Reaching CCP’s ultimate goal to reduce their number to zero, Protestant churches not controlled by the government are gradually disappearing from China’s capital.
Beijing municipality is implementing an operation to rid the city of all house churches that refuse to join the government-approved Three-Self Church, according to a May 9 Radio Free Asia report on its Chinese language website.
Based on the information from the US-based Chinese Christian Fellowship of Righteousness, the organized crackdown is intended to “de-scale, de-organize, and de-church” all house churches, and is supervised by CCP’s Central Inspection Team, with the Ministry of Public Security and the Religious Affairs Bureau assigned as the leading implementors. The operation in Beijing is reportedly ending on May 20, but it will continue to be carried out throughout China, with the ultimate goal to reduce Protestant house churches to zero and remove Christianity from public sphere and cyberspace.
Started last year, the crackdown on house churches in Beijing has indeed reached unprecedented levels in the past few months. From large and famous megachurches, such as Shouwang Church, to small congregation venues, house churches are being shut down one by one. Bitter Winter continuously receives reports on the suppressed Christians that refuse to be told by the government how and what to believe in.
Qianhe Jiayuan Plaza, an office building in Beijing’s Chaoyang district, was home to six house churches that were recently closed down. One of them was Wenxin Church (溫馨教會), established more than ten years ago, with about 300 congregation members.
Wenxin Church received a notice from the local Religious Affairs Bureau, demanding to move out of the building before 10 a.m. on April 27. The next day after the closure, a security checkpoint was installed at the entrance to Qianhe Jiayuan Plaza, registering every person who entered the building. According to congregation members, the pressure from authorities began in July 2018, when government personnel started frequenting Wenxin Church for inspections.
“Before eliminating the church, the government seems to have done a thorough investigation and fact-finding work,” said one of the church’s members. He added that after the church closure, the congregation is forced to meet in small groups, about ten people each, to avoid further persecution. “We have to adopt underground guerrilla tactic and play hide-and-seek with the government to hold our gatherings,” the believer explained.
A house church co-worker in Chaoyang district believes that the CCP’s crackdown will continue to intensify, the remaining house churches facing the same fate as Wenxin Church. “The shutdown of house churches is nationwide,” the man added. “Looking at the government’s attitude right now, even Three-Self churches will also be broken up sooner or later.”