A house church in China has been told by the Chinese government that it may no longer conduct worship services.
According to Christian Today, the small church of about 50 members in Dazhou, Sichuan province, was told last month that it may no longer rent an apartment where it held religious services.
Li Shengfen, a member of the church, stated: “They looked at our Bibles. After that, in order to understand our church, they looked at our poetry. Because the place where we worship has a cross, a Bible and some scripture on the walls, they looked at it all. I said ‘Right now, is this freedom of religion?’ If we go to the city to meet, many of the Christians are old and some people get carsick. I said, ‘How can you not give us freedom?'”
The Chinese government’s mandate to this house church is part of a larger government crackdown on churches and freedom of religion which has escalated under Chinese President Xi Jinping’s leadership.
Christian Today reports that up to 1,700 churches have been demolished and their large red crosses removed as part of a campaign supposedly meant to expose and remove “illegal structures.”
In addition, many Christians and human rights activists have been jailed for speaking out against this restriction of religious freedom.