International Christian Concern (ICC) reports that a state-run church in Qinghai province was destroyed on Easter Sunday. The congregation has sought permission to meet at other locations, but officials have stopped them from doing so. Members have been meeting in a hotel as a result, with authorities warning them against holding “illegal gatherings.”
The Chinese government’s oppression of state-approved churches is not isolated to the past few months, either. The CCP shut down “numerous” state-run churches in 2019, says Bitter Winter. At the end of December, a Three Self church in Henan province was destroyed “after months of persecution by the government and numerous failed attempts by the congregation to save it.”
In September 2019, the Religious Affairs Bureau of Fujian Province gathered directors of state-run Protestant churches at a conference and told them the government wanted to control the spread of Christianity by cutting down on the number of churches. To accomplish this goal, authorities were planning to shut down, merge, or repurpose 200 churches. One church leader from Putian city in Fujian told Bitter Winter that one of the goals of the Religious Affairs Bureau was to suppress support for Hong Kong.
ICC’s Regional Manager for Southeast Asia, Gina Goh, said, “Under President Xi Jinping, even the Three Self churches are no longer safe from the crackdown against churches. The government would like all churches to believe in the Chinese Communist Party, not God.”