A house church in China’s Ningbo, Zhejiang province, received a notice that the church will soon be managed by the local government.
According to Father Francis Liu from Chinese Christian Fellowship of Righteousness, a house church in the Beilun district was asked to join the Three-self church originally, but the church refused. As a concession, the local authorities proposed to place the church under community management.
In the draft agreement, the church will be asked to follow the “Four-Rules-Five-Haves-Five-Bans” policy: namely it can only have a set number of members, meeting at a certain time and location. And the activities are limited to Bible study, prayers, and singing hymns (preaching is limited to government-vetted preachers).
They must have a management team, activities plan, activities log, safety system, and firefighting equipment in place.
The five bans include changing location or size of congregation, changing the content or time of the meeting, they cannot accept offering or set up a bank account, invite foreigners to preach, host revival event or baptism, nor can they display religious symbol outside of the building.
Once the church signs this agreement, the community will assign personnel to check on the church to ensure that all the above regulations are followed. This shows that the hands of Chinese government are now creeping into these churches that have traditionally operated free from government’s interference.
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Source: ICC www.persecution.org