China to implement internet ban for house churches

Monday, February 14, 2022

by Karen Faulkner, Worthy News Correspondent

(Worthy News) - China’s Communist Party is imposing an oppressive new measure that will isolate Christians by prohibiting unregistered house churches from the online gatherings and teachings that have sustained them through the COVID-19 pandemic, Morning Star News (MSN) reports.

Under the new regulation, which comes into effect on March 1, only those religious organizations which have government permission will be able to gather or disseminate religious information online, MSN reports.

The requisite permits will only be granted to the five regime-approved religious organizations: The Three-Self Patriotic Movement (TSPM, representing officially-approved Protestant churches), the Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association, and the officially recognized organizations of Buddhism, Islam, and Taoism.

Explaining the policy, the Chinese state-run Global Times reported: “Online religious contents that incite subversion of state power, violate the principle of independence and self-management in religious undertakings, induce minors to believe in religion are prohibited.”

The measure is a violation of China’s own constitution, and will directly impact an estimated 100 million Chinese unregistered house-church Christians, MSN reports. “Implementing these new regulations will severely strip and crackdown on freedom of speech and religion, which is protected by the PRC Constitution,” attorney Huang Deqi said in a social media statement (which was subsequently deleted by state media).

Moreover, Deqi pointed out: “The Administrative Measures of Internet Religious Information not only violate the People’s Republic of China Constitution but also international conventions that the Chinese government has signed.”

China ranks 17 on the US Open Doors Watch List 2022 of top 50 countries where Christians are persecuted.