(Bitter Winter) — Campaigns to eliminate house churches are underway across China. In May, the United Front Work Department of Yanhu district in Yuncheng city in the northern province of Shanxi convened a meeting for grassroots-level officials to discuss religious affairs.
One of the primary messages: to keep an eye on and prevent “foreign forces” from using rural house churches to “infiltrate” China. To ensure proper implementation of the order, each village was instructed to thoroughly investigate and register the information of believers and shut down any religious entities that hadn’t registered to join government-controlled religious organizations.
If three or more people are in a meeting or strangers enter the village, they all must be arrested.
Later in May, “House of Warmth” Church (headquartered in Beijing) in Shuozhou city was shut down as a result of an organized operation. The church’s pastor, a preacher from Beijing, and more than 30 believers were arrested on the grounds that they were “suspected of having foreign ties.”