07/16/2016, 13.08
CHINA
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China vs Huaqiu Church: authorities threaten parents, force children to stay away from church

Communist officials launch a campaign of intimidation against a community in Central Guizhou Province. The aim is to force its members to join the Three-Self Patriotic Movement, the mainland’s state-controlled Protestant Church. Taking one’s children to church can lead to a law suit.

Beijing (AsiaNews) – Chinese authorities have launched a campaign of intimidation against a Protestant Church, threatening to sue its members and bar their children from college, this according to ChinaAid, a Texas-based group that advocates for human rights in China.

According to the group, parents who attend the Huaqiu Church, a house church in central Guizhou province, were told that if they didn't stop bringing their children to church, the latter would not be allowed to attend college or to a military academy.

In addition, parents were told that if they continued to bring their underage children to church they would be sued.

Rev Mou, head of the Huaqiu Church, said a notice detailing these rules was sent to local schools.

"They intend to cleanse us and ask us to join the Three-Self Patriotic Movement,” he explained. The latter is China's state-approved Protestant Church.

As part of the campaign, the Church has been prevented from holding Sunday services over the past two weeks. "Huaqiu is in a dark place," Mou lamented.

In recent years, China has used an iron fist against religious groups, especially Christians whose numbers have been growing exponentially.

In three years, the authorities have also demolished or removed the crosses to more than 1,500 churches in the province of Zhejiang.

Pastors and lawyers who oppose the campaign have been imprisoned on false or specious charges.

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