- CRITTER TALK
- NEWS I FIND INTERESTING
Christianity in China is flourishing, with tens of millions of Christians openly worshiping. Many gather in private assemblies, or house churches, rather than in the official government church, known as the Three-Self Patriotic Movement. The authorities have largely turned a blind eye in the past.
But when 230 Chinese Christians applied to leave China to attend a global evangelical gathering in Cape Town, South Africa, no more blind eye. The Lausanne Congress will begin October 16 without Chinese delegates. So far, at least 11 people planning to attend have been forbidden to leave China, and many others have come under pressure.
Some of those who have been turned back have had their passports confiscated. One delegate has been placed in detention. Several others have been prevented from leaving their homes. For months, across China, officials have been warning almost all the pastors invited not to attend, telling them the meeting was anti-China. For some, there have already been consequences.
The Rev. Xing Jingfu from Changsha, in Hunan, said authorities stopped his church from meeting and from preaching. He said they openly said it was because of the Lausanne Congress. If we meet again, they’ll arrest us, he said.
China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman, Ma Zhaoxu, issued a statement to NPR. It accuses the Lausanne organizers of not issuing an official invitation to China’s state-controlled church and of having secret communications with Christians from private assemblies.
“This act has openly challenged China’s principle of an independent, autonomous, self-governing church. It is a flagrant interference in China’s religious affairs,” the statement said.
Click here for reuse options!