At least 34 unofficial Protestant house churches in Beijing, China, have signed a joined statement sent to Communist Party officials against what they say is an ongoing crackdown against believers, warning that the situation is getting worse.
“The normal religious lives of believers have been violated and obstructed, causing serious emotional harm and damage to their sense of patriotism, as well as causing social conflict,” read the statement, as translated by Radio Free Asia.
They added that when it comes to the arrests of pastors, the disruption of services, and the destruction of churches, “the situation seems to be getting worse and worse.”
The underground churches insisted that they have the right to freedom of religion as guaranteed by the country’s constitution.
“The belief that religious believers are some kind of dissenting force, to be managed and rectified, or a target for containment or direct attack, is misguided, and a fundamental error.
“House churches have a strong desire to contribute to a necessary dialogue to achieve better relations with the government in the new era.”
Beijing churches have been increasingly targeted in recent months. Earlier in July, government officials barricaded the campus of Zion Church, the largest house church in the capital.
Christians were prevented from gathering for worship, with authorities apparently calling their faith a “cult.”
“The latest crackdown against house churches in China is reflective of President Xi [Jinping]’s disregard for religious freedom. China is experiencing the worst Christian persecution since Mao Zedong’s Cultural Revolution,” said Gina Goh, International Christian Concern’s regional manager, in response to the incident.
Elsewhere in China, 70 police officers recently destroyed Liangwang Catholic Church, with videos online depicting the rubble it was reduced to.
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SOURCE: The Christian Post, Stoyan Zaimov