Chinese churches ‘more careful who they allow in’, as raids increase

People leaving the church after a service in Shenyang, north-eastern Dongguang province. (Photo: World Watch Monitor)
Churches in China are becoming more careful over who they let in to their buildings, as government pressure increases following the implementation of new religious regulations earlier this year. Local authorities have been pressured to take action. In Guangzhou, for example, the capital of the southern province Guangdong, a local . . . Read More

Increase in religious harassment globally – Pew

Increase in religious harassment globally – Pew
Restrictions on religion around the world continued to climb in 2016, as more governments tightened controls on religious practices, populist parties increasingly used rhetoric to attack religious minorities, and the harassment of religious groups increased. A 138-page report by the Washington-based Pew Research Center into global restrictions on religion in . . . Read More

China’s ‘underground’ churches told to seek ‘guidance’ from state-approved bodies

A house church meeting in China in 2005. (Photo: World Watch Monitor)
A newly implemented directive from the Chinese government forces Protestant ‘house churches’ and Catholic ‘underground’ communities to seek “guidance” from recognised religious organisations. A notification from the State Administration for Religious Affairs, issued earlier this month, requires organisers of religious activities at temporary sites to also apply for a permit . . . Read More

China: Pastor and 200 church members detained for commemorating earthquake

People are sifting through the rubble to look for personal items after their homes were destroyed in an earthquake. (World Watch Monitor, 2008)
A church in Chengdu, the capital of China’s southwestern Sichuan province, was raided by police on Saturday (12 May) as it prepared to commemorate the 10th anniversary of an earthquake that killed almost 90,000 people and left millions homeless. Pastor Wang Yi of Early Rain Covenant Church was arrested alongside . . . Read More

Religious freedom is a prerequisite for democracy – US commission

China's catholic dioceses are to respond to the government led campaign of the 'sinicization of religion' with a plan of action. (Photo: World Watch Monitor)
A wealth of research shows that a society’s level of religious freedom is linked to its levels of critical social indicators, such as prosperity, stability and peace, the chairman of the US Commission on International Religious Freedom told British parliamentarians. Dr. Daniel Mark, chairman of USCIRF, an independent, bipartisan federal . . . Read More

China pledges to protect religious freedom, days after Bible ban

Women, married to pastors who work in rural areas in China, meet in a church. (Photo: World Watch Monitor)
China presented an official ‘white paper’ on religion on Wednesday, 4 April, guaranteeing “protection” for religious freedom, just four days after banning the online sale of Bibles. The policy paper, titled ‘China’s Policies and Practices on Protecting Freedom of Religious Belief’, was presented by the State Council Information Office at . . . Read More

Chinese bishop reshuffle reinforces fears of state meddling

St Joseph's Church in Beijing.
Fears are growing that China’s communist government may be gaining more control over the Catholic Church there, as news emerged that the Vatican asked two bishops it had appointed to step aside in favour of ones selected by Beijing. These developments have taken place following a state campaign against China’s . . . Read More

China: state-sanctioned Church says new regulations will ‘strengthen Christianity’

China: state-sanctioned Church says new regulations will ‘strengthen Christianity’
China’s new regulations on religious affairs, passed last month, are a “major event for Chinese Christianity, [as] they clarify Christianity’s role and strengthen her constructions”, according to the two organisations that comprise the state-sanctioned Church in China. The China Christian Council and Three-Self Patriotic Movement, which form the ‘lianghui’ (two . . . Read More