal request lacked facts and legal basis, therefore the government could not support, whereas the punishment set up by the ERAB had clear facts, in accordance to law and appropriate procedure.

Yang told China Aid, “It is apparent that the rejection of Xunsiding Church’s appeal shows that in China, churches have to be submissive under the will of the [communist] party, which manifests itself in religious affairs regulations.”

Through this example, it sets a reminder to other house churches: do not volunteer the information such as their attendance, ministry and organization, or offering, to the government. While the authorities might chat with you peacefully when they inquire about your church, in fact they are obtaining evidence in disguise.

“Do not cooperate, do not tell, do not answer – this would be the best response. Do not have any unrealistic thought about any official under any government agency in China, for even at higher level of power and pressure, they could have a fall-out among themselves, employing all the despicable measures,” Yang continued.

He said that they will continue to file for an appeal, so that the persecution of Chinese churches can be recorded and understood, and serves as a reminder for other house churches to avoid the same situation.

Source: ICC