The authorities have issued orders that small gatherings of two to three believers are to be reported as well.
Ever since the implementation of the revised Regulations on Religious Affairs in February, the Chinese authorities have intensified their assault on house churches.
Under this pressure, many believers at house churches started splitting up and holding smaller gatherings, to escape being noticed. However, the authorities have now declared that even if three or less believers are congregating, they can be arrested and detained. As of April, authorities have mobilized locals to report about such gatherings and carried out door-to-door investigations.
In July, while patrolling his area in Sichuan’s Lezhi county, the head of the village discovered several motorbikes parked in the courtyard of a villager, Zhou Yang (pseudonym). He stormed into Mr. Zhou’s home and found seven Christians holding a gathering. He immediately informed the police, who arrested Mr. Zhou and two female church co-workers.
While Mr. Zhou was released the same day, the church workers were detained for two weeks. Their homes were raided as well.
Meanwhile, local authorities in Anyue county disrupted another gathering in a similar manner. Six elderly Christians of Justification by Faith church would meet up at a venue frequently. Four village cadres took turns to patrol and monitor the venue for two weeks, before they broke up the gathering. One believer said, “The Communist Party is clamping down on us. They are desperately trying to confront and battle the Lord Jesus!”
Reported by Yao Zhangjin