China House Church Challenges Closure In Court

Thursday, July 2, 2009

By Worthy News Staff

BEIJING, CHINA (Worthy News) -- A Chinese house church in Chengdu province said Thursday, July 2, it had file a law suit against local authorities for closing their congregation, a case they hope will positively impact stimulate groups across China.

A gathering of Autumn Rain Church in a hotel of the provincial capital Sichuan was interrupted last week, June 26, by security officials, who abolished the church because it was an "unregistered social organization", Christians said.

Another attempt to gather at a nearby riverside to complete the meeting was reportedly made impossible as some 100 law enforcement representatives, including riot police, were deployed both inside and outside the hotel. ”In published remarks the church said it would file "an application for administrative reconsideration" to appeal the closure.

They say the abolishment is against their house church is illegal "because citizens have the freedom of association and to self-govern their organizations.


By filing, "they hope to help the Bureau of Civil Affair in Chengdu play a more positive and just role on the issue of house churches," explained advocacy group China Aid Association.

A known Christian human rights attorney, Li Heping, was to represent the case the church through the Gaobolonghua Law Office in Beijing.

Church members said said they had appealed to fellow believers in and outside China to pray for the case which they hope will set a precedent."We appeal to local churches, believers, and all the churches and bodies concerned to pray continuously, not only for the small church we have, but for church establishment and God’s glory in modern China."

They said they hope the case encourages "house churches in cities to be strengthened, and willing to step out and undertake the mission of history.”

Chinese authorities claim Christians are free to worship within the state-controlled churches, but rights groups argue that claim many of China's up to 130 million Christians prefer to gather outside Communist interference.