A Christian man in China has been fined the equivalent of £17,000 for organising religious training that authorities deemed ‘unauthorised’. As more and more Chinese believers experience heavy fines for faith-related activities, please pray that they will stand strong in their faith.
"Christians [in China] are more likely to be seen as a threat to security than an asset," says Thomas Muller, an Open Doors research analyst
A 41-year-old Christian has been fined the equivalent of £17,000 (150,000 Chinese yuan) for hosting what was described as an unauthorised religious training event. The heavy fine is the latest in a series of punishments being handed out for Christian activity considered ‘unauthorised’ by the authorities.
The event took place in June, in Dali city in China’s southwestern Yunnan Province. The Yunnan Province Dali Municipal Bureau of Ethnic and Religious Affairs ordered him to pay the 150,000 yuan fine after it reviewed evidence of the gathering, including photos, confiscated documents and a list of attendees.
“Heavy penalties are one of the ways in which the authorities hinder Christian leaders and their activities which are then also used as a warning to others,” said an Open Doors field researcher. “We recently learned of another case where someone else who ran Christian training faced a heavy fine from authorities.”
This is the latest fine in a series of court rulings against Christians. In December 2021, a court in China’s Zhejiang province upheld a verdict by another court against a Christian online bookseller in which he was sentenced to seven years in prison and a fine of 200,000 yuan (approximately £23,000).
“Heavy penalties are... used as a warning to others” Open Doors field reasearcher
Chen Yu was arrested in and charged with ‘selling illegal overseas religious publications online’ for importing and selling books from Taiwan. The police confiscated more than 800 of the sold books through contacting his customers in China.
In August this year, a pastor of a house church was detained for purchasing Christian literature online and faces charges of fraud.
And another believer, Chen Lijun, has been held at the Lu’an County Detention Centre in western Anhui province since 13 August while more than 100 members of his church also face persecution, as reported by ChinaAid. Lijun also received a fine of 100,000 yuan (approx. US$ 13,600) because of his faith, said his wife.
The outcomes of last month’s 20th Congress of China’s Communist Party do not bode well for the future of Christians and other minority groups in the country, says Thomas Muller, persecution analyst with Open Doors World Watch Research.
“The Party Congress showed that authorities want to increase their push for control and, judging from experience, Christians are more likely to be seen as a threat to security than an asset.”
As for the Christians themselves, their response varies depending on the location and the church leaders. The Open Doors field researcher explains: “Some pastors are afraid of the potential of persecution that is coming, while others encourage their congregation to focus on the sovereignty of God and not to worry on the outcome of the event.”
Our brothers and sisters in China really value your prayers – they can see the power of God at work through them. Please keep praying for them to stand strong in the face of this rising opposition.
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