WASHINGTON (BP)--China's ministry of civil affairs has issued a statement calling for the elimination of the Chinese House Church Alliance, according to reports circulated by China Aid Association and Voice of the Martyrs, a move some say "could well cause the abolishment of all the Christian house churches" in the communist country.
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"It has been found through investigations that the 'Chinese House Church Alliance' is not registered, and it engages in activities in the name of a social organization without authorization," the statement, which includes the official seal of the ministry of civil affairs, said. "... This agency has hereby made the decision to abolish the 'Chinese House Church Alliance.'"
The alliance, led by Pastor "Bike" Zhang Mingxuan, was established in 2005 and has been engaging in Christian missionary work and charity activities, according to the U.S-based China Aid Association Dec. 9.
News of the crackdown follows harsh rhetoric by Zhou Yongkang, the leader of the Central Political and Legislative Committee within the Communist Party, who in recent months called for "extraordinary measures to be taken against house churches." News reports did not indicate whether the two occurrences were directly linked.
"The Chinese House Church Alliance has always abided by the principles of 'serving the church, committed to the society, concerned about public interests and engaging in activities in accordance with law,'" a declaration against the abolishment, signed by 15 Christian legal professionals in China, said. The declaration added that the alliance conforms with the Chinese constitution which states, "Citizens of the People's Republic of China enjoy freedom of speech, of the press, of assembly, of association, of profession and of demonstration." Read More