01/10/2018, 14.17
CHINA

An unofficial Church tore down in Linfen (Shanxi)

Some church members are under house arrest. In 2009 the pastor and his wife were arrested.

Beijing (AsiaNews/RFA) – The Golden Lampstand Church in Linfen City in northern Shanxi Province is no more. All that is left is a pile of rubbles after the regular and anti-riot police tore down the building and pressured the congregation to remain silent. Some worshippers are now under house arrest.

The Golden Lampstand Church, an unofficial Protestant community, has about 60,000 members. It tried to obtain government recognition, but did not receive it because it refused to join the Three Autonomies Movement, the state-controlled Protestant association.

The threats against the Church of the Gold Lamp go back to its construction in 2009. On 13 September of that year, police officers and thugs entered the construction site, beat up church members and destroyed some of the building's walls.

After the 2009 incident, the church’s pastor, Rev Yang Xuan, spent three-and-a-half years in prison, and his wife Yang Caizhen was sentenced to two years in a re-education forced labour camp.

Under new regulations on religious activities that come into effect in February, unregistered churches will not be tolerated.

In addition to arrests, the regulations impose stiff fines and the expropriation of buildings and land on which illegal places of worship are located.

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